Cornelius was a podcast guest five years ago when he just started his journey as a realtor. Since then, he has worked with several brokerages. He also works as a school counselor full-time. Over the years, Cornelius has gained plenty of experience in time management and customer service. In this episode of #SkillsetSunday, he’ll be sharing his knowledge as well as some tips to manage a busy life efficiently.
Cornelius Camp Real Estate Background:
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“Kindness always wins no matter in business or in personal life” – Cornelius Camp.
Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners, and welcome to the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show. I’m Theo Hicks and today, we’ll be speaking with Cornelius Camp. Cornelius, how are you doing today?
Cornelius Camp: I’m doing well, Theo. How are you doing?
Theo Hicks: I’m doing well as well. Thanks for asking and thank you for joining us again. So Cornelius was back on the podcast way, way back in the day, episode 220, all the way back in 2015.
Cornelius Camp: Correct. Yeah.
Theo Hicks: So he’s been up to a lot since then, so I look forward to catching up and also focusing on the skill for today, because today is Skill Set Sunday, so we’ll focus on a specific skill that Cornelius has that you can apply to your business. And the goal is to talk about actually two skills – customer service and time management. Before we get into that, a little bit about Cornelius. He is a school counselor for Chicago Public Schools and a real estate agent, hence, time management as a skill.
Cornelius Camp: Yeah.
Theo Hicks: He has 5 years of experience. As I mentioned, previous guest on Episode 220. He is based in Chicago and his website is http://cluelessrealtor.com/.
So Cornelius, before we jump into those two skills, do you mind catching us up on what you’ve been up to since you and Joe spoke about 5 years ago?
Cornelius Camp: Sure. So like you mentioned, that was 5 years ago and I was actually just getting started into real estate when I got an email from Joe and decided to be on his podcast, where he invited me to be on his podcast. So I’ve been practicing real estate along with being a school counselor for Chicago Public Schools. In real estate, I probably have been in three brokerages since then. I’m really happy with the brokerage that I’m at right now, Fulton Grace. I’ve partnered with the Louis Real Estate Group, one of the top producing groups here in the city of Chicago. So I’ve learned a lot. It’s been good. I’ve learned a lot.
Theo Hicks: Good. So the two skills that I mentioned we wanted to talk about is customer service and time management. And I’m just going to change it up on you, I’m going to do time management first. So you are a school counselor, which is a full-time job. I have an aunt who’s a school counselor… So you have a full-time job, but then you’re also a real estate agent on the side. Obviously, that’s going to take a lot of time management skills. I think you also mentioned that you said to us you’re married, you have a child, I’m sure there’s other things you enjoy to do as well… So time management is super important to make sure that you’re able to invest enough time in each of the different areas.
But first, before you go into your tactics for doing that, maybe just quickly explain how much time you’re spending in each of these; maybe give us like a typical school year week, Monday through Sunday, how much time is spent as a school counselor, and how much time is spent as an agent? And then when are you doing these things?
Cornelius Camp: Okay, so during the weekday, Monday through Friday, my school counseling hours, I usually arrive at school by around [7:45], or in this case, I log on at about [7:45], because we’re doing remote learning now. And usually the school day ends at about three.
I get a 45-minute lunch. So during that time, I’m usually eating at my desk, so that I can eat and also check emails, check post notifications on Facebook, Instagram, and just respond to the audience or just respond to any clients that I might have.
Once three o’clock ends, I usually will give myself about an hour and a half, maybe two hours… And that’s because depending on where the actual showing is – I usually have showings, I should have said that earlier; I usually will have showings with my clients. And depending on where the showing is, I’ll give myself about an hour and a half to get there. So I usually would do about 2-3 showings per night, and if I start at [4:35], that runs me till about [6:30] or [7:00], 2 or 3 showings. And then I can get back home, spend a little bit of time with my son, we have a family dinner, and then it’s time for him to go to bed.And then after that, once he’s in the bed, I’m usually up checking emails, responding to emails, trying to be creative with content and post content, and schedule out content. And then also trying to set up other showings for different clients.
Theo Hicks: What time are you usually in bed by?
