Shelton Wilder

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Aaron Pfeffer
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Aaron- Hi everyone, welcome to 30 minutes with SpyglassLending. Today, a very special guest. I can't tell her how much I appreciate her being here. This is exciting. Shelton Wilder, CEO of the  Shelton Wilder group at Sotherby's International Realty. She is pretty incredible, she's got a story to tell about how she built her business and we're going to hear what her thoughts are moving forward for her own business and the world of real estate, because obviously what's going on out there is pretty interesting. 

Inflation has pushed these prices up across the board, California is insane with real estate prices and in my neck of the woods. On my side of the fence, obviously, interest rates have spiked pretty heavily in the last four to six weeks. So kind of a perfect storm happening all at once. Shelton, welcome to the show. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for being here 

Shelton- Thank you, I appreciate it Aaron. Thanks for asking me. 

A- Absolutely, let's start with this, I'm going to want to start with this right off the bat. Los Angeles born and bred or are you a transplant from somewhere else? 

S- Oh no, no, no, not with this accent. I am from Charlotte NC, well actually a little town in Charlotte  called Gastonia, and so I came here a little over 15 years ago and I moved here to start my own business.  It was a luxury lifestyle management company where I shopped and styled and planned parties and did  all these fun things. So that's why I moved out here, to start a clothing line and I was featured on  Shark Tank with that so, yeah. And then I got into real estate with my license only about 6 1/2 years.  

A- OK, wow! Yeah, why the pivot by the way, what made you jump? 

S- Well the pivot was kind of, I had a big a-ha moment with my husband Clark and he was just like, ‘well we're done with shimmy! You're finished, no more slips!’ I was like ‘OK!’ You know, owning a business-like, where you’re manufacturing things, it's kind of like you pay to work in the beginning and so that's what I kept on doing. And you know, it was a great business, it's an amazing product. I still wear it every day. Basically, Kim Kardashian has the brand now it's called Skims, the same thing! But anyway, I just kind of stopped that. I had one child and then I decided, OK, this is the big moment for me, what do I  want to do? And I was praying and journaling and writing. I was a fashion stylist and I ran a store and  I was like, what did I love the most about doing that? And it was being with people! I mean, a clothing line is very lonely actually.  You're shipping boxes, I mean, it's not like real estate - always very glamorous - but at least you get to talk to people and I like having a lot of people around, so I just came up with the click and it was real estate, and then I just kind of went full-on. So really, I’m a people person. What am I doing behind the scenes? Here is the best industry I could go out there and make a name for myself and real estate was where it's at.  

A- Obviously in California and it just really lends itself for that right? Just to be able to go out there and become that person, and like you said you've only been doing it a little over six years but already you've built such an empire. Were you with another broker? 

S- Oh yeah, no, no this is my 6th brokerage in six years.  

A- Can you quickly name off where you stand where you started.  

S- It's very crazy! So I'll say one more thing though. So what I think is really different about what I built here is that I came into this whole real estate thing and knew that the was a company that I was gonna 

to be CEO of a company. I'm not gonna sell something and be like well this is it! We're gonna take vacation!  No, it was like everything you make you put it back in. I had so many businesses before, I was a serial entrepreneur and so I knew that you have to invest back in that much and hire people, and you know, do other things. So I think that's a big difference and the way that I saw and also I knew, oh this is great. I knew you had to create a brand so I knew for the other things you have to brand, and you have to have a logo, and you have to have an Instagram, and you have to have a website, and I did all of those things before I even really even made a sale. So a lot of it was you built the understructure even before cashing that first commission check.  

A- You’re like bang, I want the website I want the name, want the brand, I want the logo, build the team. 

S- It was like professional photoshoot, post-professional pictures, put it out there, say it everyday. Say you do this everyday 'cause I had to really shift 'cause I didn't want people to think, ‘gosh this girl is so flakey,  now she's a stylist, now she has a clothing line, now she's doing it, oh what is she doing now?’ And it was like no, move on. I'm not styling. I stopped talking about that at all, I really didn't even start talking about fashion, even though I'm a fashionista, until even recently 'cause I didn't want people to be confused.  But I will say one other thing too, is that I feel like I have been preparing for this career for my whole life because I was in sales my whole life. The day I turned nine I’ve been doing that and so I was styling people and I was seeing people naked in their homes and then this is like seeing people's finances! I mean, it doesn't get more intimate!  

A- Naked, so it's a different form of nudity, but yeah.  

