Joanna Williams, broker, Better Homes & Gardens® Kansas City Homes, answers ten questions with Clean Slate, and talks about Hemingway’s first wife, real estate agents as her customers, and the consistent pursuit of improvement.
Which of our BHGRE® P.A.I.G.E. (Passion, Authenticity, Innovation, Growth, Excellence) core values do you identify with most, and why?
I would say I identify most with Authenticity and Passion. Over the years, I’ve learned to just be authentic in my dealings with both agents and consumers. It’s simply easier to attain longevity in relationships when you’re authentic from the start. And, of course, there’s Passion. In order to be an effective leader, you must have passion for your industry and your people. I always keep Sam Parker’s motto in mind, “Love your people.”
What are your favorite qualities in a customer?
Being a broker, my customers are my agents. My favorite qualities in agents include passion for their business and the drive to Be Better. Stellar customer service is imperative in this industry. When agents are passionate about their business and reputation, they are able to turn clients into lifelong relationships that help their career continuously grow.
What is the one characteristic that’s helped you the most in your career?
Resilience. Real estate is a fluid industry. If you plan to thrive in it, you must be resilient.
What was the last book you read?
I just finished The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, a novel about Ernest Hemingway (before he was famous) and his first wife. When I read historical novels, I’m struck by the realization of how “noisy” our worlds have become. For instance, Hemingway’s wife, Hadley, spent a lot of her time doing absolutely nothing. She was always available and excited to read his latest writing or any other books she could get her hands on. Today, everything is at our fingertips and it’s almost overwhelming noise coming at us from all directions. Our brains are forced to process at amazing speeds and we have to force ourselves to take breaks from the noise. What a change! Business-wise I’m reading a very interesting book called, Game Changers, about the future of the real estate industry.
If you were not in real estate, what would you be doing?
I love to write. My early days were spent working as a typesetter for a newspaper, which I loved, but I had more fun being creative in the advertising and marketing departments. So I could see myself somewhere in the advertising field.
What was the last song you heard that you couldn’t stop humming?
“Patience” from Guns N’ Roses – I’m trying to perfect my whistling.
Who is your real-life hero?
I have so many, but I’ll spotlight my dad & mom. Dad’s a minister and I grew up in a loving, but pretty strict Christian home. I don’t know how they were able to feed, clothe, and keep track of all of us while giving us values that would forever shape our lives. I’m filled with gratitude for my upbringing.
What is your favorite motto?
My motto “Consistent Pursuit of Improvement” applies to both my work and personal worlds. When we work to improve ourselves, everything else will fall into place.
If you could sell a home in any market in the world, where would it be?
Wow, anywhere in the world? I bet Dubai is a crazy interesting place to sell real estate.
What advice would you give your younger self starting out in real estate?
“Joanna, your discernment will serve you well. Trust it, rely on it. Oh, and take some days off, girl. There’s more to life than work.”