How Keller Williams Became the Most Successful Brokerage in America

How Keller Williams Became the Most Successful Brokerage in America


We have recently heard of a handful of tech companies that are partnering with Keller Williams (KW) in an effort to integrate their technology with the KW agents. This comes as no surprise considering the number of agents at Keller Williams continues to rise, helping it become one of the most successful real estate companies in the country. There are a number of reasons why Keller Williams ranks as one of the top brokerages in America, and one of them is the company co-founder, who has been surprisingly successful when it comes to predicting the future of the real estate market.

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Keller Williams office, Houston

Keller Williams office, Houston

What has made Keller Williams so successful?

The entire Keller Williams organization has made incredible leaps and bounds over the past decade, assuming the top position among the many brokerages in America. Arguably the most pivotal moment came in 2006 when Gary Keller warned his fellow agents at KW that a downturn was coming to the real estate market despite the fact it was booming at the time.

The agents took to heart what Keller said. They began to reduce costs while also putting in place strategies that would help them succeed in a bad economy. The real estate market certainly struggled for the next six years, but KW was prepared.

The result is that KW was able to defy its critics with incredible preparation and business tactics, both of which allowed the company to grow significantly over the last few years. Between 2013 and 2015, for example, KW expanded from 78,000 agents to 125,000, making it the largest real estate franchise in all of North America.

The man behind the wheel: Gary Keller

Co-founder and board chairman Gary Keller now heads one of the largest estate companies in the world. He is considered an industry leader and has also written many best-selling books that are directed at entrepreneurs and small business owners. Keller’s focus and innate sense of the future of the real estate market is what helped KW survive the massive downturn in the housing market in 2008. Since then, Keller has managed to fashion a real estate company that is the envy of others.

“I really just want to help people,” Keller says. “My big ‘why’ — my big purpose — is simply to help people have the best life they can.”

Gary Keller teamed up with partner Joe Williams in 1983, together forming Keller Williams and growing it into the largest real estate agency in Austin, Texas. Growth, however, came at a relatively slow pace. It was in 2001 that Keller decided to call together his top executives and brainstorm ways to improve. They narrowed the selection to just a single idea, and it became the basis for the chart-topping book, “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.” By focusing on one thing, as long as it is the right thing, Keller has managed to change the way real estate businesses look at their work.

The Growth Initiative

While the growth of Keller Williams has certainly been spectacular in recent years, it has not been accidental. Rather, changes have been based on sever programs that together make up the “Growth Initiative,” allowing KW to make remarkable expansions. This program provides the tools, metrics, and accountability that allowed the stakeholders of the company to stay focused on the primary objectives that lead to terrific results.

Wendy Papasan © The Papasan Team

Wendy Papasan © The Papasan Team

“Keller Williams is an educational and training organization disguised as a real estate firm, and the agents that plug into the training and models can accelerate their business,” says agent Wendy Papasan. “What other business can you go from being a stay-at-home mom in 2009 to making over a million dollars in income in just six years?”

Moreover, the Keller Williams staff utilizes four primary methods to ensure that they continue the growth and success of their firm:

Three Calls Each Week: Company leaders take part in conference calls three times per week, with each call lasting at least an hour. Everyone taking part of these calls must do his/her homework beforehand, studying all sorts of real estate trends and data.

 Do the Two: “Do the Two!” is the slogan for the Growth Initiative, and it embraces the notion that team leaders should “schedule two recruiting appointments a day, 10 a week, and 40 a month.” KW then tracks its results to see which recruiting tactics are working and which one can be improved.

Embrace Tracking Tools: Although KW continues to track performance using tried-and-true spreadsheets and checklists, the company also employs something it calls the Pipeline Report. The Pipeline Report details which recruits are likely to join KW and when – who is in the proverbial pipeline. “The Pipeline Report complements the Growth Initiative’s emphasis on cap management, which helps boost profitability and profit share throughout the year by purposefully distributing the months that associates are likely to reach their market center cap for the year.”

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