From left to right:
Cindy Robinson-Chief of Staff, Susan Wigler-CEO, Jenna Guthrie-President/COO, Heather Stasel-CSO
Susan Wigler found herself in ‘relationship’ selling while waiting tables when attending college where she discovered the importance of selling herself as well as her love of working with people - she realized back then that she was destined for a career in sales. The love of working with people would come to serve her well when she embarked on a record-shattering career in real estate. Discovering that there is more to becoming successful than simply enjoying working with prospective clients, Susan became a student of the business - she invested in every learning venue with whatever was available at that time. Within her first 8 months, she closed $15 million in transaction volume as an agent at Coldwell Banker Realty, earning her the Tampa-Bay Top New Agent of the Year Award in 2003.
What makes Susan especially unique is that she not only has been on the front lines as a top-producing REALTOR®, but she also earned a seat on the executive leadership team of the largest agent-owned brokerage in the country, with nearly 1,300 agents across 85 offices and over $2 billion in sales. As a director and then vice president of corporate development for HER, REALTORS®, she trained thousands of agents to successfully reach their goals and guided her relocation team to win Sirva Worldwide Relocation & Moving United States Broker of the Year 2018. Susan is also a Certified Speaker by the Floyd Wickman Organization, a negotiation expert, and a luxury property specialist. Now in her role as CEO and co-founder of Elite Partners Training and Coaching, Susan brings over three decades of industry experience, thought leadership, and best-in-class training methods to help agents and brokerages achieve new heights in their business.
Carol Ludtke Prigan
Co-Founder/Chief Content Officer
Susan co-founded Ohio-based Elite Partners Training and Coaching (EPTC) a full-service training and coaching company, with Carol Ludtke Prigan. Carol, a 20+ year veteran of the real estate business, earned a Ph.D. before beginning her sales career. She met Susan while working as the director of training at HER, REALTORS® and serves now as the chief content officer of Elite Partners Training and Coaching. Together they built EPTC to offer customized curricula for companies. They also offer top-notch coaching for everyone from real estate agents and team leaders to brokerage owners/managers. With Susan’s accomplished track record of success spanning 30+ years, as well as her established reputation and credibility as an industry thought-leader, EPTC quickly signed their first client--Michael Mahon, CEO and founder of Corcoran Global Living. Susan and her team developed a fully customized package of training and sales education for Corcoran Global Living’s nearly 1,500+ agents in over 40 offices.
Susan has come a long way from her first job waiting tables, but her core ambition, passion for people, and innate drive to help others succeed has propelled her into this new chapter of her evolving career journey, which already promises to be ripe for incredible growth potential and personal fulfillment. We sat down with Susan to learn more about her flourishing new firm and how it supports the success of agents across the nation.
What led you to a career in coaching and training?
I’ve been entrenched in sales throughout my career. After consistently being recognized as a top salesperson, my managers started asking me to leverage my sales acumen into training. I found so much enjoyment and satisfaction from training others, that I officially transferred into the training and coaching side of the real estate business. I enjoyed selling homes, but I love helping people change their lives even more. In 2015, the president of the brokerage I worked for, asked me to coach a struggling agent who was considering leaving the brokerage. That was a pivotal moment for me—the president was relying on ME to help an agent find her way. Her name was Heather Stasel. She smashed her original goal that year, and since then, her income has grown by 10X, if not more. Because of Heather’s first-hand experience in the power of great training and coaching, she is now an investor in Elite Partners.
Elite Partners offers training programs for both new and experienced agents, correct?
Yes, we develop training curriculum that our clients utilize to train both types of agents. Our curriculum consists of courses that not only help new agents get a jumpstart on their careers, but also help experienced agents grow their business to new levels. We cover everything from business planning to negotiations to how to deliver winning listing presentations for the new agents. For the experienced agents we train them on how to take their business to the next level, hiring their first employee and how to market themselves at more than a novice level. Our courses are traditionally taught in person, but because of COVID, we have seamlessly pivoted to deliver all of our curriculum virtually.
What is the difference between your “on-demand” and customized curriculum?
One of our top goals is to help smaller brokerages provide their agents proven, results-focused training in an affordable way, so that they can continue to attract top-talent agents while also nurturing the success of their existing agents, in order to stay competitive. We do this by offering a comprehensive package that includes on-demand virtual sales training that is interactive with accountability attached. We’ll even train their trainers for an additional fee. All of this allows the brokerage to keep their training in-house. We also create custom training programs tailored to brokerage’s specific needs. With our customized programs, Elite Partners builds our curricula around any existing brokerage training or technologies, while also ensuring all training is congruent and aligned with their company culture.
How does Elite Partners training differ from other real estate training courses?
When someone decides to become an agent, they take a series of courses to prepare for their licensing exam. While these courses teach them about a myriad of legal issues and state-specific regulations, they don’t even begin to dive deep enough into how agents can actually make money and grow their business. Then you’ve got the providers that offer continuing education for agents to keep their license in compliance. But there is a gap between licensing and what CE companies offer, and Elite Partners Training and Coaching fills that void with the written curricula, on-demand training, and courses. Our new agent training gives agents the ability to become productive within their first 90 days of licensing and our experienced agent training gives a new perspective on the business model for an agent while introducing relevant and current information.
How does your experience as a real estate agent and brokerage leader benefit your clients?
First, because I’ve been on the front lines, I understand what agents go through and what they need to be successful. Second, having led training, coaching, and relocation for the largest agent-owned brokerage in the country, I understand the recruiting, retention, and training needs of broker-owners, as well as their need to manage the ROI of training their brokerage population. Because I understand how large brokerages operate, and what they leverage to train their agents, it gives me a unique vantage point in helping even the smaller agencies thrive and be competitive.
Who makes up your team at EPTC?
Carol Prigan and I have worked side by side for nearly 7 years and enjoyed that so much that we decided to create EPTC in order to serve the real estate community. We have Jenna Guthrie as our President/COO. We both had worked with Jenna for years and developed a respect for her business mind and knew she was perfect for her role. Heather Stasel joined us as CSO and is also one of our lead coaches. Then we have Cindy Robinson as our chief of staff who has worked with me in one way or another since 1991, Cindy is key to all things EPTC.
What do you find most fulfilling about your work as a trainer, and business coach?
I’m most fulfilled when I’m able to help seed and amplify people’s confidence—by helping them build new skills and knowledge that they can then leverage to pave the way to success in their goals. There is nothing that makes me prouder than when an agent thanks me for helping them achieve their goals after going through my training. This is why I do what I do. This is why I love my job.