Anthony Lamacchia has been obsessed with business since childhood. At age 12, he began learning about what a profit and loss statement was, and by 16, he had mastered basic accounting. It’s no surprise that once Lamacchia entered the real estate world, it didn’t take long for him to make his mark. Today, as broker/owner and CEO of Lamacchia Realty, serving Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Lamacchia is on the verge of explosive growth, ready to take his training-focused and agent support-centric model beyond New England’s borders. As he simply says, “We will one day be the largest and best privately-held real estate company in America.” Find out how Lamacchia intends to get there—and how he’s already come so far—in this exclusive interview.
Maria Patterson: Would you start by telling us a little bit about your background?
Anthony Lamacchia: Sure. I’ve been working since I was very young. My grandmother used to get mad at my dad for taking me to jobs at age three. I worked with my father in his landscaping and construction business, where I learned so much that I later applied to real estate. My grandfather was an accountant who did my father’s books. By the age of 12, he taught me what a P&L was and all about payables and receivables. I knew the basics of accounting by the time I was 16. I’ve been obsessed with business for as long as I can remember; and according to my dad, it started at a very young age.
MP: So, when did you get into real estate?
AL: Well, I bought my first property when I had just turned 21 in 2002. Then I got into real estate sales in 2004 after I had bought a few properties to rent or flip, at which time I was getting tired of the family business. At the time, I had a business partner—and our first employee, Sarah Chaisson, who is still with me today as vice president of all the companies.
MP: How many offices and agents does Lamacchia Realty currently have?
AL: Five offices with 180 agents, and growing by the day.
MP: What are your current goals in terms of expansion?
AL: We want to be at 300 agents by 2020, and we’re tracking to make that happen. Our bigger goal is to become the largest and best privately-held real estate brokerage in New England. We’re also currently working hard to increase our relocation business, and it’s really beginning to take shape. Our affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has really helped with this. We’re now regularly helping people move in and out of our area. We’re also very focused on growing in the corporate relocation space and are now getting more and more involved with hospitals and large corporations.
MP: What were some of your key strategies for growing the firm over the years?
AL: For several years, we did a massive television advertising campaign. When the market wasn’t good, it produced a lot of leads; when the market got hotter, it didn’t generate nearly as many leads, but it worked wonders for us with branding. We’ve always focused hard on producing leads for agents, and that won’t change in the years to come. Training has probably been the biggest single contributor to our success over the last five years.
MP: Training is clearly a cornerstone of your company’s success. How does it work, and what makes it different from any other training an agent can get?
AL: People always ask, “What are you doing differently with your training?” and I always say, “Our training programs are real.” It’s important to train on the real struggles that agents have, the real situations they encounter during a sale, and the real objections they hear. We essentially walk agents down the path of walking a consumer down the path of buying or selling. I’m the main sales trainer, but our management team also handles a lot of it, especially with the newer agents. We’re doing more training in one month than most companies do in a year. We now have much of our training available in a video library, too, and the agents love that.
MP: Obviously, you’re onto something since you’re now offering your REAL Training to other brokerages, correct?
AL: Yes. We began offering our training sessions nationally in late 2016 over a live broadcast feed. Our national customers are being taught the same courses as our agents—at the same time. On any given Wednesday, we have between five to 10 locations tuned in and well over a hundred agents participating. It’s real and it’s live. We have a big TV in the back of the training room where we can see who’s participating from other companies and interact with them. We also recently started offering our weekly training by video since not everyone could adhere to our Wednesday schedule, which is especially tough for those on the West Coast with the time difference.
MP: Can agents also access your training online?
AL: Yes, they can get a taste of it, along with a ton of good tips, by liking our Crush It in Real Estate page on Facebook, or they can get even more by visiting our new training website, CrushItInRE.com.
MP: And training is essential to deal with market changes. How are current conditions in your area?
