Great Managers: Team Player has Squad on Winning Track

April 1, 2001

Bottom line: In 2000, Matt Williams’ 53 salespeople had a sales volume of more than $100 million, with more than 650 transaction sides closed, despite the fact that inventory was down. Since 1997, when he took over, sales have increased 36 percent.

What’s so hot: “We attract talented people. They’re the key,” Williams says. “I do a lot of recruiting, and I love it.”

Standards: Recruits have to have a full-time commitment to real estate, a professional attitude, and some success in their lives--for example, editor of the yearbook, recognition as an athlete, or excellence in foreign languages--and there has to be some chemistry.

Market: Dutchess County in the Hudson River valley, an exurb of New York City, near West Point and Vassar College. The housing inventory in the market area is low, says Williams. Consumer confidence is good; employment is at 97 percent.

Office: The office includes 53 sales associates, two mortgage professionals, a marketing specialist, a processing manager, and two part-time receptionists. Also, two sales associates use part-time assistants supported by the office.

Claim to fame: “My job is to coach, inspire, and teach,” says Williams. “You can’t encourage people enough. I train good people and create the opportunity for them to be successful. I try to keep an upbeat office with a positive, professional environment.”

Management style: “I stand in the background and let the salespeople shine,” Williams says. He also stresses teamwork; for example, in 1998, while working with his loan officer, he set a goal of 98 loans for that year. Then he devised a team strategy so that the sales associates could assist the mortgage office in making its goal. The office made 110 loans.

Business philosophy: “I have a commitment to real estate sales and to my associates,” says Williams. “I try to learn everything I can about the business. I try to talk with my salespeople in a way that supports them, even if they don’t know it at the time or even like it.”

Management system: “I’m a two-time ‘Sweathogs’ graduate,” Williams says of the courses offered by real estate sales trainer Floyd Wickman. “Sales associates have to be the pilot of their own ship, as I’m the pilot of mine. The customer’s interest comes first, and you get what you give.”

Prospects: The next big thing is the new-home market. The Hudson River valley is becoming prime as New Jersey and Connecticut become overcrowded.

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