Greenville’s real estate market is hot (and only getting hotter – especially now that it’s April). Have you ever wondered about the people who make all this selling + buying happen? Today, we’re taking a peek behind the curtain of the thriving industry with a Q+A with Joan Herlong of Joan Herlong & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty.
Q: When did you get started in your career?
A: 1993 – more than 25 years ago. We moved to Greenville because it was a great place to raise a family. It was so different 30 years ago and we never dreamed our kids would move back and raise their families here. Our kids are native, but we know what it feels like to be newcomers.
Q: What makes the Greenville market special?
A: We have all of the benefits of a big city and none of the problems. A long commute is 30 minutes. People who move here (coming from 90-minute commutes) feel like they got a raise and a promotion in terms of quality of life. Plus, 90% of families send kids to public school here. The community commitment to public education is just another reason Greenville is exceptional.
Q: You have a reputation for excellence in GVL. What’s your secret sauce, so to speak?
A: Here’s the thing – there is no secret sauce. So many people in every line of work want to believe most successful people – in any line of work – are lucky or have some sort of secret recipe. There is just no substitute for hard work or doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.
90% of success is showing up – much of the other 10% is returning phone calls every damn day, and everyone in my company is required to do that by the end of the work day.
I work full time. Most realtors do not work full time. That’s a question everyone should feel good about asking their Realtor: How many hours per week are you working? For me, it’s a minimum of 60.
Even one of my kids – when she + her family lived with us for 6 months – told me I work much that I don’t even know I’m working. But it makes me happy. I’m not compulsive or a workaholic, but when you’re lucky enough to enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.
Trust me: a buyer or seller can readily tell when they’re being treated like just another box to check as opposed to someone who is on their side. Several years ago, a client came to me who was working with another agent. I was surprised she was contacting me about selling her house. I said, “I thought you were working with so-and-so.” She said, “You don’t have to like me, but that agent made the mistake of making it clear to me that she didn’t like me.” She was so refreshingly candid – I loved that client. She always cut to the chase, but that’s kind of my style too, so there was nothing not to like!
Q: You guys do a good job of marketing and advertising. How have you seen that side of the business change over the years?
A: One of my mantras is, “You have got to spend some money to make some money.” During the recession, when I had gone out on my own, everyone was tightening their belts on advertising + marketing. I didn’t. I maintained the same commitment. And as a consequence, my business increased during that tough time.
Q: Do you have any advice for upcoming agents?
A: Yeah. Call me. I don’t recruit; every Associate has approached me first. I have two rules for my success – Rule #1: Never tell anybody your second rule.
Q: What might our readers not know about you?
A: I have 11 brothers and sisters. Growing up as the second youngest in a very active family gave me intrinsic training in being assertive and speaking up if I needed to be heard. No one was going to create a “safe space” for a quiet person. You had to speak up or put up. And that’s what has enabled me to be assertive and to get along with people of all stripes and ages.
This content was created in partnership with Joan Herlong & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty.