Imagine managing not one, not two, but three different businesses simultaneously! That’s exactly what Chris “Willa” Williams, co-founder of Go Getter Marketing Group and visionary leader of the Go Getter Team in real estate, has accomplished. Today on the 10 Minute Marketing podcast, we deep dive into Chris’s entrepreneurial journey, from a sole proprietor to operating an S-Corporation.
A significant aspect of Chris’s business strategy revolves around obtaining and retaining customers. He reveals the approaches that have proven instrumental in growing his businesses, such as the importance of creating and nurturing a cohesive team and fostering relationships that extend beyond just business dealings. Digging into his marketing strategies, Chris emphasizes combining online marketing communications with personal touch and face-to-face interactions.
One of the striking elements of our conversation is Chris’s focus on personal growth. Attending conferences, networking, and reading impactful books are just some ways he’s committed himself to continuous learning and development in entrepreneurship. In underscoring the necessity for personal development, he also stresses the benefit of being relentless in your pursuit of growing your business.
Managing multiple businesses is a herculean task, but not an impossible one. Chris’s candid insights offer a glimpse into the reality of entrepreneurship in today’s competitive market. His strategies for success, drawn from his own experiences, can serve as a blueprint for anyone aspiring to venture into the world of entrepreneurship.
Chris “Willa” Williams is the leader of the Go Getter Team realty group in Atlanta and has nearly fifteen years of real estate experience. In 2008, he co-founded Go Getter Marketing Group, Inc. with his wife and partner, Sonja Crystal Williams. He currently serves as a business advisor to the agency, leading the strategic direction of the firm and assisting with business development. Chris is a graduate of Michigan State University with a B.A. in Supply Chain Management.
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Read The Full Transcript From This Episode (click to expand and read the full interview)
- Sonja Crystal Williams: 0:11
Hi everyone, welcome to today’s episode of 10 minute marketing. I’m your host, Sonja Crystal Williams. I’ve got a special visitor joining us today, someone very near and dear to me, also a business owner. This is my significant other, Mr. Chris Willa”Williams. A little bit about Chris. Chris is the co-founder of the marketing agency that I run day to day GoGitter Marketing Group. He is also the visionary leader for the GoGitter team, which is a real estate team located here in Atlanta, and has owned many other businesses and done many other projects throughout the years. So thanks for being here, chris.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 0:49
Thank you for having me, Sonja.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 0:51
Alright, so let’s jump in. I want to kind of start out by talking a little bit about your, just your background in business and your backstory and really how you got into business in general and how you ended up where you are today.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 1:08
Sure, I graduated college, got into business and supply chain management, very quickly decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, kind of make a go at that and about I don’t want to say about 18 years ago I started a small business and 15 years ago I kind of grew that business, incorporated it, made it official, went from being a sole proprietor to an actual business and, along with that, helped found Go Getter Marketing Group.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 1:33
Okay, very cool. Sole proprietor actual business. Break that down. What does that mean when you go from that to that?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 1:39
Right. As a sole proprietor, you are able to do business just as you are. However, you don’t have all the same structure and also the liability protection supported to companies in the law. So it does make a difference in how you have to interact with the government and how you present yourself to the world.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 1:56
So what is your business today?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 1:57
Today I am a co-founder of Go Getter Marketing Group and also I have a real estate team called the Go Getter Team. You know that’s how that runs together, and they’ve been operating since 2008 under those names.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 2:10
Okay, and I’m sorry. I’m going to clarify. You mentioned back to the conversation just about sole proprietor versus business, because we have a lot of listeners who want to be entrepreneurs or are RER but might be revisiting what is my business structure? So, from a business structure standpoint, you were sole proprietor when you first began. What’s the business structure today?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 2:32
So the business structure today is run as an S-court, and as S-court that is very similar to LLC, but it’s kind of a hybrid in the fact that it lets you interact with the federal government differently. Also, it lets, if you want to have partners for that to be kind of distributed differently when it comes to profits and so forth.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 2:52
Okay, so you run two businesses. Some people might say, when you’re running multiple businesses, that’s a serial entrepreneur. How do you view yourself?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 3:02
