“As our company grows and develops, so does our leadership team.” – David A. Barker, CEO / Qualifying Broker
Barker Realty’s strong standing in our community for over 50 years has resulted from a deep commitment to integrity and service. In 2016, David and Lisa Barker had the foresight to recognize an opportunity to improve various aspects of the company. Their decision was to form a Management Team utilizing the strengths and talents of Robert Romero, Kyle Klain and Gabrielle Vigil. “Yes, Gabs and I look very young and yes, we are highly involved in the management of the brokerage,” Kyle laughs. David joins in and teases he’s been licensed since before Kyle and Gabs were even born.
Q: How did you find yourselves in these positions?
Kyle: “It was David’s desire to manage more efficiently and deliver the greatest value to our principal clients — our Associate Brokers. Each of us brought different skills to the table — accounting and operations, compliance and administration, technology and marketing. The move to a Management Team allowed David to become less involved in the nitty gritty of the daily operations of the business and focus completely on being the best Qualifying Broker possible — solving problems and advising our Associate Brokers, and being available to them whenever they need his assistance.”
Gabs: “When we transitioned to the Management Team, we were very fortunate to have the brilliant business mind of our mentor and friend Robert Romero. He taught us to think on a daily basis, ‘What can we do better?’ Our staff has been trained to think, “How can I help our Brokers more?” The last few years have been very exciting here at Barker as we’ve created an atmosphere of innovation and strengthened our mindset of service. We began implementing programs that changed the lives of our brokers and changed what this company was driven by. Our Company Vision Statement is to help improve the lives of people through the services we offer.”
Kyle: “Robert’s biggest legacy was teaching all of us that every day is a self-improvement opportunity. Learning to support each other in meaningful ways and recognizing the importance of quality of life. He also understood that our Associate Brokers and our clients needed to drive the decisions, rather than management. That was a big shift.”
Q: How did those management changes affect operations?
Gabs: “The change allowed us to help our staff be more effective and service oriented to both our brokers and clientele. The formation of the Listing Coordinator program was a result of this transition, as well as new systems designed to enable the Transaction Coordinator program to become more efficient. Both of these programs have expanded rapidly in the last couple of years, and in return our clients have a better experience with us.”
Kyle: “Another innovative program we launched that has helped drive the success of our Associate Brokers is the Marketing Store. Because the fulfillment of marketing materials for our listings is done internally with our own printing press and design team, our turnaround time is incredible — sometimes within minutes. When you can walk down the hallway and talk directly with your marketing department, listing and transaction coordinator, it’s a lot more effective than dealing with someone in New York or Austin. Our clients certainly appreciate the responsiveness.”
Q: What are your thoughts on reasons Barker Realty is ‘different’?
Kyle: “Real estate is an interesting industry in the sense that you can go anywhere in the country and it’s the same old ads, the same old headshots, the same look and feel. From the marketing standpoint I get to oversee, I think to myself, `How can we do this differently? How can we stand out and have fun with it?’ At the heart of it, it’s just telling our story and being authentic. While we work hard, we are also a fun and creative company to work with.”
Gabs: “Education for our Brokers is another defining factor of their success. Experienced Brokers who are experts in what is going on in our local market and who are also effective problem solvers are key to navigating and solving potential issues that can cause a deal to terminate.”
Kyle: “David has always said ‘do the right thing and the results will follow’. We closed out last year with the highest average production per broker of any of the top firms in Santa Fe. We recently received an award from RatedAgent (Quality Service Certified) for top brokerages nationally — we survey all our clients post-closing and received a 98% customer satisfaction rating. I think that’s a remarkable testament to the quality of our brokers and service.”
Q: The concept of ‘culture’ gets thrown around a lot in the business world. Is that something you focus on from a manager’s perspective?
Gabs: “Yes. Absolutely. We are very protective of the culture we have here at Barker — it’s a big reason why this company is so special. A typical real estate company is focused on competition and numbers within the market. People tend to operate in the mindset of scarcity, whereas at Barker we are in the mindset of abundance. We celebrate different personalities and ways of doing business. We adapt to the needs of each individual broker. Santa Fe is very diverse in terms of personalities and it’s made up of unique, creative and varying groups. Our Associate Brokers reflect the diversity of our community.”
Kyle: “Our culture ends up trickling down — to our client experiences and to our vendor experiences, to working with other brokers in the community. We want to ensure their experience is positive. Establishing a high level of trust affects the outcome of the deal when everyone is working from a place where they can rely on others and solve problems effectively.”
Gabs: “We take our business seriously but we don’t take ourselves too seriously! There’s room to be really successful at what you do, but also have a laugh and enjoy the people you work with. To find ourselves operating with 70 big personalities and to know that everyone works well together, supports each other, and looks out for one another is really amazing. That’s why culture is so important. Where else do you find that?”