Underestimate Keller Williams at Your Own Risk – INMAN NEWS

Transparency, Sharing & Peer Teaching Core to Company’s Success

By Brad Inman of Inman News –  In 2005, two years before the U.S. housing market collapsed, Keller Williams co-founder and company guru and evangelist Gary Keller sent an email to his troops with the warning that “storm clouds are coming.”
The evidence is in: After two decades of real estate industry innuendo, gossip and cheap shots, real estate giant Keller Williams has not only defied the critics but has begun to dust many of its competitors, growing at warp speed with a strong mix of culture and a business model that is winning.
In the past two years, Keller Williams has grown its agent count from 78,303 to 110,447, an increase of 41 percent. During that time, it became the largest real estate franchise in North America. Keller Williams is growing at approximately four times the rate of membership as the National Association of Realtors.
Keller Williams is demonstrating that it is a very smart company, hiding behind its humble and sometimes folksy corporate imagery, and it is executing on its vision with deliberateness and on its plan that does not waver too much, including its unapologetic commitment to the agent.

 

“KW provides agents with lead generation, team building and economic models necessary to build a successful business, with the brand being the agent or team, NOT KW,” said top producing agent Sue Sue Adler, CEO, The Sue Adler Team Courtesy: Keller WilliamsAdler, who also is the founder of Hear it Direct. She credits Keller with spawning a spirit of entrepreneurship at the company that encouraged her very successful HID initiative.
Around KW headquarters, feel-good slogans are common, but harder-nose axioms like lead with revenue are also part of the firms results-driven culture. It is that artful mix of a fanciful vision with repeatable business tactics that has suddenly made the company the real estate franchise to watch, emulate and catch up with.
Poised for growth
KW’s actions during the Great Recession put in place a foundation for industry-leading growth when the housing market began to recover two years ago.
“Through its efforts, Keller Williams emerged from the recession in a strong competitive position,” reads a case study from the Stanford Business School from 2011. “While its top three competitors (Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and Re/Max) closed a combined 160 offices, Keller Williams grew its office count from 660 in 2007 to 680 by 2010. While Keller Williams boosted its agent count, these competitors shed 38,000 agents.”
These impressive results also are changing how the company maps outs its future and its image. Company leaders emphasize their systems and a unique business model and less on the touchy-feely messages that the firm has been known for. They have also toned down their profit-sharing mantra that sometimes was described by its most cynical detractors as at best a multilevel marketing promise and at worse a pyramid scheme.
“Regarding profit sharing, people who are not in KW really don’t understand it. At other real estate companies you are only as good as your last sale,” said Adler. “Not here.”
Chris Heller, President, Keller Williams Courtesy: Keller WilliamsKW President Worldwide Chris Heller added, “Profit sharing creates a dynamic where everyone is on the same footing. Instead of people sitting across from each other fighting over commissions, we are all on the same page.”
In the past 12 months, the company shared $91.8 million with its agents through its Profit Share and Growth Share programs. Since the Profit Share program’s inception in 1996, the company has distributed $500 million through its equity-sharing program.
The Keller Williams operating model relies on economies of scale and a cultural model that relies on, “the principles of profit sharing, interdependence and success through the efforts of others,” according to the Stanford Case.
How it works
In mid-1980s, Gary Keller operated his small real estate company in Austin,Texas. At the time, he discovered that he was losing his top agents to a rapidly growing Re/Max franchise in the area. Re/Max was offering 100 percent commission, which made Keller Williams’ 50 percent splits look meager. Keller then created a system that would encourage people to stay, but more importantly it provided a sustainable competitive advantage in the real estate brokerage industry.
Disciplined splits are a big part of the KW formula, not 100 percent agents wandering around, say company officials.
From the Stanford case:
The commission split that Keller Williams offered agents is a hybrid of that offered by traditional franchises and 100 percent commission organizations. The Keller Williams agent/Keller Williams Realty receives a 70/30 commission split from the first dollar of gross commission income (GCI) generated. The agent was responsible for paying a franchise fee to the international office each year, which was capped at $3,000. The agent was also responsible for paying a fee to the market center, referred to as company dollar. The company dollar was also capped, at a level that varied by region, with areas with high average home prices having a higher cap to account for the general higher cost of doing business in such areas.
Keller Williams offers a second source of income — profit share — to its agents. The formula is based on: each agent recruited to the company, the productivity of those agents, and the cash profits generated by each market center. This formula gives agents credit not only for the productivity of agents they directly recruited but also agents that those agents recruited in an elaborate step function that extends seven levels. All market centers used the same profit share calculation:
  • 25 percent of the first $2,990 in market center profit is contributed to the profit share pool
  • 35 percent of the next $8,250 is then contributed to the pool
  • 50 percent of any profit above $11,240 is also contributed to the pool
Importantly, a Keller Williams agent who retired from the company would continue to receive profit share so long as the agents they recruited remained with the company. This policy represented a rare form of residual income in an industry where agents typically saw their income stop entirely upon retirement.
Guru, motivator with cult-like following
In 2002, Gary Keller delivered a speech at the Inman Real Estate Connect conference.
The procedure for speakers was to enter from behind the stage in a formal, somewhat typical way for professional events. I explained the protocol to Gary, but he said he preferred to enter from the back of the room. “Egads,” I thought, “like a prizefighter before a boxing match.”
He ignored my direction and entered from the back.
That moment gave me pause about Gary Keller — was he some sort of evangelist or egomaniac, or was this episode instead symbolic of his true feelings about the industry, come up from the ranks (in this case the agents in the audience) not making a grand entrance from behind the stage like some big shot?
“Gary has an incredible mind,” said longtime business associate Paul Wylie, co-manager of Wystein Opportunity Fund LLC, a residential real estate investment fund. “He understands the importance of continually improving, is a natural teacher and has a long-term horizon that is unparalleled in real estate.”
Despite hero worship inside KW, Keller is also known for being a tough taskmaster and a tad awkward in social settings. He occupies an office in the basement of KW headquarters in Austin, again reinforcing his contrarian style.
Keller is treated like a guru inside the KW “family,” which is why some cynical outsiders whisper the word cult. But that is a cheap shot — the company has built an enviable culture and a seemingly bulletproof business model that many smart people believe in. Unlike a pyramid scheme or even a shaky multilevel marketing operation, KW is a business machine that is driven by a strong and passionate culture, which accounts for its staggering growth in shaky times.
Agent adulation