I think we have run three businesses as an investor also, but that’s a whole other thing.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 3:07
So you’re running three businesses. That’s a lot right, because you have to balance life in that. How do you do it? What are the ways that you look at creating balance or even just managing three different operations happening?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 3:23
Well, really, if you want to have anything going and grow it to any kind of scale, whether that’s a small scale or a large scale you definitely want to make sure you have a great team. And so in each business and the real estate business, there is a team associated with that. In the marketing business, obviously, you do a lot to help run that business or to leave that business. I should say, not just help run it. And then the third piece is more of me as an active investor in real estate. So it’s a hybrid, so it kind of piggybacks off of being real estate agency and practicing real estate agency. There’s opportunities that show themselves and so that in of itself is also a business. Some people might call it a side hustle, but it can be very lucrative and done properly.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 4:09
Okay, so you have three different business entities. Each one is in some way shape or form, kind of especially with the real estate ones playing off of each other, which is definitely, again a lot to manage. In each of these lines of business, I would imagine there’s some kind of way you’ve got to get customers. You’ve got to get clients, you’ve got to find ways to grow and scale the business. And you said you’ve been in business like since the first one 18 years ago. So, throughout that journey, what have been some of the things you’ve picked up along the way that have helped you grow each business, have helped you get clients, tailor your client base like? What are the ways you’ve gone about that?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 4:54
Well, what’s interesting? The Go Getter Marketing Group came about because I was in real estate first and one of the things that I recognized in the early days I used to do a lot of networking, a lot of meeting other people, because I was also a new in town. So I started a B2C business and I was also new in town, so I had to make connections and meet people at different networking events, and part of the thing about that was I started to realize that really all businesses have the same basic problems. Yes, they have different models, but they have the same basic problems in terms of you know customer acquisition, you know customer fulfillment and then also you know the ability to Kind of put that cycle in when you stay in touch with your customer and clients, okay, and you know create a relationship. So in learning that and kind of being a little high on myself at the time and my ability to do it, I thought, oh, it would be great if I started a business that could help other people and other businesses Understand this dynamic, and that was the birth of the go-getter marketing group. Okay, now, when I first started it, it actually I had to put it on the shelf because we also entered into a real estate recession, so I had to turn my attention back to real estate, really work really hard to rebuild that business and somewhere along the way, you know, you wanted to become an entrepreneur as well. You saw me and you thought it would be a great opportunity for you to jump in, tell, and you did that and you took over, go get our marketing group and together we ran with it.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 6:26
Got it. Okay. So let’s go back to the client piece, because you hit on a few really important points, which is a lot of businesses experience some of the same challenges. Which is around acquisition piece of new customers. And then you hit on another point which kind of made me think okay, the retention, the relationship building retention when it comes to yeah, yeah, kind of keeping those people around. So I mean, real estate and marketing are kind of two totally different lanes, but there’s some common thread with what you just said, because you got to get clients and you got to find ways to keep clients. That’s right. So you now, in terms of just like channels, let’s just say, think we put our marketing hats on for a second and just think in terms of marketing channels, what have been some of the channels that you turn to for growth? And I wanna ask you this, because you’ve been in business 18 years. So I wanna ask you, what did that look like in the early days of having that business. Right and has it evolved and, if so, how?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 7:25
Well, the first thing that I could say is is when I started the business, social media really didn’t have a large presence. It was really in its infancy. I mean, we’re going back to 2004. And 2004 to end of 2004 is about when I got started. So that’s why I say only 18 years. But Facebook had just been around for about three years and they had just really released themselves to the general public because they were a college campus kind of thing. You had YouTube. That was just beginning and Instagram wasn’t. I think Instagram wasn’t really.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 7:58
It did not exist. No, Twitter was popular back then, and so you had.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 8:01
