In the following interview, Kevin Leatherman, broker/owner of Leatherman Homes in Nassau County, N.Y., talks about thriving as an independent firm, landing better online leads and the importance of delegation.
Years in Real Estate: 25
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 20
Please tell me a little bit about your company’s structure.
I’m an independent agency, independently-owned and -operated, primarily focusing on residential real estate. Although we’re full-service, our main focus is residential buyers and sellers. I own my business location, and it’s one block from my home. I have six employees operating on my behalf.
How does your company compete with larger firms?
In my experience, once you go into million-dollar-plus markets, clients may be looking for a bigger brand with name recognition rather than an independent, but for most clientele under a million dollars, they just want an agent who is productive and results-oriented. I’ve been consistently closing more than 100 residential listings a year for seven years, and I’m in the top three agents in my county, out of 7,000 agents. Those numbers speak.
I understand you’re invested in using online marketing, so let’s talk about how that fits in.
While recent statistics from the National Association of REALTORS® indicate 95 percent of consumers are searching online—half of whom find the home they actually purchase online—how do you maximize your time spent working with online buyers who seem to have found a house searching on their own? By having a licensed buyer’s assistant, I have someone able to answer all questions on specific properties and schedule appointments for me. I also have staff to help me work as a buyer’s rep if needed. I focus most of my time on pricing listings and negotiating. I delegate other tasks, like meeting with photographers to take listing photos. I have a transaction coordinator, an office manager, and a marketing and social media manager.
How has your online leads strategy evolved? Is the source of the leads material to success?
Realtor.com® is my exclusive partner for internet leads because their quality is superior to the other competing portals I’ve tried. If you look at what they’ve done over the past few years, they’ve done nothing but continue to upgrade their offerings and the quality of what they bring to the table. Their whole goal is to deliver better leads, and I can tell you they’re doing it. I put my whole internet leads budget on realtor.com®, and my entire team is more productive because of it.
How much of your business is online?
I would say about 50 percent. The other half is from past clients and referrals.
Do you see continued growth on the horizon, and if so, where?
I’m going to be focusing more attention on my past clients; I’ve been putting more effort into client appreciation and communication by designating one full-time staff person to the task. It’s already starting to have dividends.
For more information, please visit www.realtor.com/brokerwin.