With 18 years of experience, Nicole Rueth isn’t new to the mortgage lending field, but it wasn’t until recently that she kicked her game up a notch. And kick it up she did — in rock star fashion. In less than five years, this self-described data geek catapulted her business from $24 million to over $100 million (say what?), and her numbers keep rising each year. You go, girl.
Nicole swears by the importance of choosing your lane or passion. This wholehearted commitment allows her to focus completely on her goal of helping clients build wealth through real estate. Just as important, education and classes play a key role in enabling Nicole to serve as an indispensable guide for clients seeking to navigate their real estate journey.
In today’s episode, Nicole shares how she chose her lane and how mentors have played — and continue to play — a key role in helping her go “all in.” We also see how being authentic and producing relevant content helps her stay top-of-mind with the real estate agents she works with.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:
- How to discover your area of expertise within the field of mortgage lending
- Why it’s important for you to stay focused and resist the temptation of shiny pennies
- How mentors can help you up your LO game
- Why you don’t have to love being in front of the camera to produce high-quality video content
- Why being relational is essential to your long-term success as a loan officer
- Why numbers don’t lie and how you can put that fact to work for you in 2019
- Tips on types of content to include on your YouTube channel
LINKS FROM TODAY’S EPISODE
- The Rueth Team – Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
- The Rueth Team YouTube Channel
- The Rueth Team Facebook page
- White Collar Warrior by Bill Hart
- Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®
- Nicole Nicolay
- Sarah Middleton – Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
- All In with Coach Bill Hart
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Geoff: Alright. Let’s transition into my very special guest for this week. It is Nicole Rueth. Nicole Rueth out of Denver, Colorado, is a superstar. Yes, she is. A rock star who took her business in just under five years from $24 million to over $100 million. Folks, did you hear what I said? In under five years, went from $24 million to over $100 million. I mean, crazy, right?
How do you do that? You’re going to hear Nicole explain exactly how she did that. It’s an education and a lesson on mindset and on making decisions and commitments and following through on your self-integrity, that you commit to yourself, to others, and your family.
Also you’re going to hear her talk about how she leads with education. Wealth-building through real estate. That is the primary channel, if you will. That is the primary brand that she communicates out there. She does tons of classes. I think she mentioned on this podcast she was doing four alone this month, perhaps, and a lot of her classes focus on educating real estate agents on the various topics of how to leverage real estate to build wealth, but also personal branding, marketing, social media, mindset coaching. As a matter of fact, she’s bringing in our mutual friend and mentor, Coach Bill Hart, author of White Collar Warrior. Bill was on the podcast last year, and we look forward to having him back in the near future.
She has taken her classes to the point where now she does them… She’s got a consistent theme, the third Thursday of every month. It’s called Agent Ignite, and it’s a different topic every month. Hmm. Sounds interesting. Sounds a little bit like what you get through the Mortgage Marketing [dot 0:05:28] PRO membership with our tool that’s called My Agent Classes.
Nicole said she spends hours creating those PowerPoint presentations herself. Good news is, like I had mentioned to her, hey, we’ve got a system that actually does those for you. So just a little subtle plug right there for those of you who haven’t yet checked out Mortgage Marketing [dot 0:05:47] PRO. That’s where you can watch an eight-minute video all about that.
So what I love about what Nicole’s doing is she’s focused, she’s intentional, she’s driven, and she really understands what her area of expertise is, and that’s where she works to spend most of her time, because that’s where she feels most energized and passionate. And that’s where she gets the most results she possibly can. So I think you’re going to really dig this week’s episode.
She is — just to give you an idea — let’s see… 2018. Over 353 served for over $116 million in funded loans. This comes right off her website at the The Rueth Team. We’re going to put links in the show notes to all this stuff. Her YouTube video, you’ve got to check it out. Talk about leading with transparency and education. She’s got over 250 videos, over 100 just in her REALTOR® Education playlist.
She’s unbelievable. She’s ranked among the top 100 mortgage advisors in the country. She’s the number one mortgage originator in, I believe, the state of Colorado. You guys know what I’m saying. Why don’t we just cut to the chase and welcome our specialist guest, Nicole Rueth, on this week’s show.
Hey, Nicole, welcome to the show.
Nicole: Well, thank you for having me.
Geoff: Thank you for being here. I know you are super, super busy, so for the listeners, give us the quick background. Who is Nicole, how long have you been doing loans, and why do you still love it?
Nicole: Oh, gosh. So I’ve been in mortgage lending for going on 18 years, but for a big chunk of that, I was in operations. I used to work for Arthur Andersen, Anderson Consulting. Did the whole corporate route. Had three beautiful babies in a very short period of time, and gave up corporate route, and went knocking on a door. Said to a friend, “Hey, I need a job. Something low-key, something to get me off the living room floor.” Landed in mortgage lending. I’m not the unique person that landed in mortgage lending. It’s kind of the normal story. But I started out in operations, because that’s what I knew.