 

“I am with Keller Williams because Gary Keller wrote the millionaire real estate agent book,” said KW top producer Ben Kinney, who won the Inman Innovator Award in 2014. “After reading the MREA book I learned that Gary didn’t mean to name it millionaire real estate agent — what he meant was MRE Ben Kinney, CEO, The Bem Kinney Real Estate Team Courtesy: Keller WilliamsBusiness. “KW s the only company that talks to, trains, and promotes the individual agents business and brand — most other brands believe they are the brand that give agents validity. Not Keller Williams,” he said.
From the outside, KW appears insulated and admittedly private about its affairs and therefore somewhat of an enigma. When I asked Keller Williams President Chris Heller about the private nature of the company, he said, “People first, results follow, and they speak for themselves.”
Though known for its humility in the industry — never being too loud or to full of itself — Keller Williams seems a little more anxious to tell its story, something it does well internally.
Inside the company, transparency, sharing and peer teaching is core to the company’s success and culture.
“KW’s sharing culture expands my mind on a daily basis,” said Adler. “The top agents in the country willingly share their secrets — the learning never stops.”
The words for me that may best describe Keller Williams is earnest enthusiasm. That helps any strategy become a winning plan.
Article by Brad Inman of Inman News and can be viewed in it’s original format at: Underestimate Keller Williams at Your Own Risk

Keller Williams Realty Tops 100,000

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Personal Take:  It has been amazing to see and be part of the growth of the company.  Since joining in 2004 it has definitely been a rocket ride to the top.  The biggest accomplishment in my opinion?  Being able, as a company, to keep our culture and value system intact.

Keller Williams, the largest real estate franchise in North America by associate count, announced that as of the end of April, 2014, its worldwide associate count has broken the 100,000 mark at 100,575.

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“One hundred thousand is such an important milestone for us because it signals that we are on the verge of becoming the largest real estate company in the world!” said Vice President of Growth John Davis. “Of all the numbers we track, associate count is by far the most important to our model, and we can clearly see that our growth trajectory far surpasses the industry and what any other company in our industry is doing. It’s this growth that has driven our offices to record-breaking profitability and massive productivity gains for our agents.”

During the first quarter of 2014, Keller Williams has already grown by 2.8 percent while membership in the National Association of REALTORS® has shrunk by 2.4 percent. The company’s growth has now outpaced the growth of NAR for 21 consecutive months (every month since July 2012), according to membership numbers on NAR’s Website.

In 2013, NAR as a whole grew by 5 percent. According to public filings by the other major franchises in the industry, RE/MAX grew by 4.7 percent, Century 21 by 3.5 percent and Coldwell Banker by 3.3 percent. During the same time period, Keller Williams experienced 18 percent associate growth.

