Ashton Gustafson started his "career" working for $10 an hour at his grandparents' real estate business. The next thing he knew he had his license—and he hasn't slept much since. Last year, he ranked second out of 300 agents—just behind his grandparents, who are now his partners. Gustafson manages a team of five licensed sales professionals, who together closed 237 transactions in 2009. He expects to personally close 100 transactions this year, while opening up an office 60 miles down the road. His long-term goal: Reach every major market in Texas by 2020 and every state by 2030. Gustafson is actively involved in strategic planning and governance with his local association. Through his church, he helps at-risk youth get on track.
A Sale Is a Sale
Whatever the sale price, Gustafson treats each deal the same. "They all count toward our goal," he says. "I'm here to serve, I'm looking to get you the best deal if you're selling or buying."
Incorporate Old-School Techniques
Although he uses Web and social media to connect with clients, Gustafson says he also tries to makes 100 phone calls and write 20 handwritten notes every day. "I try to communicate with all my clients personally once a month," he says. "It has been such a huge benefit. They may not buy for another 20 years—or ever again—but if real estate comes up in a conversation, I'm probably in their mind."