For William Close, a British-born agent and team leader whose career path in the U.S. began in the retail sector, it’s all about exceptional customer service. It’s no surprise, therefore, that his highly successful 21-person team was founded on that simple tenet.
The William Close Group, a part of Keller Williams Metro Center – Old Town Alexandria based in Alexandria, Virginia, serves clients throughout the Old Dominion state as well as in Maryland and the D.C. area. The team’s sales in 2020 soared by 50% year-over-year to $91 million—a record Close expects to rocket past in the months ahead.
“I’m a people-person at heart, and I’m privileged to work in a state-of-the-art brokerage full of talented agents,” said Close. “With the support of our CEO, Shane McCullar, and his staff, my team has blossomed exponentially, and we are on track to beat our personal bests in 2021.”
Close jokes that his name, Will Close, pronounced with a hard “s,” is sometimes read as Close with a soft “s,” a natural lead-in to the phrase, “Will close homes.” It’s the basis for the team’s main website, WillCloseHomes.com.
Barbara Pronin: “Will Close Homes.” A fun play on words and so apt in the real estate space. Tell me a little about your background, Will, and your move from retail to real estate?
Will Close: My dad was a diplomat for the British Embassy, so I’d been back and forth here many times as a kid. I was 19 when I moved here permanently, and retail sales, where I started, was a great training ground. I quickly learned that the key to success is helping clients get what they want. I took that with me when I took up real estate sales in 2011—and I was extraordinarily lucky to have the mentorship of Jim Schaecher at the Keller Williams flagship office in Maryland. Jim’s training is the foundation for my success.
BP: When did you move to KW Metro Center?
WC: In 2016. I wanted to start my team—just three of us then—in Old Towne, Alexandria. It’s a central location from which we can serve a broad clientele from the D.C. area to Fairfax, Prince William, the Loudoun counties in Virginia, and the Prince George and Charles counties in Maryland.
BP: From three team members to 21 in five years is quite an accomplishment. How have you managed that?
WC: In great measure with the help of my junior partner, Catherine Delisle, who’s been with me from the beginning. We share the same passion for excellent service, the same commitment to helping each client find the home of their dreams. That’s the impetus behind our growth. I’d be lost without her—and every recruit we hire must have that same dedication.
BP: What do you look for in a new hire?
WC: Someone who seeks out other people, loves interacting, will work hard to help people achieve their goals—and in doing so, become a top earner. I always have business cards in my pocket, and I give them out freely to people I meet who strike me as having those traits. I know I’m only as good as the agents who work for me. Their success is my success, and so I’m always on the lookout for potential.
BP: How do you work as an integrated team?
WC: We are flexible, we communicate and our clients know that while we are working hard on their behalf, there is always someone here to solve an immediate concern in the event their agent is not available. I’d like to give a shout-out, too, to my assistant, Leia Booher, who joined us at the start of 2020. Her passion for the team and her organizational skills contributed greatly to our success last year.
BP: I know you admire Jim Schaecher and Shane McCullar. What’s your leadership style?
WC: I give my people a lot of latitude and independence, but I like to think I am there for them when they need me. And here again, I’m grateful for Catherine. I’m still a huge soccer fan, and a season ticket holder for the West Ham United—a premier English league. I fly home several times a year to see games and visit family. I can do that because Catherine is here to cover.
BP: Last year was difficult in many ways, but a busy year for real estate as many people were motivated to change their living space. Did that contribute to your record year?
WC: Yes, but only because we adapted and worked smarter. Our team helped 212 clients last year and sold $91 million in real estate—and we’ve set the bar higher this year. Our goal in 2021 is to help 390 clients and do $150 million in sales.
BP: What’s the game plan to help you get there?
WC: I built my team on 100% customer service, and we’re proud that our reviews reflect that. Our growth is largely due to word of mouth, referrals and great agents who never say no when a client tells them what they want.
Barbara Pronin is a contributing editor to RISMedia.