It was about eight, nine years later, I was in a small, little broker shop, me and one other person. He was all things sales. I was all things ops. We worked really well together until he had to pull out, move out of state. And then I’m face with, hey, dang, we did a really good job. The phone’s ringing, and our marketing’s doing well. So I started doing loans. It was sink or swim. This is eight or nine years ago now.
Geoff: Eight or nine years ago. And what do you still love about it? Because that’s a long career trajectory, and I can tell just from observing you from a distance you’re passionate about it. So what about it makes you passionate?
Nicole: I love the fact that the business that we’re in allows us to have such a unique impact, a lasting, multigenerational impact on our clients. It’s not like we’re selling them a bar of soap or a pair of shoes, and it’s not even like we’re selling them the biggest asset that they’ve ever bought — because we are — but we’re selling them the ability to build wealth in a way that no other asset can. I mean, this is so unique, and if you really own that and lean into it and get excited about it, your clients get excited with you, and they see the benefit. I’ve had so many client conversations where they come to me for transactional reasons. They leave as a relationship. They leave building wealth. They leave with a vision well beyond this single transaction.
Geoff: Alright. Thank you for sharing that. And I hear you describe that. That’s very telling for the listeners, and what it illuminates for me, if you will, is that, number one, your borrower experience, I’m sure, is quite different than the average borrower experience, but also — I’m trying to think how do I articulate this? — is you really see your role as something beyond just loan officer, if that makes sense?
Nicole: Oh, 100%. Without question. My whole team, we operate where we’re really supporting and helping that client. Yes, I can close loans fast. Yes, we have market rates, competitive rates. Yes, we can do all of the loans that everybody else can do. But we bring this sense of purpose, this sense of vision, this sense of gratitude that we are to do something bigger than that.
Geoff: Why is it so personal for you? Did you have a personal experience or something?
Nicole: Yes, I did. So it was, gosh, six years ago now when I had bumped into a gentleman kind of by chance. If I look at it looking backwards, there was no real purpose to us meeting. He wasn’t handed to me. We kind of just ran into each other, kind of got off to a good start, had a cup of coffee, and he took me under his wing. He was an older gentleman that had been in real estate for a long time. He was a REALTOR®.
And he just sat me down and we just started talking. It’s like, “Who do you know? What do you do? How do you look at things?” And I was relatively new in the originating side, and so we just started having conversations about this investing idea. And it wasn’t that he was a fix and flipper. He was a long-term investor, so he started talking about his investments, how he built wealth, but from an older generation’s viewpoint. It wasn’t about building multigenerational wealth. It was just about securing yourself against Social Security.
And so when he and I had these conversations, we’re talking, we’re talking, and then all of a sudden, he brings up this fourplex that he’s got, and he says, “You should buy this.” And I go, “There is no way. I’m not buying this for so many reasons.” But he kind of talked me into it, and he talked me through the fear. Because I wanted to back out of that thing at least three or four times during the transaction. It was too big. There was too much money. There were too many things wrong. How do I deal with tenants? How do I get tenants? How do I evict tenants? Everything.
But he did talk me into it eventually, so we went through the whole process answering all the questions, and he held on. And then right after that, I ended up finding an opportunity for a little single-family, and I held on to those two for about 18 months, maybe 24 months, just those two, and really getting my feet wet with the whole tenant situation and leases and turnover and management. I managed them, and all of a sudden, I started realizing, especially with the fourplex, I’m pulling in really good money. And I don’t need the money today , so I’m just dumping it right into the mortgage. And so all of a sudden, I’m building this equity at an accelerated rate, and it’s starting to click that this is bigger than just throwing my money in the stock market or any other financial opportunity I could make.
So now it became an opportunity. So then I just started buying more. And it took me a while. From the first two, there was probably a lag of — as I said 24 months — a couple years maybe, maybe as many as three, before I bought the next one. And then the next set of buildings, fourplexes, came rather quickly. So now I own 23 investments.
Geoff: 23 all total. They’re not all fourplexes?
Nicole: 23 doors, so I do have a number of fourplexes.
Geoff: That is the correct term in the investment… Yeah. 23 doors. So your first investment property was a fourplex?
Nicole: The first one was a fourplex. And it was…
Geoff: Yeah. That’s biting off a lot. Yeah.
Nicole: Yeah. It was scary, because it’s… You’ve got roommate situations. You’ve got, “Well, he’s doing this and he’s doing that and it’s coming over the fence.” And I’m just like…
Geoff: Were you living in the fourplex, by the way? One of the units?
Geoff: No. No way. Okay. I got it.
Nicole: But I do help people do that, but I didn’t. No.
Geoff: Well, it’s got to be the right area.
Geoff: I mean, I have a friend of mine who invests in a similar situation in Vegas but not in the area that you’d want to live in Vegas. My first — okay, quick sidebar — my first investment property was bought sight unseen in Smyrna, Tennessee. It was a condo, and I bought into the pitch that Nissan’s opening up a plant there, and that’s where all the job growth is and all that stuff. Well, I got the hard lesson in being a landlord when a pipe burst in the middle of the night and flooded into my neighbor’s condo, after which they sued me.
