A Good Pour: Ray Carman

A Good Pour is a series of good conversations with good people. It is inspired by the 100 Cups Academy with the awesome Jason Elkins through the very helpful TN Small Business Development Center at Vol State. Learn more at https://100cups.coffee/

How I Know Ray

Ray and I met back in 2017 when we were part of the 2017-18 Leadership Sumner class. We then went on to lead the 2018-19 class as co-directors. During this time, we laughed together, prayed together, and solved problems together. Getting to know Ray was one of my highlights of the Leadership Sumner experience.

He’s the first participant in “A Good Pour” because he was the first of several to mention doing the 100 Cups program when he found out I was starting my own business.

Here’s A Good Pour with Ray Carman, real estate broker at Priority One Real Estate and Auction.

Ray’s Sumner Story

Before we met for our Good Pour, I had assumed Ray had been born and raised on a farm in Sumner County. I was wrong. He did grow up on a farm, but not quite in Sumner County. The farm was smack dab in the middle of the county line between Sumner and Trousdale counties, but the house was on Trousdale land, so he didn’t claim Sumner as home until much later. At the time, even calling Gallatin from his home was considered a long-distance phone call. His house wasn’t in Sumner County, but his school was. He attended a small Christian private school, where his graduating class was seven students. At this school, he met his wife, Katie, and they moved to Gallatin in 2004 after living a few years in Macon County. They bought their current farm in 2014 and now live with their four children and lots of animals, including the sheep featured on his The Good Shepherd Facebook page

Despite once being quoted as saying he would NEVER live here, he is a Sumner County staple to me and many others.

What is helping you right now? 

  1. The Good Lord
  2. His supportive wife, Katie
  3. Strong relationships with people

An organization or cause near and dear to your heart: 

Gallatin Shalom Zone. I’ve heard Ray mention this organization several times over the years. He likes to talk about the good work that PJ and her team do for the community.

What is a movie, television show, podcast, writer, song, etc., that you think should be added to The Good List?

  1. Shawshank Redemption. He calls it the best movie ever.
  2. George Mueller’s autobiography. Ray read this book in school but later found another copy on his father-in-law’s bookshelves. When he rediscovered the book, his father-in-law had just passed away and Ray and Katie were at a low point in their lives. Ray read the book and implemented its practice of asking God to provide what you need. Within 45 days, their lives turned around. 

What is one marketing question you have for me?

What is the newest marketing trend? 

Voice search. If you don’t know what voice search is, think about all the times you hear or say “Hey Siri” or “Alexa.” Well, that is voice search, and it is blowing up. Why? 50% of all searches were voice-based in 2020, and 75% of US families will own a smart speaker by 2025. 52% of people use voice search while driving. (Stats from reports by TechJury and Backlinko)

So how does a small business optimize for voice search? Here are three tips:

  1. Optimize for mobile. Double-check that the content on your website is mobile optimized. Making sure your website looks good on mobile is not new, of course, but it is worth a reminder. Google pulls content from mobile-first.
  2. Show up in local search. Make sure your business has claimed its Google Business Page and has images on it. Google uses location to report results when people search. In addition, make sure your website content includes your city name or neighborhood and uses phrases like “near me” in metadata and links.  
  3. Keep content simple and helpful. Include content on your website that is short form, such as frequently asked questions (FAQs). Think about the way people ask questions when talking to their phones and write that way. Write content that is helpful to your customer and relevant to your market, and optimize it. Keep things simple and to the point. 


If you are already focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) using content, you are likely ahead of the game. However, if you are not focused on SEO at all, it’s past time you do. 

Thank you, Ray, for being the first participant in “A Good Pour.” Grateful for you!