Caroline Salette begins her Facebook page with the quote: “Real estate is not what I do, real estate is who I am.”
“I don’t do real estate because I want to earn a living,” she explains. “I do real estate because that’s who I am; that’s what I do best.”
Salette has closed nearly 3,000 sales in a real estate career spanning 27 years. She started selling in her teens. For several years, she’s been the owner of a Re/Max Quebec brokerage that sold the most homes in the province for the banner.
In 2015, she launched her coaching and training firm Groupe Salette, sharing her selling and real estate knowledge with brokers in coaching sessions. More than 500 brokers have taken her training programs during the last two years.
Salette started in the business at age 18 when she managed about 550 apartment units in Montreal with her father. In 1992, a year after getting her license, she joined Re/Max as an agent and has been with the banner since.
By 2006 she was selling more than 225 homes a year. “I needed another challenge,” and the opportunity arose that year to buy Re/Max Royal Jordan. The brokerage has six offices in Montreal’s West Island area and about 215 brokers.
After running the brokerage and being away from selling homes for seven years, she missed “the connection with people – helping their dreams come true, helping them get out of bad situations, making them realize profits.” So, in 2013, she returned to selling – while still owning the brokerage – and found her entire customer base came back. Salette says she has reached the same levels of success selling small $179,000 homes in suburban off-island Ile Perrot as brokers who sell million-dollar homes in tony Westmount and Outremont.
“I must be doing something right,” she thought and asked herself: “Why am I successful? What am I doing different from others? Why don’t I share what I know with the brokers…. and make them better brokers?” (Salespeople are called brokers in Quebec.)
That’s when she decided to launch Groupe Salette and put together a coaching system, which teaches brokers how to be in business instead of being in a career. “It’s not a career. Every week I put a property for sale; every week I sell a property. It’s a business. You can’t own a grocery store and not know when you’re going to sell your milk. It’ll go rotten on your shelves.”
She says real estate is a cut-throat business in which brokers never know when their next pay cheque will come as the expenses keep arriving. “Real estate is like the Quebec roads – a frickin’ bumpy ride. And there’s potholes. It’s hell. I sold 180 homes last year and none of them went smoothly, because that’s what real estate is about.”
She offers training sessions with names like Wake-up Call, Survival to Success and Potential Optimization Weekend (POW).
POW weekends were developed because she noticed that even when she taught brokers all her skills, something was holding many of them back.
She realized she had to “shake these guys up.” Over three days, she has brokers finding out about themselves – their emotions, fears and perceptions and how they’re perceived. “My question to them is, ‘Are you part of the problem or are you part of the solution?’”
Brokers learn to become self-aware about what’s holding them back, why are they not making enough calls or treating their business – and themselves – in destructive ways. Brokers “live from a place of scarcity” because the 20 per cent rule – 20 per cent of the brokers do 80 per cent of the business – remains a fact. “This has got to change and that’s what I’m making them change.”
Other companies offer coaching, Salette says, but “the expression you can’t learn to diet from a fat man” comes to mind. “How would you feel if you were trained by someone and the last time they sold a house was in 1971? I’m in there day in and day out, I know what they’re going through.”
Salette says she helps brokers grow their business, confidence, self-esteem and business skills. Clients need to know their broker is trustworthy, competent and cares and will be there if they need anything. She maintains that if brokers shift their attitudes, they will see a boost in income and start to have repeat clients, referrals and recognition.
Marie-Antoinette Del Peschio, a broker at Re/Max Action in Westmount, hasn’t missed one of Salette’s motivational sessions. “She’s one of those transformational, radical individuals who infuses you with energy and motivation,” Del Peschio says.
“I’m her biggest fan. After I listen to her I just want to fly. You feel so uplifted; you feel like you can conquer the world.”
Salette has undergone many personal triumphs and adversity in her life “and her life lessons really leave a positive impact.”
Salette is “a trailblazer” in the fiercely competitive Montreal real estate scene, where four per cent shared commissions are the norm. “She’s one of the few who will not take a listing that’s less than six per cent” and is convincing brokers to raise their commissions and self-worth, Del Peschio says.
Salette says when she started in real estate, “I wanted to be the best of the best” and it wasn’t long before she started to earn over seven digits in commission yearly and became a top 10 Re/Max broker.
“Today, at 46-years-old, it’s all about significance. How can I make a difference in people’s lives? I don’t count the money. I don’t know how many (homes) I’ve sold this year. It really doesn’t matter. I’m about making a difference one client at a time.”
Salette says she can one day see herself devoting her time solely to coaching – and doing so across Canada and worldwide.
“I believe I’ve got something to give. You throw me on a stage and something lights up. I don’t know what it is. I transform.”