Scott W. Lehmann, Co-CEO/Owner/Agent of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Sonoran Desert Lifestyles, answers ten questions with Clean Slate, discussing authenticity, being honest with your clients, and seeing his father through adult eyes.
Which of our BHGRE® P.A.I.G.E. (Passion, Authenticity, Innovation, Growth, Excellence) core values do you identify with most, and why?
I believe I gravitate more toward authenticity. Real estate can be a very challenging business. Helping and guiding people to make what may be the most important financial decision of their lives is a big responsibility. I believe I owe it to my clients to be authentic, which sometimes means I have to say things to them they don’t really want to hear. To me, being authentic is being honest with who you are.
Honesty is a great quality in people, but not all honesty is the same. Authenticity with empathy and good listening skills can make a big difference in someone’s life. What I have come to respect is that P.A.I.G.E. is much more than a core vision of our organization. In order to succeed you have to exhibit all of these core qualities at different times. You have to believe they are in you, and you must let them out for all to see.
What are your favorite qualities in a customer?
I have two, first is obedience. Of course, I am just joking. Well, sort of. My clients choose me because they trust me. Trust is a two-way street. I also trust that they will value what I bring to the table on their behalf.
The second one would be good communication. I don’t mind someone telling me they think I am wrong, as long as they tell me that. I prefer to have open and honest dialog so that everyone knows where they stand. Nothing good has ever come from bad or non-existent communication.
What is the one characteristic that’s helped you the most in your career?
My ability to think outside the box and find a resolution. There simply isn’t one path to solving a problem. Problem-solving is a bit like doing a feature/benefit analysis. I have the privilege of a long entrepreneurial career that has taught me to look at things through a different lens as opposed to only the real estate one.
What was the last book you read?
I would like to give you two, I read a lot while I am traveling.
Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution by Holly Tucker. It’s a fascinating telling of the evolution of blood transfusion science and how it played a role in not only the medical world, but also in politics, religion and cutthroat ambitions during the late 17th century.
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This Spanish writer spins great stories about Madrid and Barcelona. His books are beginning to be translated to English. If you’ve been to Spain or want to, you will enjoy these stories.
If you were not in real estate, what would you be doing?
Lucky for me, I am doing it now. Along with our real estate company, I also own a fresh produce company in Los Angeles. We have a branded line of product that is recognized as the #1 brand of its type in the U.S. We ship to Russia, Japan, Australia, UK, New Zealand and Canada. And, we produce it in many different retailer-specific brands throughout the U.S., as well as under our own label.
If money were no object, then I would be a recluse and no doubt starving artist, living in a shack on the cliffs along the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
What was the last song you heard that you couldn’t stop humming?
“Fireball” by Pitbull
Who is your real-life hero?
That’s a big question. I am honored to have so many real-life heroes throughout my life to look up to that is difficult to pick just one. As I have grown more mature, I have come to realize that I am very much my father.
When I was younger I rebelled against being like him, thought I could do things differently in this world. And I have. Now I watch the struggles he has endured over the last couple of years, and find myself wishing and hoping I could have the courage and strength to go on if I were in his situation. I watch my father and find strength where I didn’t see it before, compassion that I simply ignored, and a deep and fulfilling love for his family that I didn’t know existed because I was too wrapped up in my own life to recognize it.
Maturity brings the ability to see a larger world and the role those you care about play in it. I am feeling very lucky that I still have time with my father and am starting to see through clearer eyes.
What is your favorite motto?
Be true – learn from the consequences and embrace the results.
If you could sell a home in any market in the world, where would it be?
I would sell myself a home on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, perhaps in Ravello or Positano.
What advice would you give your younger self starting out in real estate?
The practical advice would be to make sure I had set aside enough money to survive while I built my business. I would also advise myself to align myself with people who are willing to help me succeed without an agenda of their own, and to kick me in the butt when I was down about my struggle to succeed. To realize that in today’s world of real estate technology is critically important to succeeding, but it will never replace the personal commitment you make to another human being. That being available is not the same as being involved and present. I would also tell myself to remember to give back to those who are just starting out in this business and ask for nothing in return.