27 Aug Training Is Key | Christie Wilson The Wilson Group Real Estate
Today we have the pleasure of talking with Christie Wilson, who is the broker, owner, and CEO of The Wilson Group. Christie talks about the incredible impact regular employee training has had on her organization.
DONNA: I wanted to talk to you a little bit about, from a real estate perspective, I know when I call your office, I get called back like that, and that’s probably one of the biggest differences that I’ve seen with you, and all of the people who work here, which is amazing to me, because the number of times that people have said to me, I can’t get a call back from them in an hour, in a day, and I’m saying I wanna see a house, I really need to see it now, I know it’s going under contract soon, and they are so frustrated, and I know of people who keep switching realtors to find one who’ll do that.
Christie: That’s right.
DONNA: Alright, so, now that seems simple, but I know in the business right now, it is crazy busy, so tell me how you accomplish everything that you do.
Christie: Sure, well to the point on the phone calls, so I grew up in the business, pretty much, and my dad–
DONNA: This was your dad, right?
Christie: This was my dad. My dad started The Wilson Group in 1988, and I came on with him in 1995. And one thing he said, whatever you do, return that phone call in the day that you receive it.
Christie: And I have always, always, always done that, and we train our agents on that too. In fact, it’s so funny Donna, I had a closing this morning, and the closing attorney was asking my clients, well how did y’all meet Christie? And she said, Oh, she sold us a house back in 2009, and we used here because we called her on a Sunday and she was the only agent who picked up her phone. And she always–
DONNA: Wow, how many agents do you think they called?
Christie: I think they said five? On a Sunday. And this was back, I mean, in 2009 we were still very internet based, but it was nowhere near, ’cause now you just Google, you take a picture of the house, and you can get instant information, but that wasn’t the case back then, and so I’ve now sold those folks four homes, and I feel like I’m part of their family. But I had forgotten that. I was going, wow, that was just a simple phone call.
Christie: Right, and I’ve acquired many clients that way. My father, I mean, he tells me in the story that someone called him from Florida, he was selling, I think it was twelve duplexes, dad called him back, bought them the next week. That’s what my dad did, was bought and sold, flipped real estate. And another realtor called my dad and said, man, these people called me, I called them back, and someone already bought this package, Dad said, when’d you call them back? He said, today, And he’s like, When did they call you? A week ago. And Dad said I bought this a week ago, c’mon. It’s just easy, returning a phone call, returning an email. It’s easy, and it’s respectful. If you want to succeed in this business, you have to respect the client’s need, the potential client’s needs, and do business with them the way you want people to do business with you.
DONNA: Right. So, you have how many agents now?
Christie: We have 51 agents.
DONNA: So, and those 51 agents, and you instill that kind of thing in every one of them, I know your culture here is amazing. I mean, I’ve heard such great stories from all of them.
Christie: Thank you
DONNA: Can you talk a little bit about that culture, and what did you do to get it there, and where did you stub your toe a little bit, maybe, and go, we’re not gonna do that again! Not that you did, but sometimes, that happens.
Christie: I’m one of those girls who really lives with no regrets, and I’m so grateful I’ve made all the mistakes I’ve made. Because it’s gotten me to where I am now. Our culture is definitely so positive, the people who walk in this office, the people who work here, and I am so grateful for the people I get to work with every day, because they’re happy people, they’re positive. When things go wrong, they’re not dwelling on the negative; we work together to find a solution. We’re very solution-focused. And we wanna work with a lot of upbeatness, a lot of solutions, and also things can go wrong, quickly.
DONNA: In a buy or sale of a house, almost always. That’s right.
Christie: But, we have to portray to our clients, I use the theory that we’re ducks on top of the water, we need to be doing this, but below the water, we’re gonna be paddling like hell, and so that’s the methodology we use with our clients, and so we just raise each other up because we know we have to be up for our clients. And it’s just a happy culture, we work hard, but we play hard, and we play well together. And respect each other.
DONNA: So, in a culture like that, I mean, those kinds of attitudes can move into any kind of business.
DONNA: I mean if you look at that. So, I guess the question is when you’re looking for people that you want to add as an agent, how do you find those people that you know are gonna fit with your culture? Because that’s gotta be difficult sometimes.
Christie: It’s a million dollar question, actually, because sometimes the way someone interviews, that may be the best job on the day ever. They’re great interviewers, but when it comes to the business, real estate’s hard. You have a lot of balls up in the air at any given time, so really, talking to people multiple times before I hire them, watching how they interact with me, with the office staff. If you go to lunch with somebody, or coffee with someone, how they interact with the wait staff. That’s hugely important. How respectful they are. And also, listening to their past, and are they upbeat, are they optimistic, are they happy people? You have to have a lot of inner joy in this business because you are carrying a lot of weight of your client at any given time. You’re dealing with their biggest asset, a lot of emotion, and shelter for their family. And you put that all up in a jar and shake it up, and all that comes out is crazy. Right? So we have to manage that crazy. And we’ve all been there, we’ve all bought and sold homes, and it’s So, you have to really be able to tune into that person’s self to know if they’re gonna be able to handle that job.
DONNA: So, now I’m here, I’m a new agent for you, now I’m here. So do you throw me to the wolves, say, here’s your desk, what do you do next? Because you’ve got to do things to instill that culture and make sure it continues. How do you do that?
