Tech Tools, Human Hands

Learn how guest editor Chris Nichols transformed lessons from a mentor into a successful career.

September 18, 2013

“I’ve always been a hard worker, but when I started in this business 10 years ago, I was more of the quiet-guy-in-the-background type,” says Chris Nichols, who visited the magazine’s offices in August as guest editor for our “Best of the Web” issue. “I was lucky to team up with an agent who was a master at the social aspect of this business. When the partnership ended, I realized I needed to put myself out there more. Social media was just emerging, and I thought to myself, I need to be more social, and I’m tech savvy, so this is perfect.”

With his “utahREpro” moniker, Nichols began using social media not to sell real estate per se but to share wisdom about his market and the industry. “It just snowballed,” he says, “and became what it is today.” “What it is” includes speaking at national conferences and being named one of Inman News’ 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders. Meanwhile, Nichols wrote for the magazine’s YPN Lounge blog, graduated from the National Association of REALTORS®’ Leadership Academy, and began volunteering for national committees (he’s current vice chair of the Social Media Advisory Board). For all he has given to the organization, Nichols says he has received far more in return—knowledge, networking opportunities, and most recently, local, state, and national association support for his run for mayor of Orem, Utah, in ­November.

In July 2011, Nichols got his broker’s license and became the managing broker at Prudential Utah Elite Real Estate’s American Fork office. Now he’s sharing the lessons learned from his mentor, broker-owner Bruce Tucker, with the company’s 140-plus agents. He focuses on accountability and market knowledge, with weekly tours and games such as “Last Agent Standing” and “Real Estate Jeopardy.” In a transition period, he says, some agents chose to leave; the company’s per-agent productivity rate increased from 6 to 11 transactions per year.

Still an unabashed tech enthusiast, Nichols sees big data not as a threat (read this issue's feature on the subject) but as an opportunity. “It’s not the data itself that matters; it’s how you apply real-world expertise to it to help clients get the desired result,” he says. “I feel truly blessed every day to help agents and consumers achieve their goals.”

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Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is director of content strategy for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor-in-chief of REALTOR® Magazine. In addition, she oversees the quarterly REALTOR® Association Executive magazine and manages a variety of e-communications for REALTORS® and REALTOR® association executives. She has been with the NAR for more 30 years, starting as an associate editor with Real Estate Today magazine, where she covered sales and finance topics.