A seasoned lettings specialist with over 30 years’ experience, Lesley Cairns certainly knows a thing or two about the housing market. After working her way up the ladder at a prolific property company, Cairns took a career break to bring up her two children before joining Hamptons in 2006. Appointed managing director in 2017, she has taken the luxury estate and letting agent from strength to strength, and has no plans to stop there...
What sets Hamptons apart from other property agents?
First, our people: we have a unique culture that I’m really proud of. Even though we’re a big business, we have created an inclusive, supportive environment and even refer to ourselves internally as the “Hamptons Family”. I believe our customers benefit from this ethos. Moving is emotional and can be stressful, so we work to deliver the very best experience for our customers. Collectively, our people make up what is essentially a one-stop shop, meaning we can cover all property needs. We even have a 24/7 service run through our client service department, who take calls at all hours, from all time zones. Second, our network: we have 90 branches, with our teams working together across all disciplines and regions to ensure we provide our customers with the best advice at every stage of their property journey. Third, our heritage: we recently celebrated our 150th birthday. People choose Hamptons because of that heritage; 15 decades of accumulated experience of helping people move!
And what about its team?
We recruit and retain the best in the industry. Our people are key to our success. I’m passionate about maintaining a culture where people are respected and valued; where ideas can flourish and outstanding results and behaviour can be celebrated. I’m about to take a group of top-achieving people sailing around the Isle of Wight, for instance. Most people who come to Hamptons stay for years. We have an all-female leadership team. I’m a big believer in opportunities for women.
As MD, what does your role involve?
The success of the business is my responsibility, meaning I direct company operations and give strategic guidance to the management board. Communication is key and no two days are ever the same — it’s such a varied role. My biggest challenge is the unpredictable nature of the market.
Your biggest work achievement to date?
The brand refresh we carried out in 2020, which was very exciting. We have an amazing brand — it’s well recognised, it’s well respected — but we wanted to give it a fresh new look. It’s so important to evolve.