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Episode 15: How to Grow Your Real Estate Business with Matt Cavanaugh

Episode 15: How to Grow Your Real Estate Business with Matt Cavanaugh: "Focus on activities that provide a positive return on energy (ROE) rather than just a financial return on investment (ROI). By aligning your business strategies with your personality and passions, you can not only increase your chances of success but also experience greater fulfillment in your entrepreneurial journey."

Matt Cavanaugh is the founder of the Freedom Chasers Podcast, a podcast that inspires real estate agents and working professionals to leave their day jobs for lives of greater freedom and purpose. Matt previously was a top-performing sales professional in the B2B space as well as a high school math teacher. As a thought leader, Matt shares his expertise in real estate investing and lifestyle design on the Freedom Chasers Podcast and in real estate venues across the country.

In this podcast, Matt Cavanaugh shares his insights on growing a real estate business to seven figures. He highlights the significance of lead generation and finding strategies that fit an agent’s personality and market. The podcast touches on the different factors that impact lead generation success, such as market fundamentals and individual strengths. Matt also discusses the use of personality assessments to help agents determine their ideal lead-generation approach.


Kerry: Thank you for swinging by the Kerry Barrett show. Happy to have you here and certainly happy to introduce you to our guests today, Matt Cavanaugh, thank you for your time and thank you for sharing your expertise with us. It’s great to have you here.

Matt: Thank you. It’s great to be here.

Kerry: Yeah, you want to take a quick second and introduce yourself to the audience. Talk a little bit about your experience and your expertise.

Matt: Yeah. So I’m a real estate agent in California, have built a team, and have since grown that team to do real estate across the country, both as an agent and as an investor. And so now what I currently do for a living is I help real estate agents grow their businesses and just anything generally related to sales marketing and real estate is where I spend my time.

Kerry: I want to ask you, I’m going to start with a question that is real estate specific, but I want to move into some other more generally applicable techniques that you use in sales. So that’s coming up, but let me ask you, how does someone grow their Real estate business to seven figures, maybe seven figures plus a year? And Oh, by the way, the market is insane right now.

Matt: Yeah, so to grow a business to 7 figures, it all depends on reliable and cost-effective lead generation. And in addition to the great hiring practices. So, for a lot of agents, they can get to 6 figures even. You know, maybe 3 to 500, 000 of revenue before the wheels start to fall off for them usually.

And so the first piece is getting a lead generation system that’s able to churn out enough leads to go to the million-dollar mark. And then as people hit the two, 300, 000 in revenue, that’s, we’re usually helping them in hire the right people, create the right organizational charts to be able to go to the million.

Kerry: So what is that lead gen system or does it, as everybody says, it depends. 

Matt: Well, yeah, but let’s get into the details so that people understand how it depends. So there’s a lot of things that are market specific. So for example, like if you’re in a vacation market in a really nice spot, homes might be millions of dollars each, but you might have a smaller inventory. So it can depend on market fundamentals.

It can depend on the strengths of the particular agent. So for example, when I grew our business into multiple states, it was selling homes that other agents couldn’t sell. So expires for sale by owners. So that was a very ripe lead source, but it required a lot of cold calling and sales skills. So a lot of agents are like, no, thank you.

I have no interest in making those cold calls. So a lot of the lead generation systems can be built around your personality and your market. And so the great thing about real estate is there’s probably 300 different ways you could build a seven-figure business. You just have to pick what you like the most and what works for your market.

Kerry: Yeah, and figure that stuff out and then deploy it, if you will. So you mentioned something interesting there just a couple of seconds ago, which was personality and determining what this lead gen system is. I would love to know more about that. What is its power and how do you effectively use it?

Matt: Yeah. So essentially there are several ways that you can look at personality. Like I’ve, I go a mile deep on myself personally and the people that we coach, but even just a quick glance, you can learn things. Are you extroverted or are you introverted? Are you systems-oriented? Are you more for a free spirit?

These types of things inform what strategies are best. So for me being an extroverted systems-oriented person, I wanted to do things where I was talking to people and where I was doing things very similarly you know, along the way. And so that’s what led itself so well to the outbound cold calls. But there are some people who are wildly creative and introverted.

So there are different forms of, you know, Video creation and things like that are generally highly suitable to creative people that maybe they don’t want to talk to that many people. They just want hot, warm leads coming to them and just working those. So depending on, you know, extroverted introverted systems and just like your general desires.