S-  It is, and then like my mentor just says that I'm balls out. I mean, I would just go like, OK this is what we're gonna do and my husband was like, ‘Oh my God!’.  

A- But that works in real estate right I mean, clientele especially love that. That's why they won't work for them. That's who's out there getting it done right.  

S-Have to do it and have to tell what you're doing and be very focused and be one thing. One thing. Not like the other businesses I did, kind of been like, oh I do everything. It's like no, I do one thing so I think that helped. But OK, so, brokerages. I started at Monarch. It was a boutique smaller one in Malibu and they were great and Laura, I still work with, and she's amazing. She helps coach now and then I moved from her to Berkshire Hathaway, 'cause I needed to come back to the Westside, 'cause my children were in preschool and everything so we were at Berkshire Hathaway and Brentwood. Then went to Telus in  Brentwood and then Telus became element, so that wasn't my fault.  

A- That's not on you, that's on them, yeah. 

S- Then I was recruited from compass to leave Douglas Element to go to Compass.  

A- Let's, if you don't mind, maybe we should pause there and just give a quick overview of Compass. I  mean, who are they how to become such behemoths and how they convince someone like yourself even to join them.  

S- Oh well, I hadn't mazing splint and I was three years in. So I was like yes! Yeah, let's try that like, oh cool!  And it worked really well. And they were great and I don't have negative things to say about anybody ever. But it was a little over two years and I was, you know, approached by my Sotheby's and so then I moved on Sotheby's. It has an incredible international presence and such an amazing brand, 

very classic, timeless kind of how I'd like to see my branding as well-where I'm gonna stay till the end of time like hopefully you know ,I my plan is to do this so I'm 100. I am also Capricorn like Betty White. I  wanna stay in this forever, like I'll be with my walker like what are we gonna say today guy? Like,  that's me, but yeah!  

A- And then probably another thing that they would appreciate hearing, Sotheby's is synonymous with luxury, right? I mean they're luxurious and I mean, is that really what you're after? Right,  you wanna be numbered as a luxury real estate agent, is that fair to say? 

S-Yes, luxury, top agent yes! 

A- And so let's sit on that. You were the top, you're in the top 1 1/2% in the country, yes so that's really great and we're the top team in Brentwood Southerbys, and we hit $100 million last year in my fifth year in real estate. We did $100 million in sales. 

A- That's incredible. Was that the goal?  

S- That was the goal and we hit it. I really believe in the manifesting, I have my little book, it's called the boss, write it in there I write my little pads, I stick it up there. I look at it exactly what I wanna do and all of the goals and then this year the goals is $200 million or more.  

A- Love it! And how, I mean how do you feel about that number? You're gonna hit that?

S- Yeah I feel really good. So we've already closed over $20 and we have another $17 in escrow so we're above our mark right now.  

A- That's awesome! And let's talk about the Westside Project because you know people I think wanna know synonymous with what is the Westside of Los Angeles. I mean, there's some big pockets right? Brentwood, Santa Monica, Palisades, Venice beach your list told these obviously on your website. Where do you focus on mostly? I mean, you know your home base is Brentwood, is that what you do most of the business or the other pockets? 

S- Well really kind of all around. A lot in Mar Vista actually, that's kind of the hottest neighborhood happening on the Westside. 

A-And how did it become the hottest neighborhood? Can we get into that a little bit?  

S- OK I will tell you what I think about how it became the hottest neighborhood. So it was when they announced in 2017 that they were going to close the Santa Monica airport in 2028, that's when things bumped up. It was crazy ,you know, like there was nothing over $2 million in sales and then everything started climbing, climbing, climbing. So that's what I believe and now their sales all the time over$ 5 million,  which is, I mean, and it's just such a central location. It's close to get to you know, you're right in Venice,  you're close to the beach thing, you're close to the airport, you can go to Beverly Hills. I mean it's very central. Then my other, obviously you know, favorite neighborhood is Brentwood where I live,  where we work, right here in the Southerbys office. And I love it and I think it's super central and I lived in Sunset Park before and loved it. Iit was close to the beach, but it was just kind of there and it was harder to get to. You know, I traveled to Beverly Hills or West Hollywood. I have showings and it was kind of harder to get out of your little bubble. Brentwood is super central, so I love it.


A- And that makes a lot of sense and besides the fact that it's gorgeous over there. Yeah it's a nice place to live. Your team, how did you find everyone and why did you put that specific team together, and do you intend to grow even more? 

