As a leader, you need to have clarity on what is going on with your team and your team needs to be clear on the goals/job at hand. You need to commit to helping your team achieve their goals and they need to lean into the standards you have set. It’s important to create community among the team and for the team to feel like they are a part of something.
As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chelsea Musser.
Chelsea Musser is a real estate professional with Southern State Realty Partners, LLC brokered Keller Williams Realty. She’s been a top producing realtor since her first year in real estate and now serves as a teacher, mentor and leader at her brokerage. Chelsea married to the most sarcastic man alive (that is no joke) who is also her business partner and her two daughters are the best little ladies with the loudest screams you will ever meet. Chelsea is also kind of that “crazy plant lady” and loves to have houseplants everywhere.
Chelsea’s work background in fitness and health care has helped shape her passion for helping others, which she gets the pleasure of doing every day in this industry. Her goal every year is to help families with their largest investment and she’s am honored when they hire her to be a part of that process. Chelsea’s team motto is ‘Mission First. People always.’ They’re entrenched in the idea to be better today than yesterday.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
I was hired to be the “behind the scenes” admin for a real estate team when Keller Williams opened a market center in the city I lived in and I fell in love with the industry, but not the sitting in the office from 8am-5pm. I learned quickly that I’m meant to be out and about, and on my feet all day!
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occured to you in your career so far?
I triple booked my husband to show very good friends of ours an awesome home that came on the market with a For Sale By Owner. Long story short, they were supposed to look at it one by one and ended up all looking at the home at the same time. Thankfully, we were all friends and it was no big deal. Though, my husband still hears about the story from our friends and how we apparently do group showings as a team.
Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
Though my husband can carry nearly every bag of groceries out of the car to the house, juggling three showings from three different couples at the same time is not a weight he was prepared for! Just kidding, spacing the time out a little better between couples is a must. Invariably, someone is going to show up late or early.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are constantly creating new ideas and exciting projects- my team’s co-founder, my husband, is an enneagram 7, so all the cool ideas come from him! Right now, our focus is on valuable video content for our past, current and future clients.
Streamlining communication and allowing people to see what you’re about, not just read it, is growing more critical every year.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our team is brokered by Keller Williams Realty, the #1 real estate company in the world, so that makes a huge impact. Being in business with a forward thinking, tech-focused company is paramount in doing business today. More specifically for our team, I believe we stand out because of the sincerity in which we deal with people and the collective knowledge we bring the table. Conversely, I believe we stand out to our partner agents because we care deeply about propping them up. Our hope is to create a team that partner agents and clients feel invested in. That is some of the story behind our logo which incorporates what Alabama offers: Mountain life, City life, and Beach life. We wanted our logo to capture the essence of what we know to be true of this gem of a state. We love it here. It’s a wonderful place to live, work, raise a family, and vacation.
Keller Williams is on the forefront of technology and is essentially leaving most others in their wake when it comes to giving their agents a leg up. Gary Keller personally pledged his own money into keeping the agent relevant in the industry. On a more granular level, our team is constantly thinking and acting on how we can create not just an easier, more efficient way to deal with clients but also creating tech that agents can use to make their businesses better. Stay tuned for the latter!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Yes, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my very first coach and mentor, Chad Hyams. Chad not only coached me to become a top producing real estate agent, he taught me how to be a leader and think like a business owner. Plus, he helped with the stresses of life, kids and marriage. I’m so incredibly grateful for him.
My advice instead of a story would be to go find someone who not only holds you accountable towards your business goals but also motivates you to be a better parent and spouse. I would fill up too many pages with the amount of stories I have from being coached by Chad.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, is a women dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?
This probably requires more of a multifaceted answer and I’m sure my effort at this will fall well short. My best answer would be that I believe that women have been, and are more than, capable of being in leadership roles. I guess to keep this concise, women have to keep showing up and putting in the work. I’ve been fortunate to have a tremendous amount of support through my time in real estate, from both women and men. I’m appreciative of the women before me who’ve broken those glass ceilings already. All I know is that when it’s my time to lead, I need to be ready. I know that whatever success that I have as a women in business is because I’m standing on the shoulders of the women who went before me.