Twitter and LinkedIn. So at that time we knew that social media would have a place because there was all kinds of voices and industry telling you the future importance of it. But at that time we didn’t have that information. So a lot of what we started was the basic, fundamental pieces of marketing how to put yourself in front of the customer or potential client as frequently as possible and how to build relationships so that ultimately, those relationships might turn into referrals or recommendations. Okay, and at that time that really looked like networking, face-to-face contact, like door knocking and also picking up the phone and making phone calls. Now, if you had a budget, then you also added in something like, you know, hardline marketing, which would be your print marketing postcards.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 8:48
You know bookshelves direct mail. Okay, got it.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 8:51
So you would add those things in now, by the time we got to about 2008 to about 2012. There was a big shift in the industry where you had more and more people who were online in the social media space. It was more socially acceptable. You had everybody from you know, the kids all the way to the grandparents, who could be found online interacting, and that created a lane for people to you know, acquire customers, attract customers going online.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 9:20
Okay, and that, where did you fit into that?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 9:24
Yeah, so for me as a man, I was not very quick to go get on social media. There was a hybrid model that I tried to use in between 2008, 2012, back in the Craigslist days, okay, and we would basically run ads on Craigslist and attract customers, because a lot of people would go to Craigslist for everything.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 9:44
It was your virtual classified ads.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 9:47
And then, over time, what you saw was the social media began to usurp and around that time we made a shift, started working on video, because I felt like I was kind of late for Facebook and Instagram. So we started working on YouTube videos and that was kind of really my first foray. I really love video personally because I like to interact with the customer base more so than just, you know, putting up a picture or something like that. So for us it graduated into that.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 10:16
So I think you brought up also a really great thing that you hit on, which is you didn’t really want to be on social media, and I think a lot of business owners have that same feeling like I don’t really want to be here. I don’t really know what to say for you, though, when you did kind of find your place in social media sounds like video was kind of it for you. What was it about video that was appealing, that made you say, yes, this is when it comes to social media or just being online, like, what is it about video that made you feel like, okay, this is my place.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 10:49
Well, if you think about it, a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a thousand pictures. So, literally, you are exponentially multiplying your ability to affect the customer, client. Really, video gives you an opportunity to get to know, get to know whoever it is that you’re watching, right? A picture gives you an image, but if you listen to, you know what I say, how I speak, what topics I’m presenting, whether or not I’m really covering the base. It gives you the ability to both be a blog and have imagery at the same time. That’s why they now call most of the things that a lot of influencers do as blogs right, and so it gives you the context that a blog article will give you, but also the look, the visual representation that a picture will give you.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 11:41
Okay, that’s deep. Yeah, so it’s an opportunity for people to see you in action, hear you in action and get to know you better. And that has, I guess. What has that done? Like, do people Send you messages and say I saw your video, I want to be a customer, I want to be a client, like what happens as a result of that bit those videos, definitely what I find is is that when people come across me, they feel more comfortable with me immediately because they feel like they know me, so it gives people that opportunity to interact.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 12:08
I mean a lot of people who watch TV, for instance. When they meet a celebrity or a star, they almost act as if that person is one of the family members because they’re coming right into their living room through the television. Yeah, so it gives you a different feel and, of course, those people are only learning characters. However, you know when you’re dealing with video. If you’re presenting authentically, people get to know you and they have some kind of idea of the type of person that you may be and they know if they want to interact with that or not.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 12:37
Yeah. So authenticity that’s such a strong word because that I feel like is a theme in a lot of the social media we see today and a lot of the email campaigns is brands getting more comfortable being authentic and sharing their authentic voice. And I agree with you. I think video is one of the mechanisms that business owners can use to have that level of transparency and visibility and come across as genuine to their particular audiences. So it sounds like videos one channel that’s been helpful for you along the way. I want to also go back, so that’s kind of like around acquisition and as you’re getting those new customers, and then on the retention side, how have you maintained relationships with some of your clients throughout the years, especially in the real estate business. That’s a heavy part of your focus. What does maintenance look like and how do you do that and what kind of channels do you use? Beyond, you know, maybe a phone conversation with people? You know what are other ways you stay in front of them.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 13:36