S- Oh yes, I love talking about this! So I am the oldest, well actually my stepbrother’s like nine months older, but I always consider myself the oldest, I’m the boss of my five siblings, and you know being from  North Carolina, and I love having a lot of people around. I said that before, I love a team, a big group and from the beginning from day one. I love that I like the energy I like the people I feel. Like I'm really great at being able to get the right personalities and it all comes together. And so my second year I started a team. Like I didn't even have an assistant, I was like ‘hey let's be a team!’ You know? And so that's how it kind of started. 

A- So where did you find the first part of your team? 

S- OK so she was also at Douglas Elliman and she had left someone that she was working with. and that you know, then she was kind of open and she kind of approached me and I said ‘oh I'm kind of starting a team’. So we got along and it was really great and that's kind of how we how I started. And then  I got another person on my team and I kind of found her. They're like a women's networking thing. I said  ‘Oh my God, you're so cute, and so thank you right now!’. It just happened that way and I haven't really ever recruited anyone. Everyone just kind of came to me and then like oh what are you doing?  Because I'm very out there on social media. I am very positive and position my things. I said it on Shark Tank, say it  for the rest of my life -  ‘I made up that word when I was 21 working at capital in Charlotte and I'm like  positron!’ And I just kind of I just put that energy out that way and that's how people have found me so far. And huge news, is I just hired COO, Forrest! I'm so excited so I'm really thankful. It's very big deal and he's incredible. And so we're being to kind of get the infrastructure in even more of a  business to keep that growing and moving up. So then I can be able to take the business to the next level,  to be able to recruit it because it was getting so I have five people on my team, and then I have social media, I have full-time assistant, I have force! I have, you know, it's a big group of us and even I hired a  PR /she's kind of helping us develop a show. So that's very exciting too! so I have it.  

A- Well we're gonna have to talk about that.  

S- Yeah we'll talk about that, so yes! That's where I wanted to build, and so that's where I feel like I'm a little bit different than possibly other teams or other people in real estate.  That, like I said from the beginning, everything we make we just funnel it back into the business. It's not like  vacation time, it's like OK, how can we keep growing? So now that forces are in place, then we are able to bring on new team members and offer a lot more to them because they're not always just coming to me,  they can come to him. 

A- How big do you want this team to get? 

S- Oh I wanna have 10 by the end of the year . 

A- 10 agents. so right now you were five agents and you want ten by the end of the year. At the  end of the year, double the volume, double the size in the team right off the bat! OK and you're talking  about what? Tell us about the show that you're doing.


S- Well we're working on the show being different than maybe what's out there a little bit,  not I mean, they're all great shows that are happening, but kind of showing a more of like the team dynamic versus maybe agents fighting with each other - like upset with each other that's not a problem. Yeah well because there's so much drama in real estate that happens already, the emotions, and it doesn't have to be creative because it's already there, the emotions of I mean. Look at the bidding wars happening right now. Look at people so stressed not being able to find a home, get in a home listing, a  home the property prep, all of the things that go into the behind the scenes of getting a house ready,  what it takes, how we do the buyer tours, and talk about how you're purchasing a home and all the off market. All those other kinds of things. So it doesn't because we don't have any fighting within the team. It's not allowed, that's already happened.  

A- There's enough of that going on outside of the team.  

S- And I'm very different. I mean, I like to be like the Dolly Parton of real estate, Miss Congeniality. You know, I wanna get along with everyone. I send presents to all the agents, we send a gift card  when we open escrow copies for close, or I mean we really wanna make everybody feel so good and  so happy. Each transaction can be more of a love fest, it doesn't have to be this fighting. I don't  know where that came from, that I just bring kind of my southern charm, I called Southern California charm, we've kind of slipped it in where it doesn't have to be a fight. I mean, we're all trying to do  the same thing. We're trying to get the same thing accomplished so I just have a different way of looking at it I guess.  

A- Who's handling the production? Are you self-producing this or are you trying to sell the show or if you already sold the show? 

S- Oh no, so I had a show come up before on HDTV and then it was like, did it make it all the way  through? And so Carrie Ann's working with me and the whole team on it and so if there’s more to come I'll let  you know.

A- We're gonna circle back to something else you said. We're gonna change here for a second.  Networking, you had found somebody on your team from a women's networking group. Now how  often are you out there networking and how challenging was it during the last years of essentially  lockdown? I mean we're all coming out of our shell, yet again thankfully Omicron is passing, and hopefully we're all out there having a great time and shaking hands and do what we gotta do with the dog and pony show. But you know, how often were you networking and even through Covid, how were you networking?  

