In 2015 Matt received a Quilly Award from the National Academy of Best-Selling Authors, for his work on the book Get In The Game. Here he’s interviewed after the awards show in Hollywood:
Hello, I’m Brian Tracy and welcome to the Brian Tracy Show
I’m here today with Matthew Cravey, one of the top real estate developers and real estate professionals in Texas, outside of San Antonio and Corpus Christi. He is going to share with us some of the things he is doing and some of the great ideas he has for the future.
Brian Tracy: Matthew, thank you very much for being here, it is a pleasure to see you.
Matthew Cravey: Thank you very much.
Brian Tracy: We were talking a little bit before. Tell us a little about what you do and how you do it.
Matthew Cravey: I’m in commercial and industrial real estate. I have a real estate company, based out of Corpus Christi. We work through most of the state. We sell, lease and manage commercial industrial real estate.
Brian Tracy: Office buildings, industrial buildings and things like that?
Matthew Cravey: Right. Warehouses and everything from restaurant locations for some of these free standing restaurants to banks to schools.
Brian Tracy: I told you I used to be in this industry. It is one of the most important industries in the entire country. The country would actually grind to a halt without commercial real estate available to businesses and entrepreneurs.
Matthew Cravey: I don’t think people realize. They go to the mall and shop; they don’t realize that somebody had to put all of those tenants together, design the mall. They have to run it and take care of it. I don’t think they realize it. Or, they go to their office and work every day and aren’t thinking about how somebody had to risk their capital and build this office building and then run it every day, and make it run smooth so you can go home and have sort of an uneventful day.
Brian Tracy: Yes, it’s enormously complex, isn’t it? You can either build a commercial development or you can do brain surgery, and probably brain surgery is easier.
Matthew Cravey: Well, and one thing I’ve learned, I’ve been doing this for over 40 years, and the one thing I’ve learned is that you really need to specialize. I’ve done a little bit of everything over the years, I’ve got a good understanding, but slow but surely I realized that I needed to specialize. You just can’t be a jack of all trades.
Brian Tracy: Absolutely right. First rule of marketing or business success is to specialize. Be very, very good in one area.
Matthew Cravey: Right.
Brian Tracy: What is your vision for the future? Why have you chosen this industry when you could have probably done lots of other things?
Matthew Cravey: You know, in the beginning, I did it because I was told I had the gift of gab. Somebody said with that line of bull you ought to be in sales. Then I was dating these young ladies when I was young and all their dads were in real estate. I thought well this is great, I don’t even have to go to college. I’ll just go into real estate and make all this money. That showed how naive I was. On top of it, once I got licensed, my broker asked why I got into real estate. I told him I’ve got this gift of gab. “Interesting,” he said. “But, do you want to know the secret to this business? Shut up. Be quiet and listen.” That just blew up my whole plan, to talk my way through this and make millions of dollars.
Then, as time went on, I learned that I didn’t know anything about it. Somebody else said I wasn’t really a real estate agent, I was just a glorified tour guide. All I was doing was taking people around. Of course, I started when I was 19. So, I also didn’t realize that nobody took me seriously because I was 19 and didn’t I know anything. So, I really realized from that point of working that I needed to learn the business. The reason I stayed in the business is because I like people and I like solving problems. Those two together, you are always meeting interesting people and they all have a problem. I’m not really selling real estate, and that’s what I tell my agents. We’re not selling, we’re helping people. They all come to us with a problem and all we have to do is solve it.
Brian Tracy: You guys are doing some unique and different things from your competitors in order to survive and thrive in your marketplace. What are they?
Matthew Cravey: One of the things, early on, even though we are in a smaller community we started specializing. I love to watch people grow and so I bring in a new agent and get them groomed to take over a position. I lucked out, the first person was really good in retail, I didn’t have to show her too much. But, as time goes on we’ve added each person to a different part of the business and then we make sure they really know the business. They need to know the real estate business but they really need to know their field. It is so different than what our competitors were doing that it has really helped a lot. The other thing is that we’re really big on education. I have a CCIM and a SIOR designation, which are two of the highest in the industry. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the CCIM classes I took are the same as anybody in New York, San Francisco, Chicago. So, just because we are in a smaller community, we have the same designations as anybody in a larger city.
Brian Tracy: National accreditation
Matthew Cravey: Yes sir, but what makes it nice is we just choose to live in a smaller community we only have about a half million people immediately in our area. Taking all of that and then taking 40 years of experience plus all of the experience of my other agents, we are able to do some really great things in our area, I think.
Brian Tracy: In almost every specialized field today, the key to differentiating yourself is to be more knowledgeable than your competitors. More knowledgeable in such a way that you can help your clients to make better decisions to get better results from their choices of space whether it is selling or leasing or expanding.
Matthew Cravey: Right, and you know so many people in our field will grow weary of it, so they get off into some other things. But what I find, is by taking on another project, by maybe getting another customer, another challenge, it just keeps you fresh. I agree totally with you, you just have to keep educating yourself and keep working on yourself, and then you’ll be a benefit to your customer and a benefit to yourself and your family.
Brian Tracy: Studies show, the people who own the future are the people who are continually learning, continually upgrading their skills, continuing to take in new knowledge. Because the rule is, if you are not getting better you are getting worse. If you are not moving ahead then you are falling back. Nobody stays even, not in today’s world.
Matthew Cravey: You know, what was it Ray Crockland McDonald said, if you green you are growing, if you are rotten, you’re rotten. Something to that effect but I just remembered that but I believe too that you do need a lot of knowledge in my business but I think you need a lot of knowledge in a lot of things. So, I try to learn about different fields, different things. Maybe I met somebody who was really interesting, and I wanted to know more about what they are doing, maybe have a better understanding of what they are doing. I think that helps me stay fresh as well.
Brian Tracy: Yes, and later on you meet somebody else and you have this information and this information is helpful to this other person. Now, give us one success story based on your area of specialization, expertise and your knowledge, where you had a client, customer, or tenant where you were able to help.
Matthew Cravey: The most unique property I had is this older attorney owned a property that was a landfill. They had dug the soil out, in strips, and filled it back in with trash. They built a highway right in front of the property but it was stripped, thank goodness, and it was only about 12 feet deep. So, the property was still usable and with the naked eye you couldn’t tell it was a landfill. But, because of the new laws, it had to be registered as a landfill and you need to tell the public that is what it was. Well, we started off with the first tenant to go in there was Outback. We realized what we were doing. It was Outback, Carrabba’s and Cracker Barrel. We built a road right up the middle and, of course, the hotels went up along with restaurants. We took this development all the way through and it got a little confusing to some people. Some of our foreign owners of hotels, we told them you have to put piers down, they said, “No, we don’t want to go up in the air and have the building sitting like you see on the coast, on a pier.” I said we’re not communicating; you need to go down in the ground about 25 feet to support the building. The whole development is almost sold out, it is really popular for hotels. The public has no idea they are sitting on a landfill when they are going out to eat, but is not dangerous. It’s fine.
Brian Tracy: So, if people wanted to get in touch with you, how would they learn more about you and your business?
Matthew Cravey: They need to go to our website, it is one of the best places to go. It has all our information, and it is probably the best way.
Brian Tracy: And, it is?
Matthew Cravey: Our website is craveyrealestate.com
Brian Tracy: Wonderful. Thank you very much.
Matthew Cravey: Yes, sir. Thank you very much.