What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?
We have to continue to allow women the opportunity to lead, especially when resumes are equal to or greater than a male counterpart. I think women need to stop having limiting beliefs about their leadership skills. And, I think more women need to be leading by example by way of conferences and coaching to inspire the rest of the women in similar fields.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Given the fact the Lord made male and female different, I believe we need to embrace what each person brings to the table instead resting in previously held assumptions. Women naturally have psychological or physical differences than a man. That overall shouldn’t be limiting. It should be channeled and used to give another perspective. There are some obvious challenges that women face, pregnancy for one. Since, by design, women (not men) birth children…women are confronted with hard realities made even harder when climbing the leadership ladder. Speaking from experience of being blessed with two girls, the caregiver role seems almost automatic. Yet, I’ve married the two competing thoughts in my head: care for our girls and be present in business. Both can be done and women shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting both. Granted, this is different for everyone. Just for me and what I notice, I feel women take a step back after pregnancy. Some decisions are based off of family dynamics and others because they feel somewhat ostracized at work in a way. I don’t have the answers overall, though I do feel strongly that women should keep chasing their goals.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?
-There’s a huge tech push which is making it easier to connect with our clients and potential clients.
-I like that you can carve out a niche
-There are unlimited options to be a business owner in this industry.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry?
-I’m concerned that the flip side of the tech push is creating an impersonal relationship with a client
-I think the industry is too easy to become a part of.
-Good real estate agents that have been running successful business aren’t going to pivot fast enough with technology and will lose their way.
If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
-I would improve training for older agents to stay engaged or implement a great referral program from them to still make money off a long-standing database of past clients.
-I would improve training for new agents (especially the early 20s age range) with what they really need saved up to start a business/become self-employed.
-I would create a training program for onboarding agents into the real estate industry to see where they best fit- example: do they prefer the consistency pay like an admin role or transaction management role would offer, does their personality type have a good fit for a listing agent or would they be a better fit to work with buyers.
I think most brokers do a miserable job at best when bringing a new agent in. Keller Williams is a great example of what to do in this space. They offer a variety of training. Though, it’s still not enough. The reality for most agents is they have no clue what they’re getting into.
What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
Three words- Clarity, Commitment, Community.
As a leader, you need to have clarity on what is going on with your team and your team needs to be clear on the goals/job at hand. You need to commit to helping your team achieve their goals and they need to lean into the standards you have set. Last, it’s important to create community among the team and for the team to feel like they are a part of something.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
Fiduciary relationship, closing cost vs down payment, conflict resolution, timeline from start to finish, and the amount of money you need to get started. You need to know all of these in order to make it in this industry.
If I gave a story for each example then I could write a novel- not a bad idea though.
To start with the first example, most people don’t realize that realtors basically work for free until the transaction closes. On the buying side, the realtor spends time, gas, and also takes on the loads of stressful negotiations without ever getting paid. If the transaction falls apart then realtors don’t get paid at all.
On the listing side, the realtor spends their own money to market the house, photograph and video the house, advertise the house, time to show the house, and gas driving back and forth to the house without ever making a dime until that transaction closes. The industry demands a huge risk and sometimes no reward. It’s not for everyone.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The nature of the question is a utilitarian concept which is hard for me. My best answer would be that we need to act small while thinking big. I’ll leave it up to the politicians to create a plan that’s best for all of us. For me, I want to be intentional with the people I deal with. Whether right or wrong, I’m emotionally invested in the people I’m doing business with. I embrace that and believe it makes me good at my job. I care about people and I care about being kind.
How can our readers follow you online?
Facebook: LiveInAL or MusserRealEstateKW
YouTube: Southern State Realty Partners LLC
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/company/liveinal/
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!