“Our leadership team and our entire associate base are fired up right now,” said Keller Williams CEO Mark Willis. “Our continued growth over the last few years proves that our models, systems and people are unmatched in the industry. Our leaders are proving that if you believe in a goal and work relentlessly toward it – you can make it happen!”

Last year, Keller Williams announced that it had become the largest real estate franchise by associate count in North America, as well as its intention to grow to No. 1 in the world by associate count, followed by closed units, and then by closed sales volume.

At the end of 2013, KW also announced:

Posted on May 7, 2014 by adminkwblog

KW Honolulu Officially Opens

Young couple looking for real estate with female realtor

Young couple looking for real estate with female realtorPersonal note: I had the opportunity to come out and train the core group of agents on eEdge technology in January, 2014.  What a smart, motivated group of agents and the leadership/ownership at the office/regional level is amazing.    They will have tremendous success in helping their clients and achieving their personal/office goals.  I look forward to coming out and training again in the near future.

Article from Bill Cresenzo

Keller Williams Realty is opening a full-service franchise in Honolulu this week, with Kevin Miyama, the immediate past president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, leading a group of 140 agents he and co-leader Colette Ching have been quietly recruiting for the past eight months.

Miyama and Ching, a Hawaii native who started her career here and has spent more than 25 years in California with Coldwell Banker and Keller Williams, will open a 7,000-square- foot office at 1347 Kapiolani Blvd., on Wednesday.

“We kept it on the down low for quite some time,” Ching said. “We basically do all of our reruiting before we open our offices.”

Miyama has has spent the past two-and-a-half years with Prudential Locations, where he was a business coach. Before that, he spent nine years at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties as an assistant area office manager.

Miyama said that his former boss, Prudential Locations CEO Bill Chee, knew about his plans to leave, but Miyama said that he did not recruit from Prudential because of a non-compete clause.

“I just respected Bill and what he had done for me, and I stayed within the confines of my non-compete clause,” Miyama said.

Keller Williams already has an office on Maui. It had a satellite office on Oahu that closed last August, Miyama said, adding the new office is the company’s first full-service franchise on Oahu.

The franchise now has 114 listings. About 35 of its agents are newly licensed, Ching said.

Bill Cresenzo covers residential real estate and transportation issues for Pacific Business News.

Keller Williams Realty’s Google Migration Largest in Real Estate History

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It’s not just industry-leading technology like eEdge – the all-in-one lead-to-close agent business solution – that’s setting Keller Williams Realty apart. Innovative at its core, the company has embarked on a new mission: moving away from its old Webmail system to a highly collaborative and incredibly flexible communication and productivity platform.

Creating innovative products and solutions for 93,000 associates scattered across four continents doesn’t happen easily. Which is why Keller Williams enlisted the help of Google’s Enterprise solutions.

Nathan Rader, Keller Williams Realty’s Southwest Google Apps sales manager, has been with Google for almost six years. He’s had his hands in more than 20 migrations, moving organizations of all shapes and sizes – including a real estate investment and property group with 3,000 employees – over to Google’s cloud-based enterprise infrastructure.

The KW Blog Editorial Team spoke with Rader recently to find out what it took to move Keller Williams associates over to Google Apps for Business and how agents can get up and running on their core Gmail, Calendar, Drive and Talk Apps.

What made Keller Williams Realty’s migration unique?

Rader: I’ve never seen an organization so focused on using technology and innovation as a competitive advantage for numerous people distributed over disperse geographic locations.

How many Google team members worked on the KW migration?

Rader: Six team members from Google have been involved in this project. As you might expect with a project of this scale, the team hailed from all over the country, including Fort Worth and Austin, Texas as well as Mountainview, Calif.

You attended Mega Camp 2013. What was your impression of our second largest event?

Rader: Mega Camp was an absolutely incredible experience. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak to over 10,000 agents. The excitement and passion for their business was infectious. I could smell in the air the love for KW and building a legacy in their local real estate market.

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Nathan Rader speaking at Keller Williams Realty’s Mega Camp in September 2013

What were the most popular questions you received at the KW Technology booth?

Rader: The most prevalent question was, “How soon can I get this?” I also had a lot of people interested in how all the contacts will be synced to their smart phones.

And how can they?

Rader: It’s actually pretty simple. And while I won’t go into exact details here, agents can find directions on the myKW Intranet or by visiting the recommended Google Labs.

What’s your favorite KW Google Apps for Business feature?

Rader: I am still amazed by the speed and relevance of the search function across the products. I have totally changed the way I work and no longer use folders to organize anything. I love being messy in my email and just lazily leaning on Google to help me find anything I need, fast.

What tips do you have for our associates during the first 30 days?