Well, really it’s a multimodal approach. We use, you know, phone calls, of course, as the base, because, again, people want to hear from you, but there’s also email marketing that consistently touches people, you know, whether that be once a month or every other week, depending on whether they’re in the process, sometimes even more, somebody’s an active customer, okay well, and on top of that we do events. So we have ways to bring people together and develop a community around our brand so that people feel comfortable interacting with us and we are regularly staying in front of them. And that’s a big piece about, you know, being a business. That’s at the top of people’s minds when they think about doing business.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 14:15
Got it. Okay. So email campaigns, live events, combination, a multimodal approach. And then you mentioned even earlier how do you manage all this for you? Are you making these calls, are you sending out the email campaigns? Are you throwing these events like? How do you do it?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 14:31
Well, as I mentioned earlier, a great team helps with that. Yeah, so you know we have different people doing different things. I definitely make calls because staying in touch with people, particularly when you develop the business relationship. But sometimes it trends beyond that and it becomes a friendship with a good community. Their relationship goes over and beyond just simply doing business and when it comes to things like managing email marketing campaigns, I may give feedback and direction about where I want to go and it’s my team that translates that into actual activity and action.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 15:04
Got it, so you’re still touching the business and having that personal interaction with some of those long-term clients or people you’ve become friends with, but you also have a team in place that’s helping distribute or plan some of the other marketing activities that need to happen to lead to that long-term success in terms of retention. What has retention meant in your business, though? Because, if you’re investing the time, some people will say, well, they already worked with them. Why do I need to invest that time into people that already have?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 15:37
Well, the people that you have are probably your least expensive source of new business. They can relate to their friend, family or other people that they meet there in business. Your work really presents on other people. So when people say, well, how are you so successful? Or why did you grow your business, or your client-base whom you’re 30%, well, my team. So those people get to speak up for you when you’re not there and it says, oh, can you put me in contact? Of course you always want to be the person that people refer because it is the least expensive marketing that you can have.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 16:17
Okay, so spending less by doing more with the business or the people you already have and then, like you said, 20% to 30% opportunity to increase your business by simply working the people you already have who know, like and trust you.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 16:36
Yeah, the typical number is, as you would expect, that if you have a great client retention and follow-up program, that you would see about a third increasing your business.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 16:46
Wow, do you feel like your numbers aligned with that In the past? Yeah, sure Good, wow, okay, so let’s go into our lightning round. I want to kind of round out with asking you just a few other questions Again. Business extraordinaire, owning three businesses I can tease them a little bit, no, but it’s a good thing, all right. So one of the things that you and I share is a desire for growth, and we invest a lot in growth, going to conferences, different types of events and things like that. I want to ask you and you can name drop or not, but Throughout the years you’ve been in business, what have been some of the types of whether it’s a one-day event, a virtual event, a full-out conference what types of things in terms of events or, you know, any type of webinars have been, I guess, a big contributor that you feel like to just your growth Overall as a person, as a business owner? What if some of those been for you?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 17:52
Well, there have been a few. I think the ones that have had the most impact on me are the ones that speak to me personally in terms of, like, personal growth, not just business growth. I can tell you with certainty that business growth Conferences certainly help, because they give you skills and tools that you can use directly in your business, but I have found that I am at the center of my business and so working on me produces the greatest results. I’ve been to things like Tony Robbins, which was huge, dean Graziosi, which are also huge multiple conferences. I think Tony Robbins has like five different conferences you can go to. I think I’ve been to all of them. Also, tons of reading and books on whatever subject matter. I think the most recent thing that had a big impact on me was probably a conference that we went to last year, which was specifically around, you know, online marketing and podcasting Okay, talking a lot about what was happening and how people were growing their businesses, and I think that’s probably why we’re here In front of the podcast studio from those learnings, actually going to those events and then applying what’s been learned, because it’s not enough to just take notes and collect the information, you have to actually do something with it.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 19:07