Are you a tech person? Are you not a tech person? All of those start to have a difference in what lead sources are best.

Kerry: And how do you figure that out? Is it just a, is it a process of self-reflection or something that you walk your clients through? Are they taking, I don’t know, like Myers Briggs or strength, binder tests, that sort of stuff? Sometimes that type of self-reflection is very hard.

Matt: Yes. And ironically, it’s harder for certain personality types than others. And so, yeah, absolutely. If someone’s working with me as a coaching client, the first thing that we’ll do is we’ll have them take those assessments, but then we’ll also keep an eye open for them, how they are different than the assessment results.

And so for example, assessment results usually narrow our window down for maybe 300 options to maybe 20 or 10. And then what we get down and do is a specifics of who is this person. So yeah, definitely if it’s, if self-development’s kind of a hard concept when it comes to personality, hiring a coach is really helpful, because not only can they help you identify the lead sources that you’ll do well in, but there’s all kinds of things that come with your personality, like your strengths, your limiting beliefs, and the things that can hinder growth.

Kerry: You know what, this is so interesting. I’ve certainly heard about, you know, personality when you’re creating video and humor and all that other stuff, but I’ve never heard somebody bring it together for the creation of a sales process or a lead gen process the way that you are. I don’t know. Is this a silly question? How’d you figure that out?

Matt: So what’s interesting is I believe that everybody has a zone of genius and the zone of genius is a combination of having a high aptitude for something and having an insane level of, you know, fulfillment or joy. So for me, being the kid who had a harder time reading other kids. Emotions as a younger person and then going into sales, I needed to have a system and a process of how I understand people if I can’t feel that in the moment.

Right? So as I got deeper into personality studies, I realized, oh my goodness, like you can read people well, if you’re good at that, or you can systemically learn how to read people. And so, because I come at it from more of a systemic process, it became very obvious to me and natural to me to start linking things.

Because I’m making connections logically, whereas other people are making more connections deeper in their like emotional centers of who they are. So, for me, it just seemed natural and easy to connect these things.

Kerry: This is a process or what you walk people through is something that anybody can use regardless of where they fall. It’s figuring it out legitimately and then, creating a process or a plan around that.

Matt: A hundred percent. And so I love the custom one-on-one nature of it because each person is so unique. Like, so for example, one of my coaching clients right now wants to triple his business, but he has a few limitations. For example, he didn’t have enough time to triple his business et cetera.

So we started helping him unblock those limiting beliefs. But then he’s like, Hey, does this stuff work? I want a girlfriend and not just any girlfriend. Like I want. This girlfriend, can you help me? So we did some personality assessments and not on her, right? But on him and what we perceive her to be and say, this is probably one of your best strategies.

Now I’m not a dating coach or anything like that, but he just asked me as a client. So we put the strategy together. I was so happy because two weeks later she was in the meeting with him. so I don’t know where it will lead, but you know, there, are a lot of patterns that people have when there are certain personality types and if you can learn to speak their language, you give yourself a better chance.

Kerry: You need to hook people up and then get them a house.

Matt: Yes. You get married now. You need a house. Exactly.

Kerry: I love it. That’s that is very cool. You’re like closing the sale in all sorts of different ways. So you mentioned the sort of process, right? This is where it starts. And then what do you do next with your clients as you’re helping them grow their business? What comes after that sort of foundational Plan that you put in place? What goes next?

Matt: Once a business has an appropriate level of lead generation then comes the process of, okay, who and when, and how are we going to need to hire people? Because as the business grows, then you have to staff it. So it’s understanding who is the leader that’s leading. What is their style, and what are going to be complimentary styles to them?

So for example, the general administrative assistant for me is a little bit different than what you would hire as an admin, right? There’s a certain way that you function in the world. That’s going to repel and attract certain people. So it’s identifying what skills and talents are needed and then what types of personalities possess those and which one is the best for you.

So that becomes the analysis and how we start growing them is growing that team.

Kerry: You mentioned the growth and, you know, scaling, and then, you know, just previously you were sharing that story about one of your clients who wanted to grow their business or triple their revenue. It’s sort of achieve, I guess, financial freedom, maybe is the right way to say that in, you know, sort of one, can you do it in one real estate deal?

Matt: Yeah. We’ll definitely can do it in one real estate deal. So we’ve actually on our podcast Freedom Chasers podcast, we’ve interviewed a number of people. So like one example is a guy, who bought a 40-acre property in New Mexico of all places. So you would think if there’s any state you couldn’t do it and it might be New Mexico, right?