S- OK so I'll let you know that first thing is about six months ago I started my own agent networking  group. So it's like a private group that I started that I have met once a month and it's been incredible. So many transactions have gotten started from their agents getting to know each other. I have a full spread of food at this great restaurant and it's just been super fun. I love giving back that way. That's very like my southern hospitality kind of thing and keeping those agents as friends because we're colleagues We need to work together. Clients are super important obviously, but the agents are where you can find off markets and get deals done together. And you have to get along, and I wanna stay in this  fo,r like I said, 50 more years or even longer than that 'cause I'm 43. So I mean, I wanna be doing  this for 60 years. So yeah, we have to get along and work together. So that networking has been incredible and I just like brought it back before. I just said we're doing this and it's outside and it's great 

at a restaurant. And then a lot of things that were done during COVID where you would do a lot of buyer representation and buyer meetings, where you’d go over the contract and meet each other on Zoom. (Zoom was huge and Zoom is still here to stay.) Like we can meet in person with my team a lot but we  also can get together on Zoom meetings if it's something quick we just need to go through. So that was an incredible part. Then I, even during COVID, started my own course - the Wilder side of real estate. So that's kinda or what are the wild ways of real estate. And so I had about 45 students that came in and did that course. So that was how I was able to keep in touch with more  people or even around the country. So we were very active doing that. I am so excited that I left  face to face. I mean look at us now, we're right here on this awesome streaming that you found. That is so cool that it puts it out everywhere, genius! So yeah, obviously I'm very interested  in meeting up with people face to face but there's so many ways to do things now. 

A- Let's talk about those two courses. So there were these Evergreen that you essentially put together. They live online and people can come on there, and then you show up with you and where you do it. You were doing live courses which have those? 

S- It was a Evergreen course that is still up and I'll be able to give you all the links that you can post  about it. And so we're kind of in the process of revamping the Evergreen course to bring  things maybe even more up to speed from where they were. But yeah, it was great 'cause I had my, you  know, I have a professional videographer, I have my team, I have everybody come and we put the whole thing  together. And we were able to put the course out. And then once a week when you join the course - we did  it two different times - I would have weekly calls. So I was kind of like the coach. We had weekly calls  and it was really fun and people seem to get a lot out of it so yeah it's exciting.  

A- And you mentioned across the country. So 40-45 people showing up, I mean not just here in California. They were everywhere all around. 

S- It was friends, and they met each other and gave tips and talked about what was working, where they  were, like somewhere in Charlotte and some in Oregon. I mean, it was all over. So it was really kind of fun to share that and I'd love to keep doing that as well 'cause I think it's fun to give back. And also you know when you start as an agent, it's so terrifying. You're like ‘what is happening?I I've no clue what I'm doing’. You're like yeah there's memes all the time. Like the broke agent toxic, you know. It's like, I have my license, what do I do?Like your head explodes 'cause it's like basically being an  agent - you have like 100 hats that you wear. You're a marketer. You know that's why I went  to Georgia University of Georgia and I graduated with business marketing and that was where I have that background. So I  don't know. I just always think of marketing but it's like  managing a marketing agency. It's kind of what the team is like as well. And its constant, there's so many hats, neverending 

A- I mean let's talk about that because your marketing is fantastic. I mean, that is such a big part of who  you are, your persona, the group you've created. I mean, your website is phenomenal. It's one  of the best I've ever seen, really. Say that for any agent for anybody in our business. Certainly I  mean, you have a social media presence of following you're constantly putting out content. And let's  talk about that a little bit. I mean, what does it take to really do that. A PR individual and somebody  running your social media now and they did all this data structure in there, I mean, I think you have  somewhere around 40,000 Instagram followers - massive number obviously. I don't know what you intend 

to grow that too, but let's talk a little bit about what you have to go through daily and weekly just  to make it.

S- I mean that's like a full-time job. I mean, Natalie tells me, she's here now, it's a constant force. She has come with ideas, Christie has ideas, we're always running around. Now we're trying to grow TikTok. That's like a whole other animal and I'm trying to do it.  

A- You put your hands on your head like, are you enjoying this? 

S- She hasn't made me dance yet! I hope I don't have to dance whole thing!I like my whole page which just shut down and be like you're off, you're too old, you know. But I really don't wanna have to do that. But I think the one thing that I like is, people that know this about me, but it's kind of a strange thing that I did some stand up for a time. I did improv, not ever because I wanted to be an actress or anything, I never wanna act in Los Angeles. 

A- In North Carolina as well? Or back in Georgia? They don't know that that world is different, they don't know the shell while they're down I'm sure. 

