A growing number of successful real estate agents are taking their turn at some TV exposure, most likely on a regional reality TV program.
Running for another two weeks on Thursday nights, Coldwell Banker associate broker Chrishena Stanley, along with a small cast of Atlanta agents, can be seen on WeTV’s “Selling It in the ATL” at 10 p.m. EST.
The show centers around seven competitive and opinionated female real estate agents based in Atlanta.
Building a star
A specialist in the city’s luxury condominium market, Stanley was approached to be in “Selling It in the ATL” by fellow Coldwell Banker agent Sarah Lowe.
“She thought I would be ideal and that I might be the missing link,” said Stanley, who had no TV experience apart from internships at MTV and CNN during college.
She had the right real estate credentials, though. Stanley is one of the top sellers for Coldwell Banker and a member of The Million Dollar Club. The Stanley Team has $30 million in sales in 2015, with Stanley’s individual sales volume at $13.4 million. The Stanley team has sold more than 50 condo units over the last year.
And it looks like her company is going to grow. Four episodes into the series, her real estate business has been thrown into the spotlight, and she is now planning a multi-city expansion and a nationwide series of educational workshops to agents, buyers and sellers.
Taking time off to grow
Television is a big commitment, warned Stanley, a telegenic New York native who said the six-part series took four months to film.
“It’s extraordinarily time-consuming,” she said.
The time out to do the show meant she leaned heavily on her staff of five at The Stanley Team, including her mother, Bernice Lattimere, to carry on her business — but it was worth it, said Stanley.
“I have no regrets. I would do it again. It’s been such an amazing experience.”
The series was a great vehicle for showing “strong women Realtors,” said Stanley. And she is proud of her contribution.
“I came across as professional and positive about my business and my clients.”
Stanley is hopeful there will be a second season. So far, the response to the show has been nothing but positive for her, she said.
“More people are coming to me as a credible source of information. I think it will grow my client base — it’s definitely given me more exposure and access to people and it has helped my business,” she said.
Inspiring new agents
One side effect of the media exposure has been in recruiting — agents are wanting to come and work with her. She is also getting approaches from people who have never worked in real estate but are inspired by her.
“We had an overwhelming response on social media of people who want to get into the business,” she said. “They have seen me on the show, seen me negotiate and are wanting to be part of my team or for me to mentor them.”
She cautions other agents looking at doing something similar to ask as many questions as possible about the show to make sure it is the right vehicle for them.
“Know that anything that you put out there is going to be open to the public. You are making yourself vulnerable.
“We are really showing who we are as people and agents.”
Stanley’s tip to other agents looking for some media exposure: “Always be genuine and understand your end goal,” she said.
Moving into new markets
And the Atlanta agent certainly has an end goal. She is using the profile she has built over the series as a springboard for taking her luxury condo business to Miami and to her hometown of New York in the next couple of years.
Stanley’s real estate brand, The Atlantan Lifestyle, will be rolled out to fit Miami, New York and others.
“Miami is the first market that we will go to — it will probably take at least a year to get everything into place, so we will probably open in 2017,” said Stanley. “I think my brand would translate very well there.”
The agent thinks her story of brand expansion could make a whole new reality TV program.
Coldwell Banker has been supportive of her this year, but Stanley is unsure if the relationship will continue as she expands.
“I am figuring that out. Unless they are really willing to acknowledge the benefits of my brand it might make more sense to be independent,” she said.
“We want to build a great boutique brand that is easily understandable in all cities,” she added.
As she grows, Stanley said she might look at a franchise structure to get to all the cities she has her eye on.
“Chicago has a booming condo market. We might be teaming up with people who are already established,” she noted.
How to do it all, too
In response to the show, Stanley is also planning to launch educational workshops across the country next year, addressing all questions she has received from agents, wannabe agents, buyers and sellers.
Initially there will be eight to ten workshops in 2016 in markets where Stanley wants to expand such as Miami and New York.
In workshops for new agents, she wants to give tips on starting out in the real estate industry, how to figure out their personal finances and ride with the punches.
The agent will be creating strategic partnerships with experts in finance, insurance and law for her workshops.
“It’s about creating some realistic expectations,” she said.
“People can’t see that for so many doing awesomely in the market, it easier to make a deal because there are more transactions. But what do you do when times turn tough? You have got to be able to weather the storm.”
Stanley moved to Atlanta in 2007, a tough time in the real estate industry.
“I really had to stay the course and know how to manage my business — how to do short sales, foreclosures, that’s part of the business.”
Her message to new agents: “It can be extraordinarily rewarding, but not every one of your clients is going to close a deal.”