But he bought this 40-acre property and they redid all of these little homes into these Airbnbs and created this like. 40-acre retreat with these Airbnb homes. And I think they were spending off like 250, 000 a year in profit. If I understood this correctly off of this one deal. And so it was literally a deal that he didn’t even find.

It was just somebody in his network that brought it to him. Asked if they could make sense of it. They were really good at the Airbnb design side. He brought the capital and next thing you know, they have essentially almost two even financial freedom, like as most people, when they say what’s financial freedom, they say 10 a month or more. This is like almost two sets of financial freedom in one property.

Kerry: You mentioned that somebody sort of brought this to him from his network. how important is building that network in order to do these sorts of things?

Matt: In my opinion, it’s not only the best way. It’s like, it’s the way to do these things. So for example, there are a lot of lead generation systems you can install in a business that will help you grow. That is fantastic but there’s nothing better than relationships. I mean, the, not only from the monetary side but the experiences like through the podcast, when I landed in Phoenix to visit my brother-in-law, I just happened to post on social media that I was in Phoenix, then I had a person that I had helped on this podcast.

Text me like, do you want to go flying? I was like, yeah, I’d love to go flying. My girls were with me. So they took my 14 and 12-year-old daughters flying over the Grand Canyon, doing stunts and dives. And it’s like, you know, I’ve been invited to like these nice restaurants and like the, you know, the chef makes these like just experiences like that are so rich and meaningful.

So relationships are really like where it’s at. And so I think that’s where if you can create lead generation systems, fantastic, but if you can create lead generation systems around referrals and people then you’re onto something amazing.

Kerry: Then you’ve got sort of the golden goose lays the golden egg. Tell me, I want to ask you about your idea of creating this sort of strategic vision for your business, something that helps bring your business to life. And you talked, you know, you’ve talked a little bit about the power of a network, the power of relationships, how to create the right lead gen process.

And I’m sure those are all part of this strategic vision, but what else do you need to really fully create it and understand it and make sure that you’re creating one that works for you and for your potential clients as well?

Matt: Yeah. So one of the things that I’m most passionate about, and it’s the most important thing for me is this idea that you have more energy when you’re acting in something that you love and alignment. So like as an investor and as a real estate agent, we talk a lot about return on investment ROI.

Like if I put a thousand dollars in, how much do I get back? What I like to think about is ROE, the return on my energy. So if I spend time doing something, do I end up more energetic or less energetic than when I started? And so if I end up more energetic, like I will after this conversation, then that is a positive ROE, right?

A positive return on energy. So I think one of the things that I focus on more than most people that I hear talk is, am I lighting up the person that I’m helping? Because vitality to me, not only is it the recipe for success, but it’s also the recipe for happiness in life and fulfillment in life. So I like to measure things based on the return on energy,

Kerry: I love that. And I have never heard that before, but you’re right. You know, there are certain things that you have to do and we have them all like, Oh, this is draining. It’s not that hard, but I just hate it so much. I don’t want to do it. And I feel depleted afterward. Sort of running whatever it is through that filter.

Do I love this? Is this something I should maybe outsource as part of the follow-up questions on that? And where do I find somebody to help me with? This is such an important factor. I know. I know when anybody is starting a business, we wear so many hats, but that’s. You know, tactics, that’s not a strategy.

Creating a strategic vision beyond that is so important. And I like what you’ve mentioned there because we don’t often, we don’t often talk about that. Tell me a little bit about your podcast. Obviously, I’m a podcasting fan. Tell me, I had the opportunity to guest on yours a couple of weeks ago, but I’d love to dive into what made you start that and how it’s helped you.

Matt: Yeah, and just to tie into what you were saying one more thing before we go into that, like when, because you asked about strategic vision. So the interesting thing is that when people focus on more of the energy increases, the strategic vision often becomes very obvious. Right? So, like, people might be saying, well, what about, like, what exactly do I do?

Like, if you’re continuing to play the game of moving into a greater sense of energy. the vision and the strategies seem to emerge, but going to your podcast question, we launched a podcast about 17, 18 months ago, something like that. And the vision for it was, Hey we’ve achieved not crazy amounts of financial freedom, but we’ve achieved a little bit of freedom, right?