Rader: Don’t be afraid to try new things. Take 15 minutes a week to play around with all the features, labs and tools. I promise your agents they will find at least two things that they can’t live without.

Just like KW, we understand culture is a big part of Google. What’s your favorite thing about the Google culture?

Rader: I love the openness and transparency of our culture. We are provided an incredible amount of insight and knowledge about all the good and the bad. I love being able to see what is going on behind the scenes of such a fascinating company.

Why Choose Keller Williams

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“The greatest transfer of wealth and opportunity are in down cycles not up cycles. What you feel about your market is one thing. How you deal with it is another.” -Gary Keller, Founder & Chairman of the Board

Most Important Secret of The Real Estate Industry:

A National Association of Realtors survey of consumers determined that 86% chose a real estate firm for no other reason than because of an individual agent. This fact is proven time and time again. Whenever an agent switches from one brokerage to the next, ‘their’ clients follow. YOU are the reason people do business with you and you should build your career on this fact! At Keller Williams Realty, we recognize that the agents are the reason we do business. Our agent-centric business model is based on the belief system that the agents should be treated like partners. As stakeholders in the company, our agents:

  • Share in the profits. In 2012, Keller Williams Realty distributed over $55 million in profit share to KW associates…in a down economy!
  • Learn how to generate their own leads and run their own real estate business, so that they can create the leverage needed to create careers worth having, businesses worth owning and lives worth living.
  • Take home more of their commissions with our unique commission structure.
  • Are empowered to take leadership positions that impact the direction of the their office and the company. Only national real estate company that ‘opens the books’ to the agents.
  • Share their ideas, secrets and models by teaching the training and educational classes***

 ***It is this unique culture, that continues to be the greatest benefit of affiliating with our company. By sharing ideas, all of our businesses go to a higher level, thus creating more profit sharing for the office and the agents. A True Win-Win! This is what gives our agents an advantage over other agents at more traditional companies, where typically an agent’s greatest competition is within their own company and office. As a result of this innovative model, the secret of our growth (Now the 2nd largest real estate company in the N. America!) continues to be our high level of agent productivity and agent retention.

KW Technology

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One of the greatest expenses real estate agents can face in their real estate career, is the ongoing costs of utilizing the essential technologies for effectively running a successful real estate business.   These real estate technology tools can range from online lead generation to database management to real estate transaction management.   A recent poll revealed that the average real estate associate pays approximately $315+ a month for technology tools. On the other hand, Keller Williams real estate associates pay only $15 a month for KW eEdge and $10 a month for KW eAgentC.  Get an inside look below at the breadth of KW | Technology available to KW associates versus industry standards.

What is KW eEdge?

 

The Real Estate Industry’s First & Only Complete Lead To Close Realtor Business Solution

 

 

KW eEdge is the real estate industry’s first and only complete lead-to-close agent business solution — including a full realtor lead management system, contact management system, customizable marketing library and a paperless real estate transaction workflow. Exclusively for KW associates, Keller Williams eEdge saves our real estate sales associates time, money, and effort by reducing redundancies in their work day and allowing our real estate agents to do what they do best — list and sell homes and shine with their clients.

 

 

How Four Little Words Changed My Career

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We have all experienced challenging times in the midst of our real estate journey. Mine came in August 1974 as I began my real estate career.  My year’s hard work had produced no closings and my real estate future looked dismal. I turned to God in deep discouragement and asked for a positive sign–just 3 valid transactions during the month of August. At the same time I enrolled in graduate school, preparing to return to the field of education.

The month slowly passed day by day. Then August 27 and 28 brought great hope with the sale of my only listing plus a first-time-buyer.  My prayers were being answered–I was now two transactions down, had one to go and a full three days remaining! Perhaps real estate was the career for me.

August 29 and 30 came and went without any activity and I became angry. How could I fall just one transaction short of my goal?  I needed more faith and more patience. At 10:00 a.m. a phone call changed everything-it was a buyer.  I showed them two homes and truly felt as if there was magic in the air.  My third transaction was about to materialize. After all these months, I felt as if real estate success was within my grasp.

My joy quickly disappeared when the client told me they could not buy from me because they had been previously working with Lillie Mae Tillman, another local agent. She had shown them numerous homes and bought them lunches and dinners. And ultimately they felt their loyalty had to remain with her. I knew these buyers had reached the most ethical decision, but I was heartbroken. I had been so close to, what I felt was success. It was the lowest moment in my real estate career.

