Any client. Any market. Any transaction. Suzanne Koller and Suzanne & Company approach deals skillfully and strategically, armed with broad connections and deep insight into the local marketplace—not unlike the collaborators in Ocean’s Eleven, who were the inspiration for a mini movie starring the team.
“We did a full-fledged video themed on Ocean’s Eleven—’solving the impossible real estate task,'” explains Koller, who leads the team, affiliated with Keller Williams Realty Boston Northwest. “People still find it, and it gives them a really good sense that ‘This team’s different—look how they work together to make things happen for their clients.'”
Like the crew in the film franchise, Koller’s “company” is comprised of 13 women—”it just naturally happened,” she says—who collaborate efficiently to finish “the job,” no matter the odds or setbacks.
“We are a very ‘Keller Williams’ team in a sense that we have a listing team and a buyer’s team, and everyone is focused on their own team and their clients,” Koller says.
Here, Koller discusses leading a successful team, and what she envisions for the future of the group.
Suzanne De Vita: You’re based in Massachusetts, in the Boston-Cambridge region. What are the area’s defining features?
Suzanne Koller: We cover the Route 2 and Route 3 area, from as east as Arlington and all the way out to I-495, in the Acton-Stow area. The heart of our business is in Bedford, Concord and Lexington. The economy drives our region, but there’s also a lot of history with ties to the Revolutionary War. We’re quintessential New England—it’s a beautiful area.
SD: How would you characterize your market today?
SK: Since 2013, it’s been a severe seller’s market. We’ve had a lack of inventory and escalating prices. It’s boomed. Is that going to continue to be the case, or is it going to cool off? We’re trying to figure that out.
SD: As a leader of a new team, you faced growing pains. How did you overcome them?
SK: When I started doing real estate, I loved it—but with a team, I began managing all these people and expenses, and it wasn’t what I was good at. We were having the typical struggles of teams. We started doing a coaching EOS, or Entrepreneurial Operating System—you really peel back your whole business, start from zero and build back up with the right structure, and define who we are and what we’re good at.
SD: You came up with core values, as well…
SK: We worked really hard to define our core values, and they really do speak about the team. Not only has this defined who we are internally and externally, but also, when there’s an issue, we say, ‘Let’s get out our core values, look at this and analyze. This is not in line with our core values and who we are.’ It helps makes things black and white, and not personal.
SD: You’ve got incredible synergy as a team, and you’re showcasing that through video. What’s your strategy?
SK: I started doing video 12-13 years ago, and I’m very comfortable on camera. Video is such a great way to get your message across, whether it’s a professional video for a house or doing a piece about the team. Three years ago, we did a full-fledged video, with a production company, a script and a trailer, themed on Ocean’s Eleven—”solving the impossible real estate task.” People still find it, and it gives them a really good sense that “This team’s different—look how they work together to make things happen for their clients.”
SD: In a similar vein, what’s your approach to social media?
SK: We don’t want to say, “We sold a house.” We share things that are community-minded or funny or interesting, and get people engaged and make it a discussion, rather than a one-way. We try to keep it real. The thing with social media is, everybody always puts up the good stuff, but we also have to be real and say, “Hey, we’re going through a struggle—it’s not always perfect.” It’s about being honest on social media, without being too dramatic.
SD: Finally, what’s next for your team?
SK: We were in that messy stage, but now we’ve got the right people in the right seats, and we really want to expand. I want to have another seven-plus team members in the next couple of years. We want to drastically increase our production, as well—this year is the first time we’ll earn over $100 million in volume. We’re the No. 1 team in my small town of Bedford, and we’ve got great marketshare, but we want to expand on that. I’m always going to be in this role for the foreseeable future, but if I have another strong listing agent, I can spend more time with my builders and my developers, which I’m really interested in.
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.