So I own about 60 units across the U.S. and that gives me a little bit of flexibility. And so I was like, what do I want to do? And I wanted to start having more conversations and growing and learning. So that’s kind of the foundation of the podcast. What was unbelievable was how quality those conversations were and what those things turned into.

And then it became obvious, like, why didn’t I do this 10 years ago, five years ago? So I would say like. Just the beauty is like what we’re doing right now and what this leads to, right? And how we start to combine our networks. It’s just, to me, it’s one of the fastest and best ways to develop authentic relationships, to grow your business.

And the other thing too, like a lot of my deepest friends now is through the podcast. Like it’s weird. Like I have some great local friends. We’re very involved in our community, especially in our church. But it is wild how, you know, we’re just in such a global world that a lot of my friendships now are virtual.

Kerry: Yeah. Oh, 100%. And I think one of the other great things about podcasting is that oftentimes, for example, there’s somebody that you might wanna connect with, and let’s say it’s more of a reach up than it is a reach out, having something to offer. I mean, you’re essentially your own media outlet.

Without the gatekeepers, you can let in anybody that you want. And so you have something to offer, which is a great strategy, rather than asking for an offer. You know, would you like to appear, I’d love to help you spread your message, you know, grow your visibility, whatever it is. And you have something that is of value to them and you are 100 percent correct in that it creates really, it can create very deep relationships.

There are people whose podcasts I’ve been on years ago, who we still keep in touch and we share business and it’s a great way of creating that connection and then ultimately bringing in. You know, qualified clients and leads as well. I want to ask you in terms of your podcast, and I’m not sure if I’m drawing a thorough line here that doesn’t exist, but we talked certainly about the power of personality in closing more sales, maybe even increasing price points of offers, does that tie in with the way that you create your content or the way that you create your podcast? And I’d love to learn a little bit more about that too.

Matt: There’s been a number of evolutions. So at the beginning, I think most podcasters are of the mindset that the audience is. The first and usually only monetization tool, right? You get sponsorships for the audience. And then what we realized really quickly, which should be obvious even before you start one, but it took us a little bit of time to realize it was, it, that takes a lot of time, like a lot of time to grow a big audience, especially if you don’t have a big following coming in.

And so then we started to realize, well, the guests that were interviewing tremendous amount of success. And while we want to continue to put out great information to the audience. It seems like there’s a lot more potential in building something of value for the guests. And so we thought if we got strategic about who we have on the podcast, what value they could provide, not only just to the audience but to us and us to them, there could be some real synergies.

And so we’ve kind of gone through different tests pilots, I guess, if you will, of like. Only real estate agents and investors, or do we branch out a little bit? Because if we branch out, that’s new value to our audience and it’s potentially more opportunities. So some examples are, yes, definitely you can increase price point if you do it properly, but also like, I’m a huge barter.

Like I love bartering for things. So for example, oftentimes there’s someone that has an expertise that I don’t. instead of like wondering, well, if I pay this person, they’re 25, 000. For their service. Right. And they pay me, you know, my quote, 25, 000 or whatever that is, then we’re both kind of hoping the other person’s good, but the bargaining system is so interesting because all of a sudden now you’re not on the hook for the 25 grand, right?

You’re just on the hook for your time. And as long as it’s working, we’ve gotten some of the best, absolute best education ever that would have cost us a fortune for free in exchange for us, you know, exchanging our passion. So I would say that’s been some of the most value I’ve gotten. In addition to making more 

Kerry: That is awesome and such a powerful reminder it is, you know, bartering can get tricky, but when you’re talking about, we understand we have similar services, there are similar price points, and let’s just sort of exchange information. It’s lower risk and oftentimes you get more out of it as well.

That’s a really cool element that you brought up. I wish I had more time to chat with you. I have to bring you back on the show, but before we wrap, if there are people who. You know, would like to learn a little bit more about you, Matt, or how they might be able to work with you, where should they go and what should they do?

Matt: Yeah. So if they go to, M A T T C A V Y. com, they can learn a little bit more and the ways that we can connect. Also, if they are a real estate agent and want to grow their referral business they can go to referrals. com.

Kerry: Can people book consulting calls or strategy calls with you as well? 

Matt: They’re absolutely from the website, they’ll have access to my calendar and they can book a time and we can chat.

Kerry: Matt. It was, thank you for being generous, not just with your time, but with sharing your knowledge as well. It was fantastic talking with you. We appreciate you being here.

Matt: Thank you so much, Kerry.

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