On March 13, 2020, when North Carolina shut down due to COVID restrictions, Gretchen Coley cried for a week. The pandemic had remarkably changed everything, and the business she had worked so hard to build felt like it was being ripped out from under her.
In this moment she had two choices: dwell on what could go wrong or hit the gas. For Gretchen, the answer was a no brainer: she was moving forward full speed ahead.
“We’re not changing a thing,” she decided. “We are going in. In fact, we are going to go way deeper. We're going to go deeper with our partners. We're going to go deeper with our alliances and we are going to market like nobody's business.”
Within just 7 days, Gretchen’s team shifted to virtual showings, listing appointments and a virtual buyer process. With the help of Curaytor, her team set up web pages and ran ads. Gretchen’s business — and marketing — was firing on all cylinders.
Gretchen Coley is one of the best listing agents in the country. With 20 years of experience in the real estate industry, she’s a top-producing agent in the Raleigh, NC market. Gretchen has been featured in mainstream media and has closed over 800 transactions for over $250 million in volume.
There are three things Gretchen loves: marketing, homes and people. About 5 years ago, she made the transition into residential real estate and put the pedal to the metal, leading to years of 100% to 200% growth through digital marketing combined with stellar client service.
Committed to investing in marketing that represents her brand the right way through social media, content and video marketing, Gretchen decided to join Curaytor and hasn’t looked back since.
Doubling your business every year is no easy feat, but Gretchen knows it’s all about having the right people in the right place to service clients properly and investing in the coaching and development of your team.
According to Gretchen, “You can't bring people without prospects and you can't have all the prospects without the people.” Through her partnership with Curaytor, she is able to accomplish both.
We interviewed Gretchen about her experience as a Curaytor client and asked her what it takes to be an exceptional listing agent while also running a top team that stands out. Here’s what she had to say.
Why She Loves Curaytor
Q: What was it about Curaytor’s messaging that attracted someone like you?
Curaytor says to people: ‘Let's partner together. You give us six months and we are going to earn your business.’ And I'll tell you, they do earn your business, and they give you a lot more than they get in return. If you really want to be able to have a web partner, Curaytor is a great brand for you.
Q: Why did you feel that making the investment in Curaytor was the right decision for you?
#1. The marketing. I saw an ad on Facebook about the success of another agent and was inspired by it. I thought to myself, if she can do it, I can do it - so I gave Curaytor a call.
#2. The platform. It’s beautiful, engaging and has great capabilities. In this business, being agile is really important so I liked that the platform was so easy [to manage and update] without having to depend on you guys all the time.
#3. The people. I've loved everyone that I've worked with at Curaytor. The staff bends over backwards to help us. I want what I want when I want it and you guys deliver day after day.
Q: What have you learned by being a client that has surprised you about Curaytor after you came on board and got set up?
Before becoming a Curaytor client, I didn’t really know how invested you guys are in your clients through training and coaching. Most of the time when you buy a website, they set it up and they're gone. With Curaytor, it’s ongoing.
Curaytor is growing, evolving, learning, launching Accelerator; all of the things that you’re working on says a lot about this company. Curaytor is growing and I want to grow. So why not grow together and leverage each other?
Q: What's your advice for someone who is thinking about partnering with Curaytor?
I would say start. Just do it. It all starts with having a really good brand and website because everything leads back to that, so get a digital presence and get it today. Get in the pipeline to get your website up and going. You can't function without it and you will not regret it.
Curaytor is one check that I do not mind writing every month. In fact, I kind of giggle a little bit, cause I think it's pretty inexpensive for what I'm getting.
Expert Advice for Other Agents
Q: What is your advice around bringing in A+ talent?
The number one thing I'll look for when hiring is a hard work ethic and an understanding that this business is a lifestyle. It is not a career. It is not a job. It intermingles in every single thing that you do. So if you're not willing to answer the phone at nine o'clock at night or ten o'clock at night, it's probably not for you.
We want team players and expect an all hands on deck approach. In our team, if someone's struggling over here, we expect that there's somebody who's going to step in and help pick up the pieces.
Q: How do you improve the individual performance of your agents?
I give them the tools that they need but my team also gives them the time that they need. I think in real estate and any entrepreneurship, the accountability piece is usually what's missing, so we invest in coaching, training and strategic planning so that we can figure out what each person's needs are and how we can help them build accountability in achieving those needs.
Once we bring somebody on, we don't want them to leave. We want to continue to invest. And as agents we're always growing, we're always improving.
Q: How do you think about retention in terms of making sure you're actually keeping people onboard and happy, engaged and productive?
The biggest thing is that I really just pour into them. People are always going to leave but I try to set up my compensation plans to pay out really well on an agent's sphere of influence and allow them to grow that sphere of influence under my brand. I want to partner with them and I say that in every aspect of the word.
I want to get paid on the leads I generate and I want them to get paid really well on the leads that they bring in.
Q: What would be a sure sign of a bad leader?
Lack of focus and consistency. You’ve got to show up every day, all the time.
I am not the best leader but I'm doing the best I can do with the talents that I have. It’s important to be consistent in your approach and making sure that when your team needs you, you're there.
Q: What do you think are some words that people would use to describe your brand?
Luxury, Concierge Service, Premium Exposure, Refined, Consistent.
I really tried to build a consistent presence that reflected who I wanted to attract because at the end of the day, we all want to work with people we like and it makes things a lot more fun.
Q: What would you say to an agent who is reading this right now who says I do want to specialize, but what about the business that I'm giving up?
I have a motto: you must sell to the masses, not the classes. Luxury, to me, is an experience and everybody wants to experience something that's premium that feels good where they know they're going to be taken care of.
You can still do everything, but you want to attract people who are like you; who are going to have the same values and they're going to want the same things as what you can deliver, and you have to tell the consumer what that is.
Q: Lead generation, social media, running advertising campaigns and investing in your brand all bring in inbound leads for your sales teams to follow up with, but when you think about marketing a listing, how do you present yourself to a homeowner?
I start from scratch and say, ‘Here's what other agents are going to say they do. And here’s why everybody can do that. Let me share with you what we do differently and how we're going to get your house in front of only the people who are ready, willing, and able to buy it and are looking in your area.
And then at that point it's game over. At the end of the day, I have to sell myself, my team, my marketing and my branding, because that seller will never know if I'm going to be able to sell their house if I don't do that.
It really is all about the digital strategy and how we specifically target with Curaytor’s help to get our listings in front of people who are looking.