Christie: Well, we offer so much training here, every week there are at least three opportunities for formal training, and then lots of opportunities to work with the other agents. So, we have an office where the agents actually do come in the office, and just hearing the agents talk to their clients, talk to other agents, talk among themselves about what’s happening, whether in the market or with a client, that’s just sort of boots on the ground training, but then the training that we formally give them. So, on Tuesdays, we do our sales meeting, which we always bring something of value to them there. Every Wednesday, we have a new agent training. Once a month, we have what we call deep dive coaching, where we take a topic, for instance, right now we’re talking about listings. How you get a listing, how you interview with a client to make sure they choose you to list their house. What plan and strategy do you put together to get that home sold, how do you get it from contract to close seamlessly? And then, lastly, we do a professional development class every week, every Thursday, from 10-12, we’ll bring something of value. So, yesterday, for instance, was working with investors. How do you work with investors? An investor client is very different from someone who’s buying their first home, or downsizing, their kids have all gone to college, now they’re buying a condo in The Gulch or something, right? So, how do you look at the return for that investor? So we’re always offering something that they can take out to the marketplace and be better agents for their clients and we instill. Also, we’re not really salespeople. We’re educators. No one wants to be sold something. You wanna be educated on that, but you wanna see the positives. I mean, you need to see the negatives too, but we really help our clients be educated in what they’re buying or selling.
DONNA: So, one last question for you, I have friends who have tried to buy houses and I’ve bought five, tried to buy five houses, and every one of them is under contract by the time I get to the realtor, all of that. What kind of secrets, if I was going to buy a house right now, what kinda secrets would you give me that we would wanna make sure happen in order to not go through five, six, seven houses?
Christie: Number one, use a Wilson Group agent.
And done! Use a Wilson group agent, but make sure your agent knows how to create a strategy for you to get a multiple offer situation. There are about five triggers that can help you make sure that your client gets that house. Number one, your agent needs to be communicating with the listing agent, so if we’re representing a buyer, there are five offers on the house, I’m picking up the phone, I’m calling that listing agent and say, Hey, what’s important to your seller? Is there a closing date that’s important, do they need possession after closing, what’s their situation? So getting some backside information and creating rapport immediately with that listing agent. There are so many agents in the business right now; it’s a challenging time. It’s great that we have so many agents, but challenging because there’s a lot of people out there that aren’t trained. So if it’s a multiple offer situation, and you’re looking at, oh my gosh, this person came in $100,000 over asking, but this is this agent’s first deal, how is she gonna get that through appraisal? That agent that you’re working with needs to be an experienced agent to get you successfully through a multiple offer. Are you pre-approved, is it cash, if the house doesn’t appraise, can you fill the gap of the appraised value to the purchase price, and what lender are you working with? There’s a lot of, real estate, like so many businesses when it’s hot, everyone gets in, so whether your realtor, or a lender, or whatever. So, is it an experienced lender, also? Are you gonna hit that closing date? So there are several things, so if your realtor starts talking strategy with you, then you’re in a good, good space.
DONNA: Okay. Rather than just do the deal.
Christie: Right, right, instead of just writing it up and emailing it. If they’re not talking to that other agent, and it’s, let’s even say a two offer, multiple offer situation, I’m always gonna work with the other agent who is trying to work for their client, because I know they’re gonna work hard in that deal, and make it a win-win for my seller and their buyer.
DONNA: So, I wanna throw you one move curveball, none of these have been hard so far.
Christie: No, it’s easy.
DONNA: What’s the strangest situation you’ve ever had?
Christie: Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.
DONNA: I promised it would be a curveball.
Christie: That is a curveball. Well, the strangest situation, I was showing a house, this was years ago before east Nashville is east Nashville, I mean this is in the 90s probably, or early 2000s, and I was showing a house, and it was a hoarder house. A true hoarder lived in that house.
DONNA: And you had to show the house?
Christie: And I was showing it, to an investor. So we’re walking, we literally have to walk through pathways, and there are all these aquariums that line the wall, that were right about the trash. I mean, there were Hefty bags full of trash, this house was awful, smelled And there are creatures in there, some mice, rats–
DONNA: In the aquariums?
Christie: Mm-hmm. And then some reptiles. And so, I’m freaking out; I’m not a reptile-y person, I mean, just creatures.
DONNA: So you don’t have a pet snake?
Christie: I don’t have a pet snake. And that is creepy when you show a house with a reptile. If I have a client who has a reptile, I’m like, get it out. It cannot stay here. But anyway, so we’re going down to the basement, this is an oldies Nashville house, and a lot of times the bathroom’s wall backs up to the basement wall. There was no railing, so I pushed on the wall, it was like a floor joist, and it was just sorta the weirdest feeling I’ve ever felt. It was kinda gushy, it just kinda went in, but sprung out, I’m like, oh my God, what kinda leak is going on here? Go down in the basement, it was like Silence of the Lambs type basement, we leave, get in the car, the listing agent called me, I knew the listing agent, she said, hey, I’m just making sure you got out of the house okay, I was like, Good night woman, why didn’t you tell me what was going on here? ‘Cause I asked the seller, I said, why are you selling? Oh, I wanna move out to the country, get five acres, a double wide, so I can start my home-based business, which is raising rats and mice for snake food. And I was like, okay. She said, oh, was there a snake in one of the aquariums? Actually, there wasn’t a snake. There were no snakes in those aquariums. I said, no, there weren’t, there were just the little white creatures. She said, oh, that means they haven’t found it yet. So, when I pushed my hand on that wall, I’m convinced now that I touched a boa constrictor, and I hit it, so that’s probably my strangest story that has stayed with me for the past twenty years.
DONNA: I love it
Christie: Yeah, but there are lots of strange ones, just the personalities involved. And every day, I tell everyone, every day is an opportunity for solutions.
DONNA: Well that’s great, well I really appreciate the time today, this has been great talking to you again and I look forward to seeing you again.
Christie: Absolutely, I do too, thanks for the opportunity.