Nicole: Oh, my gosh. Yeah.
Geoff: I was like, “Oh, this is fun.” But no. I love that. 23. Man. First of all, congratulations to you for having the courage of that. How come more people don’t do that? How come more loan officers don’t do that?
Nicole: Don’t investment, or don’t talk about it?
Geoff: Yeah. Don’t investment. Don’t buy, invest in their own product.
Nicole: Right. Yeah, because it was a couple years before I did. I don’t know. I wish they would, because they’d serve their clients better if they understood the product that they were selling.
Geoff: Yeah. No, I’m sure this gives you… Now, investors, is that one of your niches?
Nicole: First-time investors are. The repeat, the larger investors, they’re going to typically go wholesale, hard money. They’re going to go local bank portfolio-type situations. I mean, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac… I mean, we can do up to 10 finance properties, and I’ll have clients that have 10. And they’re restructuring and they’re pulling cash out of this one to pay off two or three others to be able to pull another one in or buy another one. So I mean, the advantages to going Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on an investment are substantial compared to hard money or even portfolio. So if you can restructure your portfolio so that you stay at that 10, and then sometimes you just can’t.
But we try to help a lot of people. Once they start going and then if they’re fixing and flipping, obviously, that doesn’t work well with our world. That’s going to be more hard money. So we do work with… I teach a lot of classes around first-time home investors. How do you get over the fear where it is… Buying that fourplex to begin with was overwhelming, especially as a woman. And my husband was there to support me, but he really leaned on me. I was the one that was in the industry. He was traveling a lot.
And so I had to make a lot of the decisions, and we’re not taught at an early age in general, especially as a woman, how to make those kind of financial decisions and leaps. And so to have somebody come alongside you is really important. So that’s kind of been my passion for building this business and working with first-time home investors, much like my trusted advisor did for me on my first one.
Geoff: Wow. That’s cool. It’s so nice to have mentors that help you on your way. Have you always been passionate about education? I forget the exact tagline you guys use, but you’re passionate about educating people about leveraging real estate to build wealth. Right?
Nicole: Yes. Yeah, we talk all the time about building wealth in real estate. It’s kind of our tagline, and then we have a “We believe” statement that we believe in sleeping better at night, giving people the opportunity to build multigenerational wealth through real estate.
Geoff: And I have to say, I was watching one of your videos earlier, and you go deep with the education. You’re talking quantitative easing.
Nicole: I did. I do a monthly market trends report, so that one’s more business-to-business. That’s for the REALTORS®.
Geoff: Yeah. They’re like, “What’s that?” They need some help educating but that’s… So I’m curious then. Alright. I’m going to transition into more. Let’s get a bit tactical, because those listening want to know. If I’m correct… So alright, let me go back to your website here real quickly.
I love your website, by the way. Very well-done. Very professional. What I like best about it is the rolling numbers that pop up on how many families you served last year. Let me get back, because I got a couple of pages here open for you.
But in 2018… I’m just going to refresh the page, because I love to see that, it’s like a telethon. Right? You know the number. How many families did you help?
Nicole: 363. So I did notice the website had 353. I think I was typing too fast when I updated the website, but yeah. No, it was 363 families that served for over $113 million. Personally, $119, I think, in the branch, which includes… My husband joined me. So I persuaded him over to the dark side. He left corporate America, and he only does reverse mortgages. So I’m the only producer in my branch, and then he supports our clients and our financial planners with reverse mortgage options. So he upped my number on that website a little bit. Yeah.
Geoff: Yeah. That’s awesome. Good, good, good. Okay, so that’s a big number. That puts you at the number one spot for Fairway, company-wise?
Nicole: The number one producing branch manager. So there’s a couple of us at the top. When I look at the mortgage origination magazine, I’m the top originator in the state of Colorado, and there’s a handful of Fairway folks right up there in the top 60 with me but further up.
Geoff: Wow. Congrats. That is an awesome achievement. You should be incredibly proud. Because any of us listening, we know it’s not easy. You’ve definitely put in your sweat equity. So speaking of that, let’s then transition, because what caught my attention was your trajectory, if I can bring this back up. It was just about — what? — roughly four years ago you did what? $25 million.
Nicole: Yeah, so I went from $24 to $48 to $78 to $101 to $113.
Geoff: Alright. And as you know, the question that’s coming next… How the heck did you do that?
Nicole: Yeah. I really do think it’s once you decide what you want to do. Right? You decide what you’re passionate about. You decide what your branding is, what your lane is — and I talk about that all the time, is what’s your lane? — then you dive all-in into that lane. And that, I think, has been the difference, because it’s really easy in this industry to chase shiny pennies. I mean, it’s so easy. Everybody wants a part of the mortgage industry and the originators that work here.