S- No, no, and so I was just like, I just did it just see if I could do it. You know, sometimes I just wanna challenge myself. Like you know I'm sober, there's no drinking,  I'm like, I got it, let me try to sing I can kinda stress myself out with, and so push yourself. And so I did that. I want people sometimes to see more of a fun side of me, so you know we have funny skits sometimes and I think those are good. And we're starting a new little series called Shelton Says. It's gonna be short little tips about real estate, like for example right now, let me just give all of your watchers a  little tip right now. So in this market, sellers are like ‘where is my crown?’ Here OK, I have a crown and they are the king and queens, they are in charge. So when you go to an open house and the listing agent there, they are in charge. Say, yes hi how are you? Lovely. Be so nice, do not say one negative thing about the house ever. Don't talk about it, don't ask questions, just tell them you love it. Don't talk about the house when you're outside because there's cameras watching everywhere now with the ring cameras. A lovely wave goodbye, call your agent in the car - like get out of there - don't say one bad thing. I mean, it's  just kind of some common knowledge that I just try to teach people and I even have this whole buyers guide and sellers guide with all these videos and everything that totally talks about the whole process of buying and selling within these little videos that we send over. I try to be so proactive and helpful to my clients so they have the scoop on what to do. So I'm starting that little series, which I think should be fun on TikTok, but we'll see how it goes.  

A- Education is right! I mean, location, location, location used to be the monitor in real estate.  Now it's education, education, education right? Put out the content, educate all the time where there's  other agents; whether it's the buyers and sellers, your clients, whoever it may be. And you seem to have picked up on this tremendously and all the credit in the world to you and it's working. I gotta assume businesses are coming your way because of it, right? I mean you hit that $100 million or we'll hit that  $200,000,000 this year and a big part of that has to be the content that you're putting out.  

S- I mean over 95% of my business is referrals, so I don't do these like this big push out like with the mailers and like door knocking, and other people, which I'd love to you know to expand into that with like other agents, but my business has been referrals from people I've worked with. And I have this other  tip I'll tell you about what I do, and this is part of my southern who I am. I can't show up anywhere 

without a present, like I have presents every time I meet a buyer, see a seller, host presents, end present.s I  literally have an entire agent, I mean assistant, Katie she's a gifting assistant. Her entire job is gifts. And we send gifts. We do home anniversaries every single year, so if you bought a house from  me, we will  be sending it out. When I was giving birth to my second son Lane and we were closing escrow, I brought my eight day old baby, my 2 year old, my nanny and my husband to the final walkthrough. So she's about to get her 6th anniversary home-a-versary present this next week. so we will stay up with that. And then also giving the gifts for holidays, and then I throw this insane, we did it last  year for the first time, this insanely huge, it was called the Wilder Winter Wonderland. We brought in  snow and we had a wedding, yeah, it was so cool 

A- It was amazing! Tell us more, get into it.  

S- It's very fun. It was literally a festival. I felt like I was like Kim Kardashian, you know and then I was like,  ‘Oh well, maybe it'll be your birthday party’.  I was like, I will throw that in, but don't ever think this is really  for you because I never do this. Anyway, over 300 people came. It was so fun and for some people that was the first time they ever saw snow, for their child or their baby it was like so fun. I love  giving back. I love doing fun things. Nobody had to pay a dollar or do anything. They just had to show up and we  had fun things for them to do and just a fun experience. My favorite quote, and I hope I won't watch it,  but it was Betty White and it said “my job is getting along with people so that I can have fun it's just that  simple”. So that's with other agents, that's with my clients, that's with my team. I really just want to have fun and enjoy. I'm very extra and I love being very extra. My closing gifts are so over the top, all of the things 'cause it's important. It's like you need to show gratitude and respect for somebody. There's so many agents out there. People can get so so many different agents, so you want to show that you show your gratitude to them. Oh and then if you show all these different things, yeah that's and it.  

A-And it shines through and it's coming through today. Well I mean, we we have hit our 30 minute mark. I  could sit here for hours but that's how fast it goes, right? And I appreciate it, I got a million more questions but our time is up. This self described Dolly Parton of real estate, thank you, thank you very  much for joining us today. This was awesome. This is a lot of fun, I truly appreciate it. Love to have you back again but good luck hitting that $200 million mark this year. Don't think you need that luck at all. Something tells me you're gonna surpass that number, so thank you for coming on today. I really appreciate your time.  

S-Can't wait to come back. Thanks for having me. Take care.

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