Cornelius Camp: Usually about [10:30], because I usually have to wake up at about [4:30]. I’ve got to get prepared, because he doesn’t have an alarm clock; he wakes up some days at [6:00] o’clock, and some days he’ll wake up at [6:45], so it’s an adventure… And we have our little dog, so I have to go and walk her out as well. So I’ll take her outside and then I just stay up. That’s how I start my day; I have a little meditation period, a little time to read, a little time to focus, pray a little bit, and then I get ready for of him basically, yeah.
Theo Hicks: You’re kind of working all day from [4:30] until [10:30]. Besides the [unintelligible [00:08:00].01] that, how do you have the energy to do all of this?
Cornelius Camp: Well, I used to be a personal trainer, so I have knowledge as far as what type of foods you need to intake and what’s going to make you sluggish, and what might keep you up and peppy, I guess, so to speak. So I have quite a few sandwiches, protein bars here and there, I may have a shake in the morning. I’ll try not to have a very, very heavy lunch, nd then I just try to do things as far as what will keep me awake. I don’t really do much caffeine, but I do the decaffeinated green tea. So that keeps me going throughout the day. And water.
Theo Hicks: Let’s talk about the diet, because that’s actually really important, and we don’t talk about that a lot on here. As you mentioned, you’re a personal trainer, and the types of foods you eat, when you eat, how much you eat will determine the level of energy you have. And obviously, you have a lot of energy and you can get up at [4:30] in the morning and work until [10:30] at night, and more or less be on your game the whole time… So you kind of went over what you eat, but maybe be more specific. So you wake up at [4:30] AM, and you go to bed at [10:30]. What’s your diet look like in between there?
Cornelius Camp: I guess maybe around six o’clock is when I have breakfast. But that’s usually something kind of light, like maybe a cereal bar or—the past month or so, I’ve kind of gotten into a cup of green tea and toast with almond butter. So that’s usually how I kind of start the morning. It is real simple, it’s good, it’s healthy for you and I don’t have to put too much thought in it.
And I try to eat every 2-3 hours. So after that, I might have a bowl of oatmeal, after that maybe some yogurt and then usually it’s around lunchtime, so that includes maybe a sandwich or some type of chicken breast, or some type of carb or vegetable. I struggle with the vegetable part because I’ve never liked vegetables… So that’s where the ninja comes in. So the ninja comes in later on in the day.
And then usually I try to get something in, no matter what it is. Maybe a protein bar of some sort, once I get out of school and then going into the transition part of showing with my clients, because that’s when I really start lagging; it starts catching up to me around that time. So I may grab another cup of tea, a protein bar to give me a little boost of energy. Like I said, hopefully I can get home by [6:30] and [7:00]. My wife does usually cook a good meal for us, and I try not to eat past that time.
Every now and then I might get a little hungry so I may have some type of fruit, or like I mentioned earlier, the ninja part… I may get a cup of green smoothie or strawberries, bananas and mango. I usually like that combination. Get a little honey in it. Yeah, basically, everyday, at least Monday through Friday.
Theo Hicks: Is there any other tactics that you have besides the diet? And I guess all we’re talking about is a diet and your schedule, so maybe walk us through any other advice you have for people who are trying to balance a full-time job and working in real estate.
Cornelius Camp: Right now, because we’re working from home, my son’s daycare is very close to our house, so I drop him off at daycare. And then I actually have a little bit of time before I have to clock in at school to get a workout on. I’m kind of staying away from the whole gym area, because I have an underlying medical condition or compromised immune system. So I basically just run. I have a running background, I ran track in college, one state and the 100-meter dash in Georgia… So I have a running background, my dad runs marathons, I do half marathons. My goal is to do a marathon, but I haven’t gotten there yet. So yeah, I usually get a workout in between [7:00] and [7:45]. And then that gives me enough time to get home, get situated, don’t look so flustered, because I’m sweating and everything when I log on with the kids and in their classroom and stuff.
But any advice though – at least try to take 30 minutes. 30 minutes a day, even if you go for a walk, get some fresh air and get out of the house, get out of the office, just take 30 minutes, do some type of exercise. And if you can’t get outside, then I recommend doing sit-ups, push-ups and squats, and you can use your body weight and you can still get a good workout in.
Theo Hicks: Okay, let’s transition into the other skill, which would be customer service. So I will give you the floor. I know in your email you sent us that customer service is key to any business. So then walk us through why customer service is important and then maybe some of the things that you do to set yourself apart when it comes to customer service, compared to other agency or work with or seen out there.