I’m gonna tell you one of your conferences I remember going to early, when you first started real estate, which was and this was a niche training, so this was specific to the real estate industry.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 19:23
I’m trying to figure out which one, which one. Okay, so it was the.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 19:26
It was the first, at least that I I know of you having your first kind of mentor in real estate, Andrew Lacey.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 19:34
Oh yeah, Jordan, that was my early entry way. And to personal development.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 19:40
Yes, and I remember you invited me to come just because Andrew was focus. He was a veteran realtor, right broker or something like that. You see, you all have a prospect and how to go out and get a listing and that was sales tactics. And I remember you asked me to come because this was in the early days of Go Getter Marketing Group and it was like I could use some of these tactics and techniques when I am out making calls, you know, in networking and following up with people and meeting complete strangers and trying to get business on the books. So that was an impactful one for me that you invited me to.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 20:17
Yeah, that definitely was a huge impact on me because I learned a lot about actual technique and sales.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 20:24
Yeah, books. You’ve read up books. You’ve read a lot of books throughout the years. What are some books that have been impactful for you and that you would say other business owners need to be reading these books.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 20:37
I think the big thing is, I think I would say, the most recent Atomicavus and pretty much a lot. I think 10x was another great book, Grant Cardon.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 20:48
Is that Grant Cardon? Okay yeah.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 20:49
And the reason why is because that just made me think bigger. I think that was the reason why Atomicavus makes you think smaller, about working on the small things every day, which leads to greater outcomes.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 21:01
Good contrast. Okay, Along the way again, 18 years in business, you probably had some fumbles. What are some things or lessons that you feel like you learned along the way?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 21:15
I think move quicker. Definitely. There have been many times like, for instance, with the video. I had the ideas around video, we started a campaign on video. Then we backed off because we’ve also wanted assistance, but I should have never stepped away from it, should have stayed on top of it. Also, don’t quit once you start on something. Everybody wants immediate impact, particularly with marketing. We all went to work like yesterday. Marketing takes time, so I think that was one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned, and some of my mistakes were stopping it too early or not giving enough room to breathe actually experience the results. It’s a compounding effort kind of thing.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 21:58
Okay, compounding effort. I love that. What’s one final thought that you want to share with entrepreneurs listening just in terms of how they continue to scale and grow their company?
Chris “Willa” Williams: 22:08
The biggest thing is, like I said, is you have to work on you. You are at the center of your business. Your business lives and breathes based on what you do on a day-to-day basis or what you don’t do. So you constantly have to make sure you’re at the top of your priority list in terms of making sure you’re good, you have a vision that’s going to work for the company. Also, you have clarity on what you want and being unabashed about pursuing it.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 22:37
Okay, thank you for being here, Chris “Williams. What are some ways that people can find you online? Keep up with you, because you share things beyond real estate on your social media, right.
Chris “Willa” Williams: 22:49
Definitely, so. You can find me at chriswilla on Instagram. Also chriswilla on TikTok, although we’re just getting ready to get that launched and we’ve got one for our marketing groups launch, but personally, I’m launching a personal brand right now and so we’re going through that process and those are probably the two I would tell people to go to right now. We also have a YouTube channel that we’re cooking up, but you know, work in progress, work in progress.
Sonja Crystal Williams: 23:16
And this is all on the personal side, because you’ve got all the stuff for the business. So these are other areas where you’re expanding. All right, Well, thank you so much again. Thank you everyone again for listening today to 10 Minute Marketing. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to drop your thoughts in the comments. Ask questions. We’re happy to answer Until next time. We’ll see you soon. See you soon.
- Sonja Crystal Williams: 0:11