So once you say “yes” to this lane, I get to say “no” to all the rest of the stuff, which is beautiful. Like I’m not good at leads. I’m not good at one-on-one videos. I’m really good on one-to-many. I’m really good about speaking a message that I’m passionate about. So I’m not good at a lot of things. If I start listing it out, I’m not good at more things than I’m good at, but I know what I’m good at. And so if I focus on those things and I focus it leaning into the passion, then I get to spend my time there. And I get to design ways to get that message out. I get to be in front of the camera. I get to be in front of the clients. I get to talk about how exciting this industry really is.
And so I do get invited to speak in front of a lot of agent groups, instilling that passion in them, because it’s a hard market. There’s a lot of disruption going on right now, and people are trying to figure out where they belong and what their lane is and what their branding is. And if they don’t have that innate sense, then they’re going to get swallowed up by the Zillows and Opendoors.
So I think that’s what’s given me the growth is just the passion.
Geoff: Yeah. We’ll come back to the disruptors. Let me just make a note here. But I have to ask you just for clarification. I think I know the answer, but what is your lane?
Nicole: So our lane… It really is the whole concept around the building wealth through real estate. So my lane is using the history that I’ve had over the last eight years in property ownership and the bumps and the bruises and everything that I learned, and taking that, turning it around, and helping others. So it’s through teaching. It’s through… The mode in which I get to do it is through the presenting, is through the video, is through the classes that I teach. The lane is really about working with REALTORS® and helping more buyers understand and capitalize on the opportunities that they have in real estate.
Geoff: And really, then, I guess it comes back to you’re educating people, being a guide for them along that journey.
Nicole: Yeah. And it’s deciding that I don’t work well with the financial planners. I don’t work well with CPAs and divorce attorneys and new builds and yadda, yadda, yadda. Because if I started chasing them, then I wouldn’t be everything that I am to the REALTORS® that I serve.
Geoff: So you’ve gone all-in on real estate agents?
Nicole: I have. I have.
Geoff: How did you know… Maybe it’s just trial and error and experience, but how did you decide that — you know what? — this is my lane. It’s not financial planners, to use your example. Did you try financial planners, and it just didn’t feel right?
Nicole: I tried financial planners, and it’s a different cycle. It’s a different mode that I’ve got to communicate with them. And it’s a different series of touchpoints that I’ve got to do. So I have no doubt I could do it. I have no doubt I can co any one of those things, but it takes me away from the presentations and the classes and the dedication that I have to this group. I already give a number of different presentations on any given week.
This week, as an example, I have four different presentations I’m giving on slightly various topics to different real estate groups. And if I then add on presentations and conversations I need to have with builders and with financial planners, I just don’t have enough hours in the day. I already work a lot.
Geoff: Yeah. Yeah. And you dilute your focus, which is, I think, what you’re realizing. No, that’s great. Because to your point there about if you add on, if you add on, it’s like the old saying is saying no is oftentimes more powerful than saying yes. What you say no to. Right? So it allows you to really live in that space that you are energized by, which maybe you’re similar to me in the fact that you get energized by teaching classes.
Nicole: I totally get jazzed up by teaching classes. No, I love it. I don’t love being in front of the camera, per se. I love having the opportunity to reach in and talk to so many more people at a time. So I love the impact the video has. I love the aspect of classes. I mean, we’ll do classroom settings, anywhere from 20 to 60 agents in a room, depending on the topic or depending on the time of the year.
I was able to give a presentation at DMAR, our local association of REALTORS®, to 400 agents, and that would freak most people out. And I was just so excited about it that I didn’t sleep at all the night before, and it wasn’t out of fear. It was truly the excitement.
Geoff: Were you always comfortable speaking to large groups?
Nicole: No. No. I’ve always talked to some level, but it’s time… I’m a bike rider, so it is absolutely time in the saddle.
Geoff: That’s a solo sport. That’s a solo sport, isn’t it?
Nicole: It’s totally a solo sport, but it’s one where I can go really fast, and nobody gets in my way. But there’s competitiveness in me. I get to take it out on my bike. But it’s time in the saddle. It’s doing it and doing again and doing again and doing again that you get more comfortable. And you’re allowed to.. And I even say it. If you went back and looked at a video of me from four years ago, they’re awful. They’re awful.
Geoff: We’ve all got that. Yeah. No, but so there’s a couple key lessons here, is one of the things you said about the camera is you don’t love the camera. You don’t love being on video. And I think, first of all, thanks for being honest with that, because I think most of us don’t. Right? I mean, it’s a little bit awkward, and we’re a little bit self-conscious. But, here’s the trick, gang, is you focus on — like you said — the impact and the reach. Or for me, it’s like I focus on the message I’m trying to communicate and who I’m trying to impact on the other end. Right?
Nicole: 100%. I’m always visualizing that person that I’m talking to on the other side of the camera.
Geoff: Yeah, and that gets you over the whole, “Hey, how do I look?” thing. You’re just like, “I don’t give a damn how I look, because I’m here to just present a message, man.” You know?
Nicole: Right. I’ll look at some later. I’m like, “Oh, that was a bad hair day.” And I’ll be like, “Whatever. I can’t change it now.”
