BrokerageMarketing

Christy Belt Grossman: ‘There are not many careers where you can impact peoples’ lives the way we do’

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Inman is interviewing office managers. Here’s Christy Belt Grossman, Chief Operating Officer, The Belt Team, Keller Williams Realty.

Have you ever sold real estate? If not, do you have any interest in selling real estate yourself?

LOL. I grew up in a real estate family — in the days when you had your home number on your business cards. Guess who answered the phone?! So I swore I would never be in real estate. And yet here I am about to celebrate 20 awesome years with The Belt Team. I have no interest in selling. I love being the Wizard Behind the Screen. That’s where my talents lie.

What has been the biggest change to your job over the past year?

Gosh, that’s a great question. My job has changed so much every year. That’s why I love it so much. As this past year has gone by, my 20 years of mastery in the role has provided me with some amazing opportunities to teach and to facilitate panels and masterminds — both locally and in other regions.

This has been a highlight. Giving back is important to me, and I foresee doing more of that. The COO is the backbone of any successful business. And I’d like to raise the bar in our industry.

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What sets your brokerage apart? How do you differentiate yourself?

Service and market knowledge. Our clients come first. And our systems allow that to happen. We make sure to follow up after every transaction to see what we could do better. And our clients have been instrumental in forming our systems. We are very proud to have over 100 reviews on Zillow as a result.

And we are market knowledge freaks. We sell more homes in our primary market area than any of 10,000 Realtors in our board. Chances are someone on our team has sold your home or sold your neighbor’s home.

We know and analyze statistics like no one’s business, and armed with that knowledge, plus the volume of homes we sell (approximately $80 million this year), we have a pulse on the market that most agents don’t have. In a shifting market — that’s a huge advantage.

Have you ever managed an office outside the real estate industry? What kind? How did you make the transition to real estate?

Yes, I was the Regional Operations Manager for Chase Manhattan Mortgage and managed seven offices in Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland.

Believe it or not, I left that position to come to real estate so I could have balance in my life! It was a great decision.

How many agents work out of the office you manage? How many brokers?

My team includes nine people: CEO, COO, five agents, our Client Care Manager and my 84-year-old Dad, who is licensed and is our “Belt Team Ambassador.”

At one point, we had 14 people on our team. And we are much more productive with nine.

How many listings does your office manage at any given time (estimate is OK)?

Approximately 25.

Describe your office. What is the floor plan like? What is the decor like? 

We have a fabulous Keller Williams office in McLean, Virginia. I could go on and on about the décor, but it’s the energy you notice when you walk in. It’s super high-energy, uber  productive and very collaborative, with 350-plus agents. Half of our team has offices in the KW office and the other half work from home offices.

What CRM does your office use?

We use Boomtown for lead management. Top Producer for our CRM.

Do you have a live person answer your phones, a messaging service or some other way to manage phone calls?

We all have direct lines that forward to our cell phones. Our advertising number goes to one phone, which is forwarded to the most effective converters on the team. We call it the “Bat Phone.” Our goal is that the Bat Phone is always answered.

Do you have any office manager assistants, or are you doing it all yourself? If so, how many and how do they support you?

I am nothing without my team. The star of the team on the operations side is Patty — my Client Care Manager. She handles everything except negotiations for both our listings and our contract-to-close. Last year, she was mentioned in our online reviews more than any other person on our team. Our clients love her.

Are you involved in the social media strategy? How so? If not, who manages social media for your brokerage?

I am “the voice” of The Belt Team. I manage Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I also write for our blogs and news sites and have been blogging regularly for more than seven years.

 

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Walk us through a day in your life. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office and the last thing you do before you leave? What happens in between?

I work at home, and my day starts the same way each day: prayer time, quick runthrough of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, then watch my “One Thing” video (I created a two-minute video highlighting my “One Thing” in each area of my life (business, health, spiritual, financial, relationships) and put it to music (“I Came To Dance” by Nils Lofgren). It pumps me up and keeps me focused. Check my 4-1-1 (my goal planning sheet).

Then 9 to 11 is time blocked for lead generation or priority projects. (My top 20 percent of activities. This is where I can work “on the business” instead of “in the business.”)

Meetings are scheduled mid-day. And the rest of my 80 percent happens in the afternoon and early evening.

The last thing I do each day is check my 4-1-1 and tomorrow’s priority list. I work until around 7 or 8 p.m. And I look forward to chatting online with my colleagues around the country in the evening and catching up with my various Facebook groups.

I am passionate about learning and find this a great way to connect with the folks performing at the highest levels.

What’s your favorite part of your day? What’s your least favorite part?

My favorite part of the day is seeing leads come in that I’ve generated and — even better– seeing my team succeed in their goals when those buyers and sellers go to closing. I am proud to say that through the first seven months of 2015, I generated $505,000 in closed gross commission income for my team from our database, social media and Internet strategies.

I don’t have a least-favorite part. One thing I always tell new people in our industry is that you have the opportunity to be the architect of your future. Being part of The Belt Team has allowed me to do what I do best and what I like — and leverage the rest. This is not only a bonus for me, but for each member of our team and, more importantly, for our clients. They get an all-star team.

What does lunchtime look like for you — do you leave the office for lunch or eat a brown-bag at your desk?

I take a short break around 11 for a bagel with my husband of 32 years. And then I take another short break in the afternoon to get some of my 10,000 steps in.

The times are very purposeful and coincide with my circadian rhythms. My mind is at its most productive two to four hours after I wake up. And the walking is done at that afternoon time when your body needs energy.

How do you support agents after hours and on weekends?

I am available for emergencies. There are not very many emergencies in real estate. Our team tries to be proactive rather than reactive.

Would you recommend this career to someone else? Why or why not?

Absolutely, yes. I am passionate about what we do. There are not many careers where you can impact peoples’ lives the way we do. We work with people during significant times of stress — sometimes good stress (like having your fifth child) — sometimes bad stress (like losing a spouse or a job). And either way — we can help change their lives for the better. In fact, that’s our Belt Team mission statement: “Changing Lives For The Better.”

On top of that, the opportunity for income and — as we call it at Keller Williams — a “life worth living” is unlimited. I think that’s pretty cool.

If you were forced to work in any industry other than real estate, which would it be and why?

I would plan “trip of a lifetime” trips for people. Of course, I would have to research all the destinations first.

Are you involved in any technology investment decisions?

Yes. All of them. My favorite moment last month was walking out of a meeting with my CEO and a possible new digital marketing vendor — and my CEO saying to me “I’m glad you were here. I had no idea you did all that. I didn’t have a clue what they were even talking about.”

Do agents rely too much on you to handle things?

No. Our agents are very seasoned and excellent problem-solvers. We’ve had lightning strike the night before closing, raccoons in the attic, Secret Service details at walkthroughs — it’s a piece of cake.

That being said, it’s our goal on the operations side to do everything we can for our agents so that all they are doing are income-producing activities.

To what extent do you help with closings?

I direct the money :).

What broker or agent habits drive you crazy?

This doesn’t apply to my agents. But I’d love to see the bar raised on professionalism throughout the industry.

If you had a magic wand that would grant one wish related to your job, what would it be?

Even more ultra-talented people on our team. We fly high and fast. And the more, the merrier.

Are you an office manager who’d like to participate in our profile series? Email amber@inman.com.