Twenty-three years ago, Michelle Gurrera was a successful dental hygienist preparing to put her house on the market. But after discussing the process with a Realtor, she thought to herself, “I can do that!” And with the self-confidence of a true go-getter, she began her new life as a real estate professional.
Today, Michelle leads a team and works within Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage based in eastern North Carolina. She’s advertised her business in N2 publications for more than a decade and credits these consistent placements for helping to build her reputation as a knowledgeable agent who is deeply involved in the communities she serves.
“I do get calls where people specifically mention having seen me in N2, especially for my listing leads,” Michelle said. “Sometimes they’ll have family and friends in town who are interested in buying, see my ad and recognize I’m familiar with that area.”
And knowledge of a particular neighborhood is key in Michelle’s particular industry. It’s for this reason N2 publications’ hyper-local focus is a great fit for her business.
“People will see your name and hear you talk about the industry. The trust builds before you even meet face-to-face,” Michelle said. “As N2 has expanded into other neighborhoods, it’s helped my business to expand into those communities as well.”
But in speaking with Michelle, you learn quickly it’s not just advertising that keeps her top of mind for buyers and sellers. Her knack for making friends and keeping up relationships set Michelle apart in the highly-competitive coastal real estate industry.
THE VALUE OF RELATIONSHIPS
Michelle is a people person, and not in the generic answer-to-a-job-interview-question kind of way. She truly finds joy in meeting and getting to know others. And that’s a great thing because building personal relationships is a big part of her job.
“[Clients] I work with tend to really enjoy chatting,” Michelle said, “and I love getting to know them as well. They’re really interesting people who’ve lived in different places and have had many different experiences, so learning about them is really fun.”
Even if carrying a conversation comes easily, figuring out where to meet potential clients can often be a struggle for salespeople in any industry. Thanks to her extroverted nature, Michelle is able to gain clients through predictable avenues like networking groups, but also through passions outside of work.
“I swim, I run, I enjoy hot yoga, and I used to do triathlons. I’ve met a lot of really good friends this way,” said Michelle. “They’ve bought houses from me and so have their parents. It’s been good for physical fitness, for my social life, and for my business.”
In discussing Realtor-client relationships, it’s no surprise that trust was quickly mentioned. As a real estate veteran, Michelle knows how important it is for clients to have faith in the knowledge and ability of their agent.
“You have to learn how to speak with everyone,” says Michelle, “with different levels of trust. And it really is hard for me to work with people who don’t seem to trust. I think having the confidence, because I’ve worked in the industry for so long, really helps to build it quickly.”
After more than two decades on the job, and as a business owner, many people now depend on her – a responsibility she does not take lightly. So, in addition to her buyers and sellers, Michelle works hard to keep up relationships with her ever-growing professional network. This includes her very own team members and her assistant, as well as repairmen, mortgage lenders, and more. It also includes advertising partners like N2 Publishing.
As one of N2’s first advertisers, she was introduced to the brand by Duane Hixon, our CEO. That was 12 years ago, and their relationship is still going strong today.
“I met Duane when the company was very small, and I’m glad I decided to commit to advertising,” Michelle said. “I admire Duane a lot for what he’s done and how he runs his business. He makes you want to do more for other people. It makes you want to continue to support him.”
LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE
Looking back, Michelle can clearly see how much she’s grown professionally.
“I started 23 years ago so a lot has changed in that time,” began Michelle. “For example, there may be something you need to be aware of and something that your client should know before deciding to buy a house. I’ll go and investigate more now. When I was newer in the industry, those things didn’t stand out as much.”
Michelle has also learned that being a great Realtor can even mean acting as a life coach.
“I try to help my clients focus on making wise decisions and not necessarily emotional decisions,” she said. “Making the right decisions for them at the time.”
In the end, it’s a heightened awareness for what will make her clients happy that has resulted in great success for Michelle and her team.
“I always try to consider what’s best for the clients,” said Michelle,” and not what’s in my best interest.”