Vitals: Stetson Real Estate
Years in Business: 19
Size: 1 office, 26 agents
Regions Served: Westchester County, Putnam County, Dutchess County, N.Y., and Greenwich/Stamford, Conn.
2018 Sales Volume: $1 million GCI
2018 Transactions: 98
When Mary Stetson founded Stetson Real Estate in Mamaroneck, N.Y., in 2000, her goal was to provide exceptional personal service, innovation, integrity and a unique team approach that would maximize the client experience.
Stetson started her professional career with IBM, where she focused on contract negotiations, a trait she’s put to good use in her real estate business. She also worked at MetLife Investments, where she had her first taste of real estate.
Here, Stetson discusses how she focuses on market trends and client relationships in her dynamic Westchester and lower Connecticut markets.
What’s on your radar when looking at the markets you serve? What’s impacting the industry?
Mary Stetson: In 2019, it’s been the tax law change that’s forcing more of the empty nesters who don’t have kids in this school district to say, “It doesn’t make any sense for me to live here anymore,” and that’s forcing more supply on the market. We’re getting an oversupply, and prices are falling.
How do you maintain profitability as the market fluctuates?
MS: It’s all about talent, which comes down to getting the right people and doing a lot with the few—and focusing on the client relationship. If you keep your eye on those relationships, and continually get referrals from those clients, and each agent is working to their specific maximum capacity, you’re golden no matter what business cycle you’re going through.
What’s the key to a strong client relationship?
MS: You have to advise them well. You have to tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. And you have to have their trust before you can tell them anything. In this market, if you have a weak agent who is a yes-man or a yes-woman, business will fall apart. It gets down to having super agents who are well trained and always giving proper advice. We also have very trustworthy sales support who do more than just answer the phones.
Are there any market segments/niches you’ve recently expanded into, or are considering expanding into?
MS: We follow our clients. We had some clients go into commercial, so we’re now going larger into commercial. We’re bird-dogging properties for assisted living, senior living and self-storage. We’ve always done Main Street retail type of things, but now we’re expanding to more commercial developments. We have a larger relocation group and speak nine languages within the firm now, and one of my more senior agents is delving into the international relocation market.
How do you stay on top of trends and innovations?
MS: I keep an eye out for not only what’s going on in our own industry, but I also take a look at other industries out there and see what they’re doing in sales. I’m business-minded and tech-minded, so I use those insights to better inform our overall strategy. We have the heart of a boutique firm, with the mindset of a Fortune 500.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
MS: I take Thursdays off. That’s my day that I put my personal priorities first, and I’ve done that since the beginning. I have a high trust factor in my organization and a very talented team. I can go on vacation and trust that I’m covered.
Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.