Geoff: No, but the key is really for everybody… I mean, I just did a class earlier today with REALTORS®. There was like 20 in the room. It’s like, “Hey, how many of you are on video?” Like two hands out of 20. It’s like we know they need to be on video, but they’ve got all the BS getting in their way. Just need to get over it. When did you realize that speaking to groups of agents was a game-changer for you?
Nicole: So I’ve only been doing… Well, I’ve started my fourth year, so we… It was probably by the second year I had figured out that this was going to be our niche. The whole first year I had made a commitment that I was going to do it. I wasn’t planning on it. I was planning on just having a little January thank you event. I was talked into making it a bigger, year-long event and committing. I committed. And then when I commit, I’m done. I put it on the calendar, and it’s going to happen.
And the first year was a struggle. It was how do you get the butts in seats? What’s the messaging that I’m putting out there? Who am I attracting? How do I find them? How do I RSVP [system 0:26:54] them? How do I feed them? Everything. And there’s some trial and error to that.
But by the end of the first year, we kind of had figured it out, and it was a lot of hardship to get there and a lot of hours to put butts in seats, but once you figured it out and I started figuring it out, then that almost then duplicated what I got passionate about. Because I got to speak about it more often than before, it really started to cement who I was inside that passion. How do I express it? And so the second year was when I started realizing, this is our lane. This is where we belong.
Geoff: And did you see results quickly from the classes?
Nicole: Yeah. I mean, the volume takes care of itself. I always tell everybody — It’s not about the number of transactions. It’s not about the money. It’s about being able to lean in and the fact that people recognize that this is me. This is the authentic Nicole Rueth. For better or for worse. I’m not all jovial, and you’re not going to see me as a comic, and you’re not going to see me making jokes, and you’re not going to see me do a lot of things. I don’t lighten up very well. I tend to be really excited and passionate about this one thing, and I talk about it a lot.
But people know that by now. They know I talk with my hands. They know that I lean in and I get involved, and they get what I am. They know who I am at this point.
Geoff: Yep. You’re just being real, showing up as your authentic self. Alright. And I love that we’re talking about this, because I don’t know if you know this or not, but I’ve been preaching and teaching classes for like 10 years. And it’s just interesting. It seems to be LOs are who may be finally coming around because of the market shits and the volume of overall business is now. Now they’re like, “Gee, I guess I better go back to marketing and sales 101 and get in front of people.”
I notice you’ve evolved, and I see a number of loan officers do this. You evolved into the Agent Ignite program. Right?
Nicole: So Agent Ignite is the name I gave my class four years ago, so it kind of evolved on its own. People know that. I’m sure there’s an Agent Ignite anywhere else and it’s not an uncommon name, “ignite.” But that was just a name that we loved the inspiration. It was first REALTOR® Ignite. I did that for probably seven or…
Geoff: That’s a no-no.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah, I learned that later. So I probably did that for seven or eight months, and I had the website and I was like, “How did I get REALTOR® Ignite?” Yeah. I got the website. I got all that stuff, and then I got a call from NAR, and it’s like…
Geoff: Love it. I’ve had something like that happen, too, where it’s just like, oh, it’s a trademark.
Nicole: I was like, “So how long do I have? Alright.”
Geoff: Right. But I think what’s really cool about this is it goes back to what you said earlier is decide, know your lane. I’m checking my notes, and so you decided you were going to use classes as your platform. If you think about the book from Michael Hyatt, and he talks about platform, and in today’s noisy world, how do you rise about the noise? And I love the fact that you said you recognize what you’re not good at. We didn’t touch into social media yet, and I don’t want to make any assumptions, but it seems to me you’re clear on your lane. Not that you’re not on social — because you are — but your lane is much more face-to-face in front of groups.
Nicole: Yes. So we have a pretty strong social presence, I think. We’re on all the channels, and we’re talking about events that we have. We broadcast those a lot, not broadcast them live but advertise for them. We also do daily postings on what’s going on in the market. Our postings are definitely more informational. They’re definitely more… I’m on the market trends committee of our DMAR, which is our Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®.
And so we put out a 28-page — I’m plus or minusing a couple pages — market trends report every month, and it goes through all the stats of the market. And I’m on that committee, take a big part of that. That’s why I did the video that you saw that gets a little bit more theoretical. And so I put that out every month. And I do lean into the data, because the data helps me be a better landowner, it helps me be a better mortgage professional, it helps me be a better partner to my REALTORS®.
So being the data geek that I am, you’ll see a lot of our postings are centered around what DMAR’s saying, what NAR’s saying, what’s… This month, we have a campaign going on for National Women’s History month, so we’re talking about women and how far behind we are. You look at the numbers on our consumer choices, and we’re 91% and 86%. You look at all these numbers of our involvement in all these consumer purchases. You put the word investment in front of housing, and all of a sudden, it drops to 25% of women are involved in investment real estate. You talk about a regular investment or a regular real estate purchase, and the number is like 91%.
