Nicole Smith is the first to admit that the thrill of closing a deal is what motivates her when it comes to working as a real estate agent. “I’ve always worked in sales and I am definitely a very social person,” Nicole proclaims. “I got to know a lot of people while working locally at the mall, first at Aldo Shoes and later at Danier Leather as a manager at both stores. At the time, we had a booth at the mall for real estate agents and I started talking to a guy at the booth who suggested that I would make a fantastic real estate agent. I had thought about it before, but when he said it to me, I took his advice to heart and that was a driving force for me to take the appropriate courses.”

Not being one who shies away from challenges, in 2014 Nicole plunged headfirst into her new career by joining Sarnia’s EXIT Realty Twin Bridges located at 1323 Michigan Ave, Sarnia. She was an immediate hit, winning the company’s national Rookie of the Year Award. “It was amazing,” Nicole recalls. “It was a huge surprise. Being a new agent, I didn’t even know that the award existed. I was surprised when the Canadian president of EXIT Realty honoured me with a special breakfast and made the big announcement.” Winning the award compelled Nicole to work even harder to close sales in her second year. “I didn’t want to fall back. I just keep trying to do more.”

When it comes to selling homes, Nicole has a simple system: set a goal of how many sales you want to make in a year and try to match or beat that mark. “I wasn’t focusing on a dollar amount; it was just a goal of saying I want to hit 25 sales and go from there. Our award system at EXIT Realty starts at 25 so that was definitely my goal in my first year. And I hit that goal!”

Even though she was an overnight success, the transition from mall sales to helping clients buy and sell homes wasn’t an easy one. “The seriousness of making such a big purchase was obviously a huge change from selling garments and shoes,” Nicole says. “Getting to know people and understanding what their needs and wants were in purchasing a home was paramount. It was a change from what I was used to, but I quickly learned to get down to the nitty-gritty in terms of what they re- quired. Helping people accomplish their goals is an amazing experience.”

The past few years of a very hot market made it difficult for realtors like Nicole to help their clients stay focused on what they need. “Making people feel comfortable and happy with their purchase is very, very important and I think some people did get caught up in the competitiveness of the market. I am happier now that things are a little more controlled and I can walk my clients through the process of their conditions and feel confident their needs are being met.” 

Nicole believes that the most important thing to keep in mind about selling real estate in a small community is building trust and a solid reputation. She is very active in the community and hosts occasional movie nights for clients as well as sponsoring youth sports teams. “Word travels very fast in a small community,” Nicole says, “so you want to make sure you do a good job for your clients because we work off referrals. One happy client can lead to many more!”