Broker Q&A: Thomas Wright - Summit Sotheby’s International Realty


1406655821Thomas Wright, president and principal broker of Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, attributes three main core values to the success of his company and shares the favorite parts of his job. Summit Sotheby’s was most recently awarded the 2014 Best of State Award from Utah's premier recognition and awards program.

How did you get your start in real estate?

I got started in the real estate business in 1999. Initially, I was employed by a commercial real estate firm in California with a focus on healthcare. Over the course of that first year, I migrated to the residential real estate sector.

What path has your career taken?

When I first entered the residential real estate sector I was hired as the marketing director of a multi-office Coldwell Banker affiliate. The year was 2000 and the internet was not only a huge unknown variable, but it presented a huge opportunity for growth, expansion and value-added services to the consumer. It was an exciting time that led me to become an owner of several different technologies including a virtual tour company now known as OBEO. After exiting OBEO, I decided to become a licensee and sell real estate full time. It was rewarding dealing with various personalities and challenges that are unique to every transaction. After becoming a top producing sales professional I was approached about becoming a partner in Summit Sotheby’s International Realty in 2008. Since that time I have been the president and principal broker of Summit Sotheby’s International Realty. In 2008, when I was installed into my position the firm sold about $135 million in sales volume. Five years later in 2013, the firm sold over $1 billion in sales volume and over 70% of that volume was from brokers that I have recruited during my five year tenure. I love recruiting and I enjoy working with all of the brokers to help make their business successful.

Why is your company successful?

Our company has a very unique culture. The culture was something that I focused on early in our growth and it has paid off. Specifically, our culture has three main core values. When we bring new sales associates into the firm we stress these and I personally do all I can to ensure that we have people who share these three values. First, we believe in respecting each other. Brokers are competing against each other even when they are in the same company. In a small resort market like Park City, there can be no tolerance for brokers who are willing to burn bridges. The relationship between the agents and the brokerage is a partnership. We don’t work “for them” and they don’t work “for us”. We work together and respect each other’s’ roles while demanding results from each other. Second, I believe in commission integrity. That means that the brokerage has a commission model that is fair, transparent and applied equally across all sales associates. No sales associate gets a better deal than another. Too many brokerages lack this integrity and it tears them apart from the inside. Our brokerage agrees to support our sales associates and the sales associates agree that the brokerage is entitled to a fair profit margin for their efforts. Finally, we have a no drama policy. This means that sales associates, staff and anyone around the brokerage spend their time executing their strategies to produce quality transactions. We don’t hang part time licenses in our firm and we will, as frequently as necessary, disassociate ourselves from sales associates who are not working to produce results or who are distracting themselves or those around them with unnecessary problems and negative energy. We encourage collaboration, suggestions and we want sales associates to bring us issues, but we want it done professionally, properly and respectfully. And, we do the same to them.

What are your favorite parts of your job?

I love people. I enjoy the challenges associated with working with various personalities in one company. I believe that a group of people who come together with a common goal possessing different temperaments, talents and convictions is superior to any other. We have our share of struggles and challenges but we overcome them because our values and goals are aligned and we respect each other even when we disagree.

In addition, I love to innovate. There are so many things in this brokerage business that can and should be improved. We are proud to be one of very few brokerage firms to have in-house, full time photographers on staff. I believe that the photos we shoot are the single most important thing we do for our clients because almost everything we do is based on them. Another example of our innovation is the creation of a “green sign flyer” that is really a brochure printed on the same material that yard signs are made of. It is then attached to the wood sign post. We innovated that to end the frustration of sales agents to their clients of trying to keep a flyer box full. It also has allowed us to save thousands upon thousands of pages of paper covered in ink that isn’t environmentally friendly and doesn’t do nearly as good a job as providing some information on the sign along with a call to action to call us, email us or download our mobile app to see our beautiful pictures. We innovate and we will always do our best to be on the cutting edge. It is the small things that make all the difference and those things are often overlooked for larger initiatives.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I am an avid amateur golfer. I have played competitive golf my entire life including playing for a Division I NCAA university on scholarship. Most of my collegiate tournaments were won by Tiger Woods. Golf teaches you so much about life, perseverance and patience. When you play golf, the result rests entirely upon you. There is only you and the course. I always liked that accountability.

I also enjoy the outdoors. Whether it is big game hunting, fly fishing, hiking or mountain biking, I love to see the world as it is presented. The only way to do that is to get out there and explore. We live on a marvelous planet with so much beauty and so much to see, I hope to live a long life of exploring the outdoors.

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