Seth Williams – Boston Agent Magazine
What was your most interesting job before you started in real estate? I was a manager at Best Buy, running all of Boston, then transitioning to a regional sales manager role covering northern and western New York, the Hudson Valley, and Connecticut, while doing real estate every weekend.
Where did you grow up? Lynn, MA
Growing up, what did you want to be? I always wanted to run my own business and always found ways to make money on the side. I’ve been working since I was 13!
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I have always been drawn to water/the ocean. My family and I used to boat a lot as a kid so I grew up doing water sports and now I just like to get out on the ocean when I can which is not enough! We live in Winthrop, MA, right on the water. It’s so nice to relax and be near the beach.
If you could meet one well-known personality (living or not), who would it be and why? I think I’d like to sit down for an hour and chat with Tom Brady. Typical, I know. Between his relentless, relentless pursuit of perfection, his knowledge of business, his ability to know and play the game. We all know he’s obsessed with football, and I’m obsessed with real estate.
What’s Boston’s best kept secret? I would say Winthrop – east of East Boston. Few people go there or really know what it has to offer. It’s where I live, I invest heavily in it, and many of my clients looking in the immediate Boston area call it home. So while it’s not the city of Boston, it’s one of its best kept secrets. With city views in half the town, ocean on all sides, beaches, restaurants, it’s really gentrified. It’s awesome to watch.
What do you like the most in the industry? I got into real estate because I love it. I want to excel at it. I find that most agents don’t take it seriously or do it full time. When I wanted to buy in the area, I was mistreated, forgotten, etc. I enjoy building long-term relationships with clients and helping them make the most important (or one of the most important) financial decisions they will ever make. Our team knows the houses well and guides our clients to make the best decision for them. I can’t even tell you how many homes I’ve talked to clients about. I also like that every day is a new day in real estate, with a new challenge, a new success. Just when you think you’ve learned it all or seen it all, something new happens that challenges you. It’s amazing to constantly stay in a learning environment. I also enjoy building a team and helping them succeed. It’s flourishing everywhere.
How do you stand out from the crowd of agents? We really want to be the general contractor for everything related to the sale of homes. Moving is so stressful. The last thing a customer needs is a more stressful experience because of the agent/team helping them. It doesn’t matter if they need touch-up paint, new counters, a mover, borrow my truck, whatever. We will do everything to help them. I think a lot of agents also struggle with setting expectations with their clients. As we have full time staff behind us and use a ton of technology, we are able to be in constant communication with them and just be available. We use video wherever possible in order to display properties and tell the story of everything we sell. So between a unique blend of concierge service and amazing marketing, I think that’s all that stands out.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? For me, it’s about staying one step ahead of the customer experience. As you get busier and busier in real estate, it’s easy to let things slip through the cracks. If customers call us, it’s because we haven’t called them to give them an update. When this happens, which is rare, it makes me cringe. I know we dropped the ball, although it might be minor. It’s so important to do everything we say we’re going to do and to make the experience as smooth and relaxed as possible. Another difficult thing is telling clients that they didn’t get the home they really, really wanted. It’s heartbreaking to do.
What’s your best tip for generating new leads? Nothing is easy ! To do work. Most new agents spend money online or send cards, all of which take MONTHS to generate a profit, sometimes 9-18 months! Most Agents will also give up too quickly before seeing the reward. Stay focused on the “heavy” tasks that will bring the most rewards in a short time. This could be your immediate sphere of influencers, friends, family, etc. So many new agents are afraid to say anything, but they have to! These people are your friends and family. If they don’t support you, how do you expect strangers to?
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Starting a team, and now our brokerage. My first year in the market (full time), I took over market share in my hometown. I didn’t even live there at the time (2014)! I’m really proud of it. Becoming a trusted advisor to a new community is no small feat. The second year, we maintained our grip and increased our market share while growing our business. Now it’s on to other communities that need our help and deserve a better experience when buying and selling.
What have you been watching/reading/listening to lately? I think my wife Jennifer and I have seen every show possible. We just watched “Mayor of Kingstown” which was fantastic. I always read different business books, listen to podcasts, etc. I don’t waste time learning. Never stop trying to learn new things.
What’s your favorite meal in Boston? My wife and I love a great steak at Del Frisco’s in the Seaport. The view is great, the staff are wonderful and when we go out it’s usually there. We recently went to Contessa which was great too. At Del Frisco, fall for the Wagyu, it’s madness!
Architecturally, what is your favorite building in Boston? Wow, that’s tough…I’ll stick to the buildings I’ve sold. I sold a unit at 21 Beacon, which is the old Bellevue Hotel. The roof terrace there is simply amazing and overlooks the State House. Other than that, the Converse building on Lovejoy Wharf is one of my favorites. It was such a dilapidated building that it was completely renovated. I’m also a sucker for any old industrial building turned into housing in a shipyard.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you at work? Recently I had to sell a house I had never been in, and when I first showed it was on a short open house, and the tenant stayed in the property with his giant dog. I’m still incredibly surprised at how many people want to stay home while you try to sell their property. They always end up doing something weird. This is the most PG story I have.
What is one thing people are surprised to learn about you? Growing up I was a competitive wakeboarder, which usually surprises people. I’m old now, but I can probably still get a ride or two!
What is your favorite vacation spot and why? My wife and I love taking our daughter, Kennedy, to Florida for short trips to Sarasota/Siesta Key Beach. It’s one of the best beaches in North America and a quick steal. Two to three days with the family can really be a recharge. Any place where you can have an amazing breakfast, relax in good weather, go to the beach or have an espresso martini at 9am is where I want to spend a few days.
In 10 words or less, what advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry? Show up, work hard, and never stop prospecting for business.
What’s your favorite real estate app for iPhone/Android? Slack or Calendly. It’s easy to stay in communication and easy for people to book appointments without the five-times back and forth on people’s availability.
Who are your favorite people to follow on social media? Tim Grover. I like some of his take on winning, hard work and entrepreneurship. Real estate coach Tom Ferry always has good stuff too. I also like to watch what the other agents are doing there. You always have to stay ahead.