So those are the kinds of things that you’re going to see on our social media — to circle back to that — not regretfully or not regretfully, my kids and the dogs and pictures of houses. I need to start to be more authentic and be some of that personal side on social, but I tend to just lean into the data, because I love it so much.
Geoff: You reminded me. So you’re a road biker. Do you know the REALTOR® NikNik, Nicole Nicolay?
Nicole: I don’t.
Geoff: If not, I’ll send you a link to her, but she’s a REALTOR® up in the Bay area of California, and she’s a big-time triathlon gal. And so you two would have a lot in common. And she does a lot of, like, pictures of her on her bike, or she’s competing, or she’s busting her ass for a workout or whatever. She’s sharing all that up.
Nicole: Oh, that’s fantastic. And I used to do that more, because I was an adventure race competitor so loved that. I work a lot now and I…
Geoff: Adventure race, like what? Tough Mudder or?
Nicole: Yep. Did all those. Yep.
Geoff: Those are tough.
Nicole: A lot of fun.
Geoff: Yeah. I’ve been wanting to sign up for… What’s the other one? The Ninja. Not the Ninja. The Spartan.
Nicole: Oh, the Spartan. Yes.
Geoff: Have you done that?
Nicole: I have. I’ve done those, too. And we did — at the height of the game — okay, this was back when I was… Was I 30? No, I wasn’t. I was 40. When I was 40, I did a six-day adventure race in Utah, so that was the Primal Quest. That was a big thing. It was even on TV. So it was a lot of fun, but I don’t do that anymore.
Geoff: Six days. Yeah, that’s a long stretch. Oh. Okay, so back to the whole classes thing. Here’s what’s great. Back to the… You just made the decision. You’re going all-in. You’re in your lane. You even were so committed to it you gave it a name instead of like, “Oh, I think I’m going to mess around with classes or whatever.” Do you do any CE classes?
Nicole: I do. So there’s a handful of my classes that I CE. I don’t do that as a staple. I’d say that there’s a handful, like renovation loans and mortgage 101 and… Oh, gosh, what do I do? Reverse mortgage. We put a CE on that one. So there’s a handful of them I do.
Geoff: Yeah, but it’s not like you’re… See, here’s the thing. I hear a lot of LOs. They’re like, “I have to do a CE class.” And I’m like, “Why? No, you don’t.” You do a ton of classes that aren’t CE classes.
Nicole: No. I do. Most of my classes are not CE classes, but it’s about content. It’s about is it relevant to the problems that they’re facing today? Am I giving them something that’s… And sometimes it’s completely out of the box. Sometimes it doesn’t have anything to do with real estate, but it might just give them a different idea. It might give them a different vantage point to get them outside of their typical train of thought. So I try to be relevant, helpful, business-propelling, and sometimes it’s just motivational.
Geoff: Well, exactly. It’s like you said. It’s like you’re trying to deliver value. You’re pouring into them. And here’s what I often say is that, look, what they struggle with as a REALTOR® is often the same issues we struggle with. Right? How to manage your business, marketing, branding, social media — all that kind of stuff. So I’m sure by you taking ownership of educating and teaching, that’s partly how you learn. Right?
Nicole: Oh, 100%. Me doing these… I would say now, because I’m always reading every morning. I’m reading articles. I’m listening to podcasts. But a lot of my learning comes from having to put these presentations together. If I’ve got to put together a 45-minute presentation on the current market trends or buying your first investment or branding, I’ve got to figure out what that whole topic concept is and then condense it into a 40-minute conversation. So it takes… I probably put three, four hours into every 40-minute presentation, and I do it all myself. I create all the data. I can’t let somebody else own that. That’s mine.
Geoff: Oh. There you go. Can’t let somebody own that. Yeah. I put about 20 hours into mine, so I want to know your secret.
Anyway, speaking of different topics, we have to give a shout-out here, because on March 21st, you are bringing in somebody who’s been a big part of, I think, your journey and your growth and that is… I’m just getting back to my camera here to make sure Bill’s book comes in view. Speaking of pouring in and adding value, Bill Hart, if you’re listening to this… Bill was on the podcast last year. White Collar Warrior. Great book, if anybody’s listening, if you haven’t got it yet, White Collar Warrior on Amazon. Bill Hart. Or go to… I think it’s whitecollarwarriorbook.com. Hopefully, I’m getting that right. But tell us why you’re bringing Bill Hart in.
Nicole: One, he’s an amazing guy. And two is he’s been a huge part of the growth that I’ve seen. I have two incredible coaches, and I have to give a shout-out to Sarah Middleton, who is a champion for Fairway Mortgage. I mean, really, she’s been instrumental in its growth over the last five years, and she introduced me to Fairway Mortgage. Sarah Middleton and then Bill Hart have coached me for the last four years and they… totally different perspectives. One inside Fairway, one outside Fairway.
And Bill has offered a perspective of that lane. From all of the people that he talks to, it’s that feedback loop on what it is that I’m doing, how I can continue to tighten it up, to really laser focus where I’m going, because again, it’s that being able to say no to everything else makes this lane really sweet. And so he’s kept me on the lane. He’s continuously pushed me towards bigger numbers. He’s championed and celebrated the wins with me, so it’s been really phenomenal.
