In the following interview, Mark Stark, Owner and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada and Arizona Properties offers insight on building success, branding, and meeting high demands.
Barbara Pronin: What are the factors that have driven your success over the years?
Mark Stark: Starting as an agent gave me the skills and insight to understand what it truly takes to succeed in real estate sales, and later, as I advanced in management, I was fortunate to have numerous mentors helping me hone my leadership and business skills. By 2001, the principles, business lessons and insights I received from my sales executives and others helped to create the business service model we still adhere to today. It’s a model designed to help our sales executives grow their own brokerages under the umbrella of the company. Whether as individuals or a team, we provide them with the business skill sets, training and overall mindset it takes to maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
BP: How would you characterize your company’s positioning in the markets you serve?
MS: We currently have approximately 2,000 sales executives in 22 offices, and while we have always been a market leader in Nevada and Arizona, our rebranding to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, one of the most respected and successful companies in the world, has provided new impetus for marketshare growth and a wealth of new client opportunities. Unit sales are significantly up year-over-year, and we look forward to competing in the California market as part of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. We have three branches slated to open this year. Our first office is in Orange County—in Yorba Linda—with support operations based here in Las Vegas.
BP: With such a large and varied customer base, what are the most consistent issues consumers in your market are concerned with today?
MS: Some issues are different, of course—such as inventories and prices. However, I think the biggest challenge is staying ahead of consumer expectations and making sure we are delivering the full package of service to buyers and sellers. Consumers today want companies and agents who are efficient and highly effective at what they do. They want well-rounded professionals who will act as their advocates, protecting their interests and helping them achieve their goals, regardless of the local or national environment.
BP: What are you doing in terms of training to keep your sales force equipped to succeed?
MS: Whether it’s classroom work or face-to-face instruction, I will respectfully put our training effort up against any company in the industry, because I know how effective it is. Essentially, it’s 60 percent business training and 40 percent real estate and sales know-how. Our main focus is, ‘How do I run a successful business?’ The basics of real estate are covered, of course, but the difference between success and failure for any business owner, whether it’s running a sandwich shop or dealing in real estate, is having a solid, dependable business foundation.
BP: How has your technology evolved to meet the demands of agents and consumers?
MS: We have all the bells and whistles it takes for high-quality efficiency, from mobile and social media apps to virtual tours and interactive websites. But we will never be a “tech company” per se, in the sense that we use technology, but we don’t depend on it to win the day. We aim much higher than that. We aim to earn the loyalty of our clientele through impeccable quality and personalized service.
BP: In your opinion, what is it that helps your agents build successful brokerages?
MS: A combination of commitment, willingness to learn, and personal growth. Good agents ask themselves every day, ‘How can I position myself to be better at what I do?’ They know they will improve under the right leadership, in the right environment, and with personal accountability for meeting their own goals. We maintain a position as a business consultant to our agents, helping them adjust their own models so they can succeed at their own pace and to their desired level.
BP: What are your plans for continuing to grow your company?
MS: I’m excited that our affiliation with Berkshire Hathaway continues to open new paths for us and new opportunities for growth, including the current expansion of our footprint into Southern California. My plan going forward is to continue to support our current business service model. It’s a model that continues to drive our growth and maximize the success of our sales executives’ businesses. I am also open to identifying smart acquisition targets that offer a good fit with our culture and our company.