At 7:30 that evening the clients called me with the news that during a conversation with Lillie Mae, she had told them to “Do the right thing and buy the house from Mo Anderson.”  I could hardly believe what I was hearing!  Lillie Mae Tillman, an elderly, quiet, reserved Century 21 agent had changed my life with four little words – “Do the right thing”.  That was when my real estate ball began to roll.  The next six months brought 35 transactions; I went on to build my own company and then Keller Williams Realty entered my life. Through it all I have never forgotten precious, wonderful Lillie Mae Tillman and the impact her integrity had and continues to have on my life. She taught me that when we ‘do the right thing’ it is possible to literally change the course of someone’s life.

As we enter a new decade, let’s renew our commitment to ‘do the right thing’ in all aspects of our lives.  And, just as our integrity is able to impact and change the course of the lives of those around us, it has the power to change our world!

How to Become a Realtor

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So you want to be a Realtor?

Obtaining a real estate license in your state, or other states in which you may have interest in doing business is not difficult, if you know what to expect, and can fulfill the requirements. How you get a real estate license will vary from state to state, but will usually involve minimum age requirements, certain education and/or experience requirements, applications and fees, and other state-specific details. So you must be sure that you know the relevant information from your state before you get too deep in preparing for your real estate exam.

In most states and provinces, a minimum requirement to joining a real estate brokerage as a real estate sales agent is to have already earned a real estate license. In some states, however, a new agent needs to obtain a sponsoring brokerage prior to pursuing a license. Realtor licensing requirements typically involve coursework and passing a state test (Most states also require that you be a high-school graduate or hold an equivalency diploma). You can check with your state or province to find the names of licensing schools near you. Some states also require post-licensing coursework immediately after you earn your license; and most states require continuing education throughout your career to keep your license active.

Keller Williams Realty agents in the United States and Canada are required to be members of their brokerage’s local real estate board and complete certification training and contract-completion training, and perhaps additional real estate training through that board. So, if you want to be a realtor, enroll in an approved real estate licensing program through your state/province’s real estate licensing website below, and then submit your interest in a real estate career at Keller Williams Realty!

 

Congratulations Keller Williams Realty: We are #1!

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With a net gain of 12,000 associates in the past year, Keller Williams Realty is now the largest real estate franchise in North America. The announcement, based on publicly available agent count data as of September 9, 2013, was made during Keller Williams Realty’s Midyear State of the Company presentation. Keller Williams is now home to more than 90,000 associates around the world.

“We are not a company of complacency,” CEO Mark Willis said. “We have the best business model in the industry and it’s leading to increased productivity, profitability and profit sharing that are at all-time highs for our company and unrivaled in our industry.”

In recent months, Keller Williams Realty has shattered its monthly records for listings taken, contracts written, commissions earned, owner profit and profit share:

  • Year over year, units are up 8 percent, closed volume is up 17 percent and gross commission income is up 18 percent.
  • Ninety-five percent of the company’s offices are profitable year to date – a figure that far outpaces the standard for franchise businesses.
  • In the past 12 months, the company has distributed $58 million in profit share to associates, a 33 percent increase over the previous year.

The strong growth, productivity and profitability gains follow a year of milestones for the company:

  • The release of the Keller Williams mobile app – personally branded for each of the company’s 90,000 associates. In the past 30 days, more than 58,000 consumers have downloaded the app to their Apple and Android devices.
  • Publication of co-founder Gary Keller’s new book, The ONE Thing, which has appeared on 117 bestseller lists, including The New York Times, where it has been on the business bestseller list for 5 months, and The Wall Street Journal, where it earned the #1 spot.

Willis used concepts from The ONE Thing to illustrate his presentation, which took place at Mega Camp, the real estate industry’s premier educational and networking event for top producers. “Keller Williams leaders, what you’re doing is lining up a perfect domino run,” he said. “Being #1 in agent count in the United States was our first domino. We’re on our way to knocking over bigger and bigger dominos until we’re #1 in agent count, transactions and volume all across the world.”

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Keller Williams Worldwide President Chris Heller also announced the company’s expansion into the United Kingdom. In recent years, the company’s global division has announced franchise agreements in Austria, Germany, Indonesia, Southern Africa, Switzerland, Turkey and Vietnam. Heller touted the achievements of the company’s regions outside of North America and welcomed more than 100 international guests from countries including Brazil, China, Colombia, Ghana, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Poland and Russia.

“Around the globe, entrepreneurs, brokers and agents are looking for and asking for what we offer,” Heller said. “They crave our models, systems, training and technology. And because Keller Williams can offer all of those at a level they have never seen before, we are attracting tremendous talent and gaining momentum.”

“Success leaves clues,” Keller Williams President Mary Tennant said during her State of the Culture update. “And your unprecedented achievements this year all flow from the culture of success, caring and opportunity you created and are enhancing every day.”