We had the good fortune of connecting with Lee Tonks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lee, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor in any business should always be those that you serve, your clients. Building any business should be looked at as a marathon rather than a sprint, many real estate agents use the mantra and it’s acronym “Always be Closing, ABC”, I disagree with this. Closing a sale is a good thing, don’t get me wrong, but it should never be at the expense of your client. There have been times that I have advised my clients to walk away from a deal or to not buy a particular property, even though I would have made a substantial amount of money from them purchasing the property. I always give clear and sound reasons as to why I believe any given deal might be a bad deal, however ultimately it is always my clients decision and I make that point very clear. My clients usually take my advice as it’s based on experience and quite frankly my clients trust me, perhaps, for this very reason. I have found by conducting my business in this manner I build relationships that are long lasting. I can say with confidence that once you are my client, you are always my client. This philosophy in how I treat my clients is not a strategy, it isn’t something that I read in a book, it’s simply who I am as a person, I have integrity and sleeping well at night is very important to me.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I got my Real estate license 13 years ago during a time when I was developing a master franchise system for a company that I had started from scratch, the business concept had multiple locations in Los Angeles and as I opened more locations I thought it would be a good business strategy if I got my own real estate license and learned about real estate. Eventually I branched out into what became a fully fledged real estate company. I sold my other venture and since that day I have dedicated my time to growing my real estate business. My client base includes everyone from A list celebrities to fortune 50 companies. I have been very fortunate that my business has been practiced in Los Angeles, where the average residential home sale runs into the millions. On the commercial side I broke records with many commercial leases on the world famous Abbot Kinney Blvd, Over the last 10 years I’ve typically always had a for lease or for sale sign hung up on one building or another on Abbot Kinney Blvd, which has helped catapult the commercial side of my real estate business into the upper echelons of commercial real estate. I pride myself on the fact that whether I’m representing a fortune 50 company on a multi million dollar acquisition or a family venturing into home ownership for the first time I give the same exemplary service to each and every client that I represent.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I always like to show friends from out of town what I consider to be the “other side of LA” the side that most of the people who live here don’t actually take advantage of. I’d start with a hike in Temescal canyon, a stroll along El Matador state beach in Malibu or a hike up to the lagoon at Malibu Creek state park. I definitely try and get them in the water with a surf lesson at Surfrider in Malibu, then dinner at one of the restaurants at the Terranea resort in Palos Verdes. A work out at Gold’s Gym in Venice is on the list of must do’s, a boxing lesson with 4 time champ, and my ex sparring partner Ricky Quiles, and then if it’s Christmas time, which is when many of my family and friends come to visit from London, I’d definitely take them out to see Ms Debbie Allen’s The Hot Chocolate Nutcraker.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife and kids, they are why I do what I do, I have always tried to surround myself with people who in one way or another are, in my opinion, better than me, Tony Pownall, Kevin Smith, Gary Morgan, Jack Kindberg, Ms Debbie Allen, Dean Shendal, Chris Conlan, Ricky Quiles and of course my incredible wife Tanya Tammaya.