Cornelius Camp: So I’ve been in the service industry ever since I’ve been working, since 15 years old. And that is a passion of mine. I like helping people, I like seeing people achieve their dreams, I like seeing people succeed. So that’s always been a passion of mine, is to help and serve.
But I got the whole excellent customer service, actually from my wife. She used to work at Verizon, and Verizon is the epitome of customer service. Any problem that they encounter, they’re always taught to keep a positive attitude. They’re always taught to not get frustrated, always taught to display empathy and so forth. So I kind of had a good sense of customer service. But when I met her and then she started working with Verizon, I started learning some tactics from her—not tactics necessarily, but just how to write emails, how to speak with people over the phone, how to speak with people one on one; that helps me out with when I have listing presentation, and so forth.
So that’s basically where it comes from. And then I am constantly now, because my wife introduced me to Gary Vee, I’m constantly watching him and listening to him and seeing his posts, and he’s always talking about kindness. And one thing that I often think about that he said was that “kindness always wins, no matter in business or in personal life. It always wins.” And in my part, as far as real estate is concerned, I’ve found that kindness wins, because it’s good that my clients might get frustrated at the whole buying process or the listing process, so kindness can kind of calm the situation down.
As far as working with other agents, I’ve known a couple of agents that will say to me, like, “Man, so glad that you put in an offer. I really didn’t want to work with this other agent,” or something like that. And then also when you go to refer your clients to a contract or to an inspector or to a lawyer or a lender, having those relationships can take you a long way and it can make you look a lot more professional, because you can say in your listing presentation, “Hey, I have a team. When you decide to place an offer or you decide to list your house, I have this lawyer, I have this lender, I have this contractor if you need anything fixed on a house,” or whatever, and they’re very well recommended. And the customer service comes from people wanting to work with you, because they know you’re a good guy and they don’t mind referring you to another person as well.
Theo Hicks: I love the advice, especially the part on the kindness. Can you elaborate a little bit more on some of the other tactics that you learned from your wife, more specifically, those communication skills? So you said, how to write emails, how to speak with people over the phone, how to speak with people one on one in person; maybe for each of those quickly walk through how our customer service can shine through in those moments.
Cornelius Camp: So I guess when it comes to writing emails, when I first started working for CPS, that’s when I really had to do way more emails than I’ve ever had to do before in my life. Even though I was the kind person when you talked to me one on one, individual, when it came to emails, I was just blunt and straight to the point. It was just one or two sentences, three sentences or something like that. And talking with her and speaking with her, I’ve noticed that in my emails, when I either email my principal or I email students, I try to start off, “Hey, how are you doing? I’m doing well, I hope that everything is going good.” And then whatever it is, I’m emailing you about, “Stay safe, be safe.” And I try to break it down, instead of having them try to figure it out, I guess, lack of better term dummy-it down… So it can be made as easy as possible for them, whoever it is that I’m writing to.
For instance, just a few minutes ago, I was emailing one of the students about a particular assignment that they needed to do, and I was like, “Okay, you have not done this; this is where you need to go,” gave them the website. “This is what you need to do.” I had a screenshot of where they need to go on the screen, “…and here is the information that you need”, and I had the information laid out. So it was basically, you just need to look at the email and then you figure out the problem. That’s what the whole email thing came into place.
As far as talking one on one with people, she taught me how to be empathetic. And that really helps, because the way that you start off a conversation is to be empathetic. And then that helps build the rapport that you need, whether you’re dealing with a client or you’re dealing with a professional service person, a contractor, a lender or a lawyer, anything like that.
So if you set that ground that you have empathy for them and you know exactly what they’re going through, it kind of eases the tension maybe, that might be in the conversation. And then also, it allows you to build that rapport. And whenever in life that you’re dealing with someone, especially in business is concerned, you really have to have a rapport, and I think a rapport is so critical.
Theo Hicks: What does that empathy look like? Maybe give us an example.
