Steven Barks is the President & COO of Worth Clark Realty. Steven Barks is a thought leader, influencer, and risk taker, and provides the vision and energy that has inspired the creation of Worth Clark Realty. Steven Barks joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has awarded Worth Clark Realty as an Impact Company of 2019, and we are delighted to have Steven join us for our Leader Round Table Interview. The Worth Clark Realty story is very interesting, and we are very excited to not only interview Steven about his very successful business and entrepreneurial spirit, but also put Steven through our popular speed round as well.
Steven, thank so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview, and answering some questions about leadership, your vision, and your Worth Clark Realty.
1. Can you describe what the “elevator pitch” for Worth Clark Realty is?
We more sell our services to real estate agents, and then real estate agents package themselves as a service to their clients. So, here is our pitch to a prospective agent who might want to join our brokerage: Worth Clark is a platform designed for the entrepreneurial agent who wants to run their business the way they want to. We provide you the support, technology, compensation plan, and the freedom that allows you to truly “do you”. Gone are the days of sitting in a cubicle, charging a standard commission rate, attending pointless sales meetings, doing things by hand, and then giving your broker half of your pay check. At Worth Clark, agents can offer the services they want, negotiate their rates, brand themselves, and truly be the driver of their business. They are provided support 7 days a week with incredible technology that organizes and automates their business, all while working from any where they want.”
2. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give CEO’s just starting out regarding keeping a company moving forward, and please tell us the key to your company’s success?
If you haven’t been yet, there will be a point where you become overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by all the things you think you should be doing, or that you think you should have to know. If you’re one that has to research everything before making a decision, success will be hard or will seem very far away, or even out of reach. Make decisions quickly on things that aren’t important, and put your effort into the things that move the needle of the company.
3. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as Worth Clark Realty, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
Get back to the basics. Identify your goal and work backwards to figure out what you need to do to achieve that goal. Focus on those things that you can measure, and put the rest of the noise aside in a bucket to revisit in the future.
4. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at Worth Clark Realty, and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
Our first original core value of the company was “Focus on the customer experience.” This set the tone so that no matter what situation an employee might be in, we should first think about the situation the customer is in. Since we came out with our first list of core values, we actually changed this one to “Deliver an exceptional customer experience.” Once we developed a culture of customer-first thinking, we decided to take it to the next level. Instead of just focusing on the customer experience, we now MUST deliver an exceptional experience. Anything less would not be living up to our values as a company. Of course it’s impossible to make everyone completely happy, but it doesn’t mean we can’t proactively try.
5. What is the one overriding belief that Worth Clark Realty has about what it is doing?
There are a lot of brokerages out there that all pitch the same exact things, but we believe we are unique in that we want to provide service to our agents and clients that is second to none. From a service perspective, we want to be the Chick-fil-a of residential real estate. Exceptional service is our value, belief, and standard. We have developed our own AAA Customer Response: Acknowledge the request, Assess the problem, and Advise on the situation. This framework allows us to keep our standards very high.
6. In today’s fast changing business environment, what do you do to keep up with the changes?
What do you read to stay abreast of things? I rarely read much into great detail. News, ideas, principles, etc are not like complex math equations where one small missing piece of information derails the entire solution. I think, for me at least, you can extract the information you need from a news article rather quickly. To keep up with changes, I have a variety of outlets for general news, such as the Morning Brew and Inman News. For news more specific to the real estate industry and the heavy regulation, there are other publications I look to, such as articles from our state regulating agencies, our local Realtor associations, and even insightful bloggers such as Rob Hahn.
7. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead Worth Clark Realty?
I don’t know if it’s innate, a family value, or a combination of both. What I do know, is that I was raised to do well with whatever it is I was doing. Whether that was mowing our 7 acre lawn each week, playing sports seemingly year-round, or studying for an exam. There’s no point to spending your precious time doing something half-assed. Time is finite, and you shouldn’t give it away cheaply. You also don’t get to spend all your time doing things you love (I said it). If I could eat pizza for every meal, I would, because I don’t always like spending a lot of time cooking or meal prepping for the week. However, eating right and exercising gives me the energy and stamina to do a great job at the office or in my personal life.
8. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
Rich Dad, Poor Dad was a book that I read right before I graduated college, and it flipped my world upside down. I would recommend that book to anyone because it really gives you the foundation you need to just start thinking differently. However, it was about 9 months later that I read Atlas Shrugged, and I think this one has been more influential over my career and my life. It’s a hard book to gift to others because it’s 1000 pages long and people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them it’s fantastic. Anyways, I think there is a common misconception that people who name this particular book as a “favorite” are self-centered or even greedy, but I think it’s quite the opposite. I think this book is all about taking responsibility for yourself and your actions. I can’t think of anything more greedy than to be given something you don’t deserve, or more self-centered than living recklessly for others to clean up after you. If you can first take care of yourself, only then can you start giving back to those who need help.
9. In one sentence, can you tell us what the most important thing about being a leader is?
Inspiring others to see what you see, whether that’s the bigger picture of the company, or the potential you see within someone.
10. In one sentence, can you give some advice to fellow entrepreneurs wishing to build a company as exciting as Worth Clark Realty?
Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring.” This is a Johan Cruyff quote, but I think it summarizes building a company wonderfully. If you have a great product or service, but no one buys it, it’s pointless. And, if people are buying your product or service reluctantly, where’s the fun in that? Sorry for the long answer!
Steven, we would like to have some fun and do our famous “First Reaction” round with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only.
Here you go!
1. In three words or less, What makes a successful CEO?
A great listener.
2. Describe Worth Clark Realty in one word?
3. Describe Worth Clark Realty customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee for Worth Clark Realty?
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about Worth Clark Realty?
6. In three words or less, describe your Worth Clark Realty?
Continued positive growth
7. In three words or less, describe what it takes to be successful?
Confidence, education, gratitude
8. In three words or less, describe your first year in business at Worth Clark Realty?
Ignorance is bliss!
9. In three words or less, describe how running a successful company has changed you?
Be more thankful
10. What is the one word that you believe has the most power in the English Language?
Steven Barks, thank you so much for sitting down with us at our DotCom Magazine Impact Player Round Table. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping others to learn more about your company and what it takes to be a leader. We we wish you, your family, and of course Worth Clark Realty, nothing but the best.
The Steven Barks Roundtable Interview brought to you by DotCom Magazine.