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Susan Gregory Real Estate Agent of the Month

Susan Gregory

The Clean-Up Kid

By Elizabeth Morse

A Nashville native, Susan Gregory of PARKS Realty has watched the city evolve over the years, developing into the thriving metropolitan area centered on country music and a strong sense of community. As a REALTOR® involved heavily in the new construction industry, you can certainly say that Gregory has left her mark.

In the mid-90s, Susan Gregory began to realize that her banking career wasn’t fulfilling her potential. Friends, Tony Vaughn and Kris Blanton, in the commercial real estate industry nudged her to get involved. She stepped back from banking and stepped forward into a position with Crye-Leike working in their relocation department, which created a foundation for her real estate career.

Jim Dehart, an agent at Crye-Leike, set up a meeting between Gregory and the sales manager of Zaring Homes. “I met with him and afterward sent a handwritten note thanking him for the time and opportunity,” Gregory says. “When I didn’t hear back, I left a voicemail. After a handful of cards and phone calls, I left one last voicemail thanking him again and telling him I’d love the opportunity to work with them in the future if a position became available.”

Gregory received a call from the sales manager requesting a meeting with Rick Bell, Zaring Home’s president. “I knew it was rare,” she says. “I knew their hiring process included several interviews before you met with Rick and an offer was made. At the meeting, they essentially told me that if I followed up with clients the way I followed up on a potential job opportunity, they knew I would follow up with their clients and wanted me on the team.”

Gregory came onboard full time and quickly made a name for herself as the “clean-up kid,” taking community assignments no one wanted and succeeding. She quickly went through two communities and sold the entire inventory.

With a reputation under her belt, Bell assigned her to Caldwell Estates.

“I was hesitant. I told him I didn’t want it because everyone that went to Caldwell Estates was fired,” Gregory laughs. “Rick told me that if I didn’t go, I was fired.”

So, she went to Caldwell Estates and sold 21 homes in four months. She was on the fast track to success.

Gregory’s success can be summed up with diligence and a certain attitude that she brings to her work. Gregory’s reward for selling out the other communities was Sullivan Farms. She sold 110 houses that year.

“I still remember, after a Bob Schultz sales training class, I was working at Sullivan Farms with a fellow colleague, Christy Scott. One weekend, we decided to implement what we had learned. Our approach was to ‘ask everyone that came into the model if they want to buy a house.’ By the third contract, we thought it was working. Around the fifth or sixth contract, we high-fived. We were in the middle of the ninth contract and nearing the end of the weekend, when a couple showed up interested in the property. We ended up writing up that 10th contract on Sunday night at 9:00 p.m.!

“I have to credit a lot of my early experience to Rick,” she continues. “He certainly became a mentor to me and supported my foundation in the industry.”

Gregory quickly rose to the top – receiving the Top Gun Award for Zaring Homes and Circle of Excellence Award through the local home builders association. Unfortunately, new management came onboard and personal differences led to her departure from Zaring Homes.

Gregory’s quick rise to the top in new construction was noted with several distinctions, including Most Dollar Volume Sold and Most Units Sold. Feeling as though she had learned all that she could in her position, Gregory was ready to tackle the next challenge. She decided to look for the next step in her career at a general real estate brokerage.

Gregory pursued several opportunities, but ended up following friend and mentor, Caye Davis, to Bob Parks Realty in 2000. In this new role, Gregory was allowed to widen the scope of her business to include resale homes. Although, she still maintains an active business in new construction industry.

According to Gregory, the transition of her business wasn’t the easiest. Her doubts were cast aside, however, when she doubled her commission goals in her first year.

“Rick had a motto, ‘As long as you’re selling homes and making money, I’m making money,’ and I think that showcases the kind of mentor he was,” Gregory says. “He encouraged success and recognized the time and energy involved in this business and was glad to reward his sales people for their hard work versus other builders I worked for in the past.”

Bell was an instrumental mentor to Gregory’s early career development. Formerly a teacher, Gregory explains that Bell had a strict way of doing things in the business, but that he taught why it was important to do them that way – a method Gregory appreciated. She also described the invaluable experience and foundation her career working with builders created for her as a REALTOR®.

“I would tell any new agent to work for a builder and sell onsite in the beginning,” she says. “It really gives you a foundation you need as a REALTOR® to be in the trenches and maintain longevity in this business.”

To this day, Gregory still gets a thrill from the rush of completing a sale and a job well done. In the beginning, she admits that her ambition lay in the money and creating a better life for her and her family. As she grew, however, she found joy in helping her clients find the right home for them.

“Buying a house is an incredible financial investment for anyone,” she says. “You have to do your best to foresee potential issues and work to avoid them or resolve them along the way so that it is a smooth transaction for the buyer or seller.”

Outside of work, Gregory admits that she doesn’t have much of a personal life, but that in the rare instances of free time, she enjoys riding horses and taking vacations to the beach.

“With the volume of sales that I do, it’s hard to turn off and disconnect from work,” Gregory says. “Your schedule needs to work around a range of clients. That’s what the job demands to be successful. You need to be flexible.”

Looking ahead, Gregory plans to continue growing her business with a continued focus on new construction sales and resale homes. She is currently representing several custom home builders in the Brentwood, Franklin and Downtown Nashville communities.

“Price eventually sells,” Gregory says. “That’s what Brenda Decker once told me and that has held true over the years. My goal is finding that right price that works for the buyer or seller.”