Cornelius Camp: Okay, so here’s the example that my wife gave me, and she often uses this. When she was working at Verizon, we were dating, but we were not married. And she will get a phone call from someone and it will be kind of irate and saying that, “Oh, my husband is doing this, and I’m getting a divorce, and all this other stuff. And I’ve got these four kids and they’re driving me up the wall and everything.” Back then, again, we weren’t married, my wife didn’t have any kids, but she would empathize with the person. “Oh, my God, I tell you, I’m going through a divorce right now. It can be so hard, but you’ll get through it.” As far as the kids is concerned, again, she had no kids, but “I totally understand you. Kids, they drive me crazy. They’re pulling me from each and every angle. And I have to do this, and I’ve got to tuck this one into bed. And I’ve got to go over the homework lesson with this one.” Just being able to empathize with that person, and even though it was a made-up situation, she genuinely built a rapport and understood and made the customer on the other end – they’re able now to walk their way through whatever problem they were having.
Theo Hicks: I love that example. Thank you for sharing that. So Cornelius, is there anything else that you want to mention about either customer service, time management, before we sign off? And also where we learn more about what you’ve got going on and anything else you’re working on.
Cornelius Camp: So I wanted to mention about the time management piece, and I think one of the things that’s really critical, no matter what business that you’re in, especially in real estate, is set a schedule. A lot of people will ask me, “How do you work full-time and then also have a thriving real estate business?”
Really, it’s all about setting a schedule. If you set a schedule and you say that, “Between one and two, that I have lunch, I’m going to eat my lunch at my desk. And then I’m going to respond to emails,” well, then do it between that time period.
The same as if I’m not going to respond to emails or be on social media after [7:00] to [8:30] so I can spend time with my son or spend time with my family, set that specific time and then at seven o’clock, shut the social media down, shut the phones down. Don’t check emails, don’t be trying to spend time with your son or whatever and your family time and then you’re constantly checking emails. Set that timeframe and stick with it. The same with working out. 30 minutes, 12 to [12:30]. If it is nice outside, go for a walk during your lunch period. So that’s what I wanted, to express a little bit more about the time management. I think having a schedule, especially if you’re really, really busy, I think that’s critical to keep your sanity.
Theo Hicks: And then your phone, you’ve got an alert set up, or is it just written down, or it’s just in your mind?
Cornelius Camp: I have a couple of alerts on my phone, but my wife created a daily checklist, so it always has Monday through Sunday, and you can write on there and it has these little goals or whatever that you’d have to get done. Some of them are daily, and then some of them you can do every other day, or some of them might be weekly. And then whatever day it is, if you’ve completed that task, you check it off. You may have meetings, or if you have showings, you can put those as notifications in your phone. And then also, I recommend that you get a calendar, write it out.
As a counselor, I have to have a calendar. Because if I see Jonathan on Monday, I’m probably not going to see Jonathan on Tuesday. So I need to know who am I going to see on Tuesday and who am I going to see on Wednesday, so that way everybody can get the amount of appropriate services that they need.
Theo Hicks: Sure. Thanks for sharing that final point, and thanks for sharing all the points. So Cornelius, thanks for joining us. Again, the focus today was on time management. So you went into a very detailed breakdown of how you spend your day, and then also what you eat, which again, may not seem super relevant, but again, you’re a personal trainer. I think most people understand that the types of foods that you ingest, the amounts, the timing is pretty important and has a pretty big impact on how you feel. That’s pretty big if you’re trying to balance all these different things and maximize your time, doing the details on that.
And then you talked about the importance of working out as well. And then overall, just having a schedule. We talked about customer service and how it is a passion of yours. So I guess I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s easier, since you’re already passionate about it and don’t need to work on caring for other people; you’ve already got that going for you.
You mentioned some tactics for communicating, and then you also talked about kindness and how that can calm situations when you’re speaking with clients.
And another thing you talked about was for specifically as an agent, when you’re working with clients, providing a good customer service would be providing them with all different contexts they would need – so a lawyer, a lender or contractor. Providing them with a full service, so that not only is it more helpful to them personally, but then the clients and then the contractors or lawyers and lenders are more likely to refer you to more business. So that’s specific to being a real estate agent, but you can think of that in whatever you’re doing, whether you’re an active investor, or some other role or professional. The same concept applies when it comes to customer service. And then maybe call up Verizon and see how they handle you and get some tips from them.
Cornelius Camp: Right.
Theo Hicks: So Cornelius, thank you so much again for joining us. Again, his website is http://cluelessrealtor.com/. Best Ever listeners, as always, thank you for listening, have a best ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Cornelius Camp: Thanks so much.
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