AL: The market undoubtedly slowed down at the end of August and has been at a slower speed ever since. Falls have been slower for over five years now, but I do think there’s a change in the air, which you can see in the numbers as inventory has increased by a noticeable amount. Sellers have ruled the roost for about three years, and now there’s going to be more balance in the market. I think it’s a good thing, because too many sellers were getting too cocky and too many agents were getting complacent. This market change is good news for buyers and it will produce more sales for all of us come spring.
MP: What’s the opportunity in this scenario for REALTORS®?
AL: When homes don’t sell quite as fast, there’s a big opportunity for being an expert. When the market is too hot, sellers will hire anyone who gives them a discount because most REALTORS® can get the seller’s home sold. When the market’s tough, good agents rise to the top; therefore, when the market was bad, our company grew the most. I have zero fear of a market slowdown because our REALTORS® and staff are better trained than any others.
MP: Besides your training program, how else do you help your agents succeed?
AL: Where do I even start? There’s a lot! We pride ourselves on offering agents an array of products, services and tools to help them grow their businesses.
MP: Can you expand on each in more detail?
AL: Sure. When I say products, I mean all different kinds of leads, from the typical online buyer leads to relocation leads, to leads generated from our TV advertising, and more. Lead products are usually more appealing to newer agents, but not always. For example, relocation clients require, and are usually more appealing to, more experienced agents.
We’ve really focused on growing our menu of services over the last two years. These are mostly for agents who are doing more business and need the help to stay caught up and get ahead. We offer Listing and Buyer Assistance, where an administrative assistant works with an agent throughout the sales process. We also offer Prelist Services, where we handle pictures, floor plans, hanging of the sign and lockbox, sending out Just Listed postcards, creating brochures, and more. Our Showing Partners program, which was custom-built on our CRM, is much like Uber, where agents request coverage on a showing appointment or home inspection and another agent can claim it and get paid to do it. More recently, we began offering Marketing Services, where we handle social media and mailing campaigns on behalf of the agents who opted in for it. None of this is free, but nothing good is ever free.
The tools we offer mostly involve technology, like our custom-built CRM and several other solutions that our agents love.
MP: So, you’re really setting agents up for success…
AL: Exactly. An agent who joins our firm will, on average, increase their income by 318 percent in their first 12 months compared to their prior 12 months at a previous firm. Newer agents are more attracted to leads and training; more experienced agents are attracted to services and how we can help better their business so they can have more personal time, which they value most; and we really work hard to help them achieve that.
MP: What role does your leadership team play in your agents’ success?
AL: I have the best leadership team in the business, period. Almost all of them have sold a significant amount of homes. Many were my stars when we were a team model years ago. They’re determined to make sure we’re the best there is, and they’re the true reason we are. They’re also always in touch with our agents to support them at a level that doesn’t exist at other companies. Our top agents recognize this, and many of them have also become leaders in the company, which is very helpful to me—and I appreciate them for it.
MP: How would you describe your leadership philosophy?
AL: My leadership philosophy is to lead by example. I work hard and make things happen, and they follow suit. I do all I can to support them so that they can support our staff and agents. They’re all dedicated to making sure we’re better than our competition, because we have to be. We’re always working hard to make our agents’ lives easier, and we do that by providing unique products, services and tools that others don’t and can’t. It’s a lot of work to provide all that, but it’s necessary because we’re going head-to-head with some very worthy competition.
MP: What are some of your most innovative marketing strategies? How are they helping you connect with consumers?
AL: We’re big believers in social media, both Lamacchia Realty for buyers and sellers, and Crush It in Real Estate for REALTORS®. We put out tons of content, which has been a big part of our success. I do a significant amount of video content and blogging myself. If you educate buyers, sellers and REALTORS®, they’ll be attracted to you.
MP: How do you stay ahead of the curve on technology?
AL: We built our own custom CRM on the Salesforce platform and it does everything for agents. It creates plans, triggers automated reminders and emails…things you’d never think about needing or wanting until you start using it. It helps make our agents, staff and management team more efficient and productive, and they can all conveniently access it anywhere through a mobile app.
MP: What’s on deck for the future of the firm?
AL: Big things. We’ll build an empire. I guarantee it.
Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.