And now he’s got his own podcast, called All In. And so we’re talking — at this Agent Ignite — we’re talking about branding. We’re talking about that microlevel, how do you separate yourself from the Zillows, from the Opendoors? Lenders are… We’re right there too. We’ve been fighting Quicken for years. This is not new to us, so for us to go, hey, this big brother is coming in from the side door. So how do we do that together? How do we differentiate? How do we brand ourselves to not play their game but to play our game? Because I can’t play theirs, and they can’t play my game. I’m really good at my game, and it’s not one that they can play.
So he’s coming in, and then he’s going to take that one step further, and go, “How are you all in?” So, okay, you decided your lane. You figured out your branding. How do you multiply that? So how do you multiply the success by being all in?
Geoff: So in the remaining minutes we have, you did talk about the Zillow thing. What is your game? What do you mean, how you can play Quicken or Zillow’s game and they can’t play your game?
Nicole: Well, I don’t have the money behind the technology. That’s not my game. They’ve done what they’ve done. If I think of the Zillow… Zillow and Quicken. I’ll just take those, the two biggest competitors in the real estate world, real estate and lending. They’ve created their own niche. People go to them to research, to find the data, to do that legwork. But that’s their game, and they’ve got all those people that are coming on the internet, people surfing on the internet. Although I look at and I work on SEO, they may not find me, because Quicken, they’re going to pop up.
But my game is relational. My game is down here, boots on the ground. My game is I know the Denver market. I’m not trying to even play the game in Salt Lake City or Los Angeles. I’m playing the game here, because my 23 doors are here. My market knowledge is here. My kids are here. I just helped my 20-year-old buy his first house last spring.
So my game… I know this game. Quicken can’t play this one. They don’t have boots on the ground, and they can’t compete at the level that I’m competing in the way I’m competing, with the classes, with the video, with the content.
Geoff: No, that’s 100%. Thank you. Right on there. And I was going to ask you earlier about some of the things you might do differently in your customer process, like from your first conversation and stuff. I mean, I know you lead with transparency and education, so let me ask it this way. I’m just kind of getting a sense of who you are. I know the answer’s like, yes, I’m intentional about… The first words out of my mouth. I know. But here’s the thing. You’ve seen LOs. I see LOs all the time where they aren’t aware or conscious or not being intentional about differentiating that borrower experience. Therefore, they’re going to lose to somebody like Quicken or Zillow. Agreed?
Nicole: If you’re transactional, so is Quicken and Zillow. I mean, you’re playing their game.
Geoff: So how do you get relational? Through your question-and-answer process when you’re taking a 1003? Through some of the Ritz-Carlton-level service you deliver? What?
Nicole: Right. So we are intentional about getting to know each client’s goals. And that’s just my lane. Anybody else can do it differently. They can come in and learn about the kids and the dogs and the family and the lifestyle and all these other things. Or they could… I know a couple people right off the top of my head that have kind of this more structured, wealth-building type of a spreadsheet that they go over and plan.
We talk about building wealth. We talk about, “Okay, so is this your only house, or is this your first house? Where are we going from here?” Because it changes the loan options I present to you. It’s about being that champion for them long-term. It’s about building that relationship, not just for this home but for the next five.
Geoff: Sorry to interrupt, but are you taking a lot of the incoming first calls when you get a referral from a REALTOR® or whatever?
Geoff: Yeah, personally.
Nicole: Okay. I don’t take all of them. I do take a number of them, especially if they’re looking to invest. I’ll have those initial conversations, and then I’ll have one of my production partners work with those clients going forward, because we talk about the fact that we… It wouldn’t be fair for me to be that person, that liaison for each borrower, because I’m just not in the office as much as they are. They’re in the office all the time, so for them to be the liaison through the whole process gives them a step up in customer service. So I can lean into them, find the solution, help them out, and then they’ll take it over from there.
Geoff: Got it. Okay. What are you doing differently as we enter 2019, maybe, that you haven’t done before?
Nicole: So we are continuing to look at additional education opportunities. So what can we do to meet our clients where the need is? We know, I know, that there’s this whole conversation around the recession and what’s going to happen and is it going to be a bust? We saw it. Right? I mean, December, fourth quarter, was awful. First quarter started out slow. January actually was backwards, was negative, and February is caterpillaring across the ground. It’s like inch-worming.
But it’s slowly building. You can feel it. It’s building the momentum, so you have to lean in to your buyers and sellers, because they’re getting their news from national news and from clickbait, if you will, that those headlines… And you can’t even read the article, because you don’t have a subscription. It’s awful, and of course, they work those headlines so well. And so it’s our job to continue to lean in and help them understand that the data supports the strength of not only the economy but the housing market.
And so what we’re doing in 2019 is really leaning into that. How can we continue to get that messaging out? We did some stuff at the end of 2018 around that and created some different video content that we’re doing around the market trends. And we created additional pages on our website and outlets for getting that messaging out there. And now we’re looking to continue that in 2019.
