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Front Page - Friday, July 19, 2019

Realtor Batten shares 3 keys to her success


Realtor Paige Batten is a horrible salesperson – or so she says.

“Horrible,” she reiterates, pronouncing the word like it tastes bad. “I don’t like salespeople, so I try to not be like them.”

Salespeople, she says, are focused on making a sale and collecting the paycheck that follows. Batten, 50, concentrates on building relationships with her clients and lets the houses sell themselves.

“I like getting to know my customers. It’s the only way I can truly know what they want.”

A key component of any relationship is honesty, which builds one of the most valuable commodities in real estate – trust. To earn the trust of her clients, Batten is upfront with them, even when that means passing up a sale.

“I’ll talk someone out of buying a home if I feel like it’s not right for them,” she says. “I don’t look at my paycheck; I look at my relationship with my customer and what’s best for them and their family.”

If Batten’s candid nature costs her a commission check, so be it. She says she’d rather lie down at night knowing she didn’t steer a client in a direction she believed would make them unhappy. “If a transaction doesn’t happen, I’m OK with that.”

Convincing Batten there’s a better way for her to do business would be difficult. Her tactics have helped to make her the top residential agent at Premier Property Group, a locally-owned brokerage with a roster of more than 40 Realtors.

Batten also attributes her success to three additional factors: Hiring a mentor, absorbing as much education as possible and working under the right broker.

Batten launched her real estate career in 2015 after staying home for decades to raise four children. She knew she was starting late in the game and would need help getting up to speed, so she connected with a mentor at the outset.

“I wanted to do real estate well and not look back in three years and realize I could’ve done better,” Batten says. “I wanted to learn the systems and be confident in what I do.”

Batten found her mentor when she attended a class at Greater Chattanooga Realtors taught by Nashville Realtor Robert Morris. She says she was so captivated by the subject matter and Morris’ teaching that the two-day, 16-hour seminar flew by.

“It felt like three hours. I soaked it all in,” Batten says.

After the class, Batten asked Morris if he’d coach her. Although Morris lectures nationally and commits less time to one-on-one mentoring than he used to, he agreed to take her on.

“He said he was planning to call me because of the questions I had asked in class,” Batten recalls. “He told me he thought I had what it would take to be a good real estate agent.”

Morris immediately told Batten she’d need to deepen her knowledge base if she were to reach her full potential, so he told her to attend as many classes as should could.

“He told me if I wasn’t writing a contract, I needed to be in a class,” Batten remembers.

Eager to learn, Batten followed Morris’ advice.

“Knowledge empowers you,” she says. “I was way behind in this business coming into it in my late 40s, and I knew people were going to look at me and naturally think I knew what I was doing, but I was a newbie.”

Batten might have been as green as grass, but her mind quickly grew fertile with knowledge.

Earning the Certified Residential Specialist and Accredited Buyer’s Representative designations – two of the most well-regarded designations in the profession – was just the beginning. Before long, Batten’s business card looked like a bowl of alphabet soup, with acronyms like SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist), ASP (Accredited Staging Professional) and AHWD (At Home With Diversity) indicating her added expertise.

Batten was relentless in her pursuit of knowledge. While the State of Tennessee requires real estate agents to earn 16 hours of continuing education every two years, she says she averages 100 hours a year.

“Last year, I took more than 120 hours of CE,” she says without blinking.

Batten’s investment in education has paid a handsome return. Her first full year, she sold $1.2 million worth of real estate; since then, she’s either doubled or tripled her previous year’s sales and is on track to sell $10 million in 2019.

“I thought I was the bomb after my first year, but that was more money than I’d ever made,” she says. “Now I’ve already done what I did last year and will likely double it before the end of the year.”

Batten isn’t bragging; she’s just spouting numbers. If anyone deserves praise, she says, it’s her broker, Christi Painter.

“Christi is a rule follower; she goes by the book. I have a similar ethic. She wants you to represent her and her company well, so she’s about doing things correctly, and if you don’t do them correctly, go play somewhere else,” Batten says.

Batten also likes the hometown feel of Premier Property Group and how Painter is always available to answer questions and address issues.

Batten has been with Painter since starting her real estate career at the now-shuttered Exit Realty in Chattanooga. When Painter left Exit to start her own brokerage, Batten followed.

“I went with Christi because I don’t focus on dollars; I focus on people,” she explains. “It wasn’t about her commission splits; it was about her.”

Circling back to Morris, Batten says her mentor is now advising her to explore local leadership opportunities in her profession. To that end, she’s serving as membership retention chair of the Women’s Council of Realtors and has joined GCR’s 2019 Leadership Academy.

Batten also is planting the seeds of what could become her real estate team. To be able to focus more on prospecting and building relationships, she hired a transaction-to-close coordinator in March and might take on a buyer’s agent in the near future.

Batten says her transaction-to-close coordinator has changed her life.

“I like to be in control, so I had a hard time letting that go, but she’s better at it than I am.”

Batten hired the woman in advance of her 25th wedding anniversary, allowing her to enjoy a two-week vacation in Bora Bora with her husband, Jim.

“The week before I left, I had five contracts going. I turned them all over to her, and everything went well,” she says.

Batten sees things continuing to go well, with all her efforts opening more doors and bearing more fruit as she presses forward.

“I became a Realtor to help my brother with his business. Then I decided to work on my own,” she says. “Now my husband and I are setting ourselves up for retirement. Real estate has been a blessing for our family.”

That’s not bad for a Realtor who insists she’s a horrible salesperson.