When Shannon Selig of the Greater Portland (Maine) market center temporarily put her music career on hold to sell real estate, she found her true voice training others to be successful.
From the age of 9, Shannon Selig wanted to be a professional singer.
“I want to change people’s lives with my voice,” she told her mom.
For the next decade, music would take Selig on an unexpected journey, where she would eventually use her voice to change people’s lives at Keller Williams.
A First Album – and a Turning Point – at 14
With her parents’ support, Selig began training professionally in the classical music genre and released her first album at the age of 14. That led to the opportunity to sing on stage with Mo Anderson, vice chairman of the board and a pillar of KW culture, at that Inspirational Morning. The annual program, which features stories of service and acts of kindness, concludes every Family Reunion event.
A seed was planted as Selig listened to teenager Ryan Hreljac, who through Ryan’s Well Foundation had provided access to clean water to many people in developing countries.
“I remember sitting there thinking, ‘If he can do that, then what’s stopping me from anything?’” she says.
Selig left Las Vegas more determined than ever to succeed in the music industry. So, after high school, she attended McGill University as a classically trained soprano for two years and Berklee College of Music.
A Stint in Nashville
At Berklee, Selig’s eyes were opened to the competitive nature of the music industry and she felt ready for her next move – Nashville – where she would build a country music career. Once she raised $15,000 for her first national album, she began working with a producer. Soon, a record deal was on the table, but something didn’t feel right to Selig. “I walked away from a record deal because they wanted to compromise my morals and they wanted me to change,” she says.
So she opened her own record label, Blue Chicory Records, and released an album as scheduled in 2013. “Without compromising a single moral, and doing it the way I wanted to,” Selig says.
She started touring around the country and won several music awards. But Selig was still being told she’d have to change if she wanted to get airplay. “I kept saying no,” she says.
The Start of a Real Estate Career
Every penny Selig earned went into music, rent and student loans. She was struggling to stay afloat. Her mother, who had just transitioned from an agent to the role of team leader, suggested Selig use real estate to fund her “perfect life of music.”
She was licensed at the end of December 2013, and in January, despite several unexpected housing expenses, Selig bought a ticket to Family Reunion, knowing the impact the training event could have.
“I couldn’t even afford my electric bill at the time,” Selig says. “When I came home, there was a lock on the box, but it was worth it.”
Family Reunion had her fired up. The event and the training in her market center equipped her with the models and systems she needed to hit the ground running. As her business began to grow, she decided to put her music career on hold.
From the Field to the Classroom
Selig did well and paid off debts, but soon she began falling off track with her lead generation. On Jan. 1, 2015, she was in the same position she’d been in a year earlier: broke and unfocused. Selig started over, this time focused on her ONE Thing, which was practicing scripts. She re-enrolled in BOLD and became so effective at role-plays that many other agents requested to be her partner. This led to a mentorship with one of Keller Williams’ top agents, David Huffaker, and a teaching role at her market center.
“I spent a lot of time in the classroom teaching. And I realized that teaching wasn’t making me money, yet it was fueling my soul,” she says.
In the fall of 2015, just two years into Selig’s real estate career, Sara Stephens, team leader at the Nashville – Mt. Juliet market center, asked her to be the productivity coach for the office of about 140.
Although young, Selig had a made an impression on Stephens when they met in 2014. Selig had a vision for building a business in real estate and she led with relationships first.
“It was that she had an amazing energy about her,” Stephens remembers. “I thought, ‘This girl is going to blow up the real estate world.’ She stays positive and thinks big and is passionate about people. She makes their struggles her own and that’s a part of failing forward.”
An Unexpected Offer
Selig loved her new role and intended to stay in Nashville, but after a call from Dottie Bowe, one of the founders of Keller Williams Maine, in May 2016, her plans changed. The two had known each other since Selig was a child – Bowe had even invested in her first album – but they had lost touch.
Bowe had reached out to Selig after speaking with her mother, Janice Ryder, hoping for a lead on a possible team leader for the Maine market center.
Selig talked to Bowe about the open position and wound up flying out to Maine to interview for the role herself. She described herself as “scared out of my mind” to be 26 years old and interviewing with one of the top market centers in the entire company.
From the moment she met with investors, Selig was well-liked. However, without a proven track record of leadership with a market center of their size, they questioned if she would be the right fit. Knowing that success leaves clues, Bowe trusted her instincts and decided to move forward with the interviewing process.
“I had known Shannon since she was in grade school. I was well aware of her commitment to success, watching her pursue her singing career and succeed at a high level as a KW sales agent and as a productivity coach.”
After taking Selig through Career Visioning – Keller Williams’ proven path to hiring – and a group interview with the Associate Leadership Council, the team agreed she possessed what they needed to take the market center to the next level.
The job was hers.
“I PROBABLY WOULDN’T HAVE ALL THE TALENT I HAVE TODAY IF IT WASN’T FOR SHANNON. I HAVE UTILIZED HER AS A RESOURCE AND AM ALWAYS RUNNING THINGS BY HER TO GET HER OPINION.”
– Steven Chicoine
Rebuilding a Culture, Changing Lives
Under her leadership and training, the office swelled to 450 agents, a net gain of 111, and slowed its attrition from 30 percent to 17 percent in two years. She did this by building relationships.
“I spent quality time with the agents to learn about their personalities, hobbies, families, etc. I also made sure to spend a lot of time with our Associate Leadership Council. The ALC really helped fill the market center with positivity and the culture of Keller Williams began flowing,” she says.
“When people know they are loved and cared about by their leadership team and peers; it makes a difference. When you truly focus on your people, completely and unselfishly, you get everything you desire. And that’s what I did,” Selig says.
Selig also adhered to the principles of the Growth Initiative.
“The Growth Initiative gave me a clear path for hitting our market center goals and made the role of my job clear. I spent the first year focusing on our cap management to purposefully increase our profits.”
The unexpected twists and turns in her life have allowed her to “connect with those agents who are exceeding at a very high level, as well as the ones just coming in,” Bowe says.
Steven Chicoine, a team owner based in South Portland, Maine, has been a beneficiary of Selig’s energy and unwavering commitment.
“I wouldn’t have all the talent I have today if it wasn’t for her,” Chicoine says. “I have utilized her as a resource and am always running things by her to get her opinion.”
Chicoine’s goal was to have the No. 1 team in Maine. “And in 2017, we were! She’s helped me achieve my goal, and I know she’s helping all the other teams as well,” he says.
Free to Be Me
At Keller Williams, Selig can be herself without judgment and pressure to change; something she craved but was unable to experience in the music industry. She loves that she can succeed at a high level, without compromising her morals, and have support from others on the team.
For a long time, Selig thought failure was bad. But she’s changed her mind … failure is just a stumbling block around which she can reroute and try again.
“If you give up, that’s failure to me,” she says. “Failures are just like little struggles along the way.”
These days, real estate is Selig’s focus, although she hasn’t given up on Nashville altogether.
“I want to change people’s lives with my voice. I always assumed that was music. And now I realize that is just who I am. And that’s what I’m doing every day.”