Geoff: So if I heard you correctly, then, you are using data to support buying a house or investing?
Nicole: Oh, 100%. I can support the opportunities in housing six different ways. I am a math geek. I mean, I graduated with an accounting and finance major. I love the numbers, and the numbers have the benefit of not lying. They are what they are, and they work for you or they don’t.
Geoff: 100% and I agree — whether you’re using Mortgage Coach or some tool like that out there — that it’s… Keep in mind, like you said earlier, I think it was referring to the fact that we’ve got this perception to overcome, and it’s one thing to say, “Hey, now’s a great time to buy” versus to present, “Well, here’s what the data’s saying about why is now a good time to buy.”
Nicole: Right. Agreed.
Geoff: Yeah. And that just helps you obviously look more as a professional. It builds trust and all that stuff. So right on. Last thing. I want to close out real quickly with video. Your YouTube channel is just amazing. You’ve got, if I’m correct, over 100 videos on your REALTOR® Education playlist. Let’s see. Your playlist has over 100 videos and your REALTOR®… So do you have two different playlists? REALTOR® Education and then a different one?
Nicole: We have a list of playlists. So we have content. We cycle through concepts. So we might have helping your children buy a home, helping your elderly parents move next to you and what’s the relationship look like. Women’s Month, we’ve got a playlist for that. And then we stick the ones that are relevant to REALTORS® and REALTOR® within Mortgage Education. So we have — I don’t even know — 12 playlists, probably.
Geoff: Well, you’ve got over 250 videos.
Geoff: Wow. Real quickly, how do you structure or schedule those? Your filming schedule?
Nicole: So we have themes, and so I’ll record theme videos at the beginning of the month, so that we can schedule those out during the month. And then we have breaking news type videos. You know, the Federal Reserve Board just met and this is what they did, or Zillow just broke into the Denver market.
So we’ll have those, and then every once in a while, we’ll have… We have a couple of client appreciation events, so we might have a video around that that we just kind of throw up there real quick. Or invites to our events go up there, as well. So it’s a myriad. Some of them are very scheduled, and then some of them are just based on ad hoc when the news comes out.
Geoff: Yeah. Well, I mean, your REALTOR® Education playlist itself’s got 122. The Agent Ignite’s got 110. Mortgage Education’s got 120. Yeah, you’re wracking up some serious videos. Do you, by the way, I’m curious… What’s been the ripple effect of everything you’re doing education- and video-wise?
Nicole: Really the goal — because I was trying to think, what is the ripple effect of — I mean, it’s hard to separate out, to say, well, this did that, and this other thing…
Geoff: Right. It’s a great… Do you see or feel a greater sense of like, “Hey, Nicole, I’ve seen your videos” or “Hey, you’re the”? You know what I’m saying? That kind of bubbles up.
Nicole: Yeah. Yes. And we do. A lot of people will say that, or they’ll say, “Hey, I forwarded that video on to my clients” or it gives them access to content that is… It’s like having a kid, and having a best friend tell your kid something versus you telling them something. Sometimes it works out better if somebody else does it, a third-party expert. So it’s that. It’s being able to give the REALTOR® something that they can pass on, and a lot of our REALTORS® in the Denver market know our name… know us when we put in an offer. They’re like, “Oh, Nicole Rueth.”
It helps with getting the image out there, getting the branding out there, getting our name out there, which ultimately… The only reason I’m doing that is to help my clients, help more clients build that wealth through real estate and be an advocate for them and their kids. You’re building multigenerational wealth.
Geoff: I imagine you’ve helped a number of your REALTORS® get started with their own investment plan.
Nicole: I have.
Geoff: Yeah. That’s a good feeling. That’s awesome. That’s fantastic. Alright, so we are out of time, because you’re crazy busy, and I’ve got to go pick up my son from school. How’s that?
Nicole: Yes, well, enjoy.
Geoff: I’m texting him, “I’ll be there soon. Don’t worry.” No, but I greatly appreciate you making time for being here today. Thank you for sharing your story, and I think it’s inspiring for anybody who wants some help in getting clear, making a decision on what’s your lane, go all-in, and just be your authentic self.
Nicole: Right. 100%.
Geoff: Awesome. If anybody wants to reach out to you, what’s the best place for them to find you?
Nicole: Well, our website’s got all my contact all over it. I give my cell phone out to everybody.
Geoff: You do?
Nicole: Yeah, I do. I have no boundaries.
Geoff: Alright, go ahead.
Nicole: If somebody wants to call me, they can. It’s 303-808-2300. Or you can check out our website. It’s theruethteam.com.
Geoff: Right. And we’re going to put links to all that in the show notes, everything else we talked about. Bill Hart’s book. All that fun stuff. Nicole, I can’t thank you enough, and hopefully, I get to cross paths with you some time at an event or when I’m in Denver or whatever.
Nicole: Absolutely. Would love it. It was a pleasure.
Geoff: Alright. You take care, alright? Have a great day.