What are the responsibilities of a real estate professional? These days, the answer isn’t so simple. From designing websites and logos, to blogging and social media, to managing all kinds of software, today’s real estate pros have a wider range of tasks than ever before. Sometimes, with all that extra work, agents lose sight of their most important priority: to grow their business.
I was never going to be the graphic designer: I was going to be the art director.
— VIJA WILLIAMS
But Vija Williams has her eye on the prize. For Vija, the devil isn’t in the details: it’s in the big picture, with every transaction, every interaction, measured against a clear, long-term vision of success. It all starts with an understanding of where your job as an agent begins and ends. “I understood from a very early age and early in my career what my role was always going to be,” Vija explained. “I was never going to be the graphic designer: I was going to be the art director.”
As “art director,” Vija has built an award-winning team in Seattle, with $48 million in sold volume in 2015 (30 percent of it in the high-end and luxury segment). Vija accomplished this not through micromanaging, but by empowering others to find their own ways to achieve her vision. “[My job is] to tell them how I want the needle to be moved forward,” she told us. “What do I want to deliver to the client? What do I want to deliver to our agents? And then it’s their job.”
In addition to her work as an agent and team leader, Vija has also coached dozens of agents to a more methodical and thoughtful business. While every agent is different, most have similar issues in common. “The number one consistent thing when I start coaching…is nobody is really tracking their numbers, nobody’s tracking their financials, and nobody knows how to hire,” Vija told us.
Nevertheless, just because you make a plan and track your results doesn’t mean it’s all set in stone. “My ten-year plan will change,” Vija admitted. “I don’t even know what I don’t know about a decade from now. What I know though, is that I’m building towards something, it’s mapped out…Any north star is better than no north star.”
In this far-reaching interview, Vija Williams offers her tips for building a clear, confident real estate brand, and explains why long-term planning is the best way to achieve short-term success.