Leighton Dees, chairman & CEO of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Generations, in Mobile, AL, answers ten questions with Clean Slate, and discusses focused energy, the importance of building a connection with your clients, and Michael Jackson.
Which of our BHGRE® P.A.I.G.E. (Passion, Authenticity, Innovation, Growth, Excellence) core values do you identify with most, and why?
It’s almost impossible to choose a single one! I am honestly such a mix of passion and innovation if I had to choose. But from the beginning, all of these are what attracted me to the brand so ardently. You can really get behind this list. None of these are just filler content, and you can feel it.
What are your favorite qualities in a customer?
The connection. The sooner you make the connection, the better the whole experience goes. It’s the best way to gauge the situation. If you lose it, you have to get it back before proceeding very far, or you are just asking for problems. It’s present before, during, and after the transaction, if you do it right. And you will build an amazing business that can sustain the ups and downs of any market long-term.
What is the one characteristic that’s helped you the most in your career?
Focused energy. Energy is contagious. People want to be a part of things that are full of energy. And focusing that energy keeps you on your toes and keeps you pushing when you want to pull back. Also, the power of attraction it provides is something you can’t buy. You have it, or you don’t.
What was the last book you read?
I’m such a geek when it comes to reading. I’m always reading something about marketing strategy or design. I’ve never been into story reading. If I’m honest, I guess the last book I read was Green Eggs and Ham. I read it to my son. The whole time I just thought about how Dr. Seuss had it all figured out back in the day. I would’ve loved to collaborate with him on anything!
If you were not in real estate, what would you be doing?
I would probably work in design or marketing with a company that was pushing the envelope with what it produced. As long as I had creative freedom, I would be okay. I just couldn’t have an office job that didn’t change much.
What was the last song you heard that you couldn’t stop humming?
“Human Nature” by Michael Jackson. I know, I know…it just is what it is.
Who is your real-life hero?
Peter Drucker. The guy just knew what it took to make things happen. He understood logic in the deepest form. He truly shaped the American business landscape.
What is your favorite motto?
“All things are ready if the mind be so.” I’ve loved this quote since the first time I read it. It actually came from Shakespeare’s Henry V, but it was referenced in a marketing magazine I read a few years back. I tell this to my agents all the time when they need to be lifted up.
If you could sell a home in any market in the world, where would it be?
Probably somewhere in Europe, I would love to sell a huge castle or a sick French Chateau – just to say I did. LOL
What advice would you give your younger self starting out in real estate?
Collaborate. Use the experiences of others as much as possible until you’re too busy with your own. This is the solution to exponentially increasing the speed of the learning curve.