In today’s market, it’s important to know what buyers and sellers are looking for in their real estate company. “Buyers and sellers do not need anyone who is focused on the problems. They need a well-trained professional who maneuvers through the challenges to achieve the client’s goals,” says Mark Stark, Owner and CEO of Prudential Americana Group in Las Vegas and Prudential Arizona Properties. Read on as RISMedia’s Barbara Pronin interviews Stark about his firm’s impressive standing and unique business model.
Owner and CEO
Prudential Americana Group in Las Vegas and Prudential Arizona Properties
Barbara Pronin: Mark, please describe your firm’s current standing in the marketplace.
Mark Stark: We are the sixth largest company in Prudential’s national network and carry one of the highest per-agent productivity levels for Prudential in all of North America. Since April 2011, we have owned Prudential Arizona Properties, where our sales executives have raised their annual per-agent productivity by 2.5 points per agent. We closed approximately 12,000 transactions last year, and with our expansion into the Arizona market and our purchase of Century 21 Moneyworld late in 2011, we now have nearly 2,000 sales executives companywide, including our agent referral services.
BP: What makes your firm different than others?
MS: Rather than being a traditional brokerage, we are first and foremost a business service company. Our company concept is that each of our sales executives is operating a real estate brokerage within a large, business-to-business service company. Each sales executive begins the process knowing what his or her company wants to accomplish. Then we help put in place the specific plan of attack to achieve their goals. We provide the numerous services, technologies, recommendations, systems and leadership to help ensure the needs of the sales executives and their clients are met.
BP: How did your unusual business model develop?
MS: It developed because we were determined to prove our value to our agent base, so we asked our sales executives flat out, “In a perfect world, what would you want in a real estate company?” From their responses, we realized what they wanted most was a diverse menu of business services to support their individual business structures—and so we became a business service company, devoted to providing the front-end and back-end support systems that business-minded salespeople need.
BP: What are buyers and sellers looking for in a real estate professional?
MS: Buyers and sellers do not need anyone who is focused on the problems. They need a well-trained professional who maneuvers through the challenges to achieve the client’s goals. These are not easy objectives to reconcile in today’s world, so choosing the right company and agent has never been more important. In today’s environment, with all of its short sale, investment, foreclosure and financing issues, consumers need an agent who can negotiate every potential pitfall.
BP: How are you attracting and retaining top-producing agents?
MS: The sales executives who work with us succeed at a higher level. Each and every year, we have the numbers to back up our success and demonstrate that our model works for our agents and their clients. Our model is not for everyone. We look for people who are truly committed to their business and their careers. We believe a company succeeds because of a combination of support, systems, training, quality management and leadership.
BP: In your opinion, Mark, what do agents need to focus on most today?
MS: They need to begin by realizing they are the CEO of their mindset. Every thought and decision matters. They need to get clear on what they want to accomplish and build a plan that supports the successful outcome they desire. Success is not sexy. It is a combination of clarity and consistency. Stop focusing on the next best super tool and get back to business. Everything the sales executive does should tie back to their income goal and plan of attack. Surround yourself with an environment that supports success and winning. Measure your success in numbers and, finally, never stop growing and learning.
BP: How has your technology evolved to meet the needs of agents and consumers?
MS: Technology creates efficiency and helps create clarity in areas that would simply take too long to do manually. If there are tools that tie back to your business plan and will help you be more efficient and better communicate with your clients and vendors, absolutely give it a look. Prudential’s Online Selling Advantage (OSA) is a fantastic tool that lets our sales executives communicate new listings and listings sold information to their sphere whether they are in the market or not. Other tools we offer and promote deal with lead generation, lead follow-up, and providing up-to-the-minute real estate information via RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN), available through our website.
BP: How do you see the remainder of the year shaping up?
MS: Our mantra at the company is, “It is never the market. It is always us.” I am bullish on 2012 because we will succeed regardless of the market. However, I must add that I thoroughly believe that in my lifetime, we will never again see real estate opportunities like we are seeing today. Home prices and interest rates are at all-time lows. This is absolutely resonating with consumers and investors.
BP: And finally, Mark, what are your plans for continuing to grow the company?
MS: We continue to look for more merger and acquisition opportunities that will fit with our culture and business model. We welcome experienced agents looking to take their business to the next level—and people with a desire to learn and enter an exciting new career. We have our own real estate school, we offer scholarships, and we are confident that our business service model is the right concept for maximizing sales executive growth and success.
For more information, visit www.lasvegashomes.americanagroup.com.