What does it take to create your brand? A beautiful logo, team colors, a strong slogan, and a well designed website aren't enough.
These are important, but creating a brand is more. It’s the comprehensive way your customers see you and the feeling they get after interacting with your business. It’s your promise to your clients, telling them what to expect from working with you. When done properly, it can be one of the priciest investments into your business.
Branding is no longer a pain point
In real estate, Keller Williams is a leader, helping agents craft their own unique brand by means of Command. Agents may craft a brand that reflects their unique identity without the expense of a high-priced agency or the need for a full communication, marketing, or branding team.
Keller Williams agents can achieve this level of thoughtful branding with Command, using business-critical tools that solve pain points like database management, transaction management, team collaboration, and branding solutions. It empowers agents to take branding into their own hands – creating, redefining, and disseminating – so they can stay top of mind with consumers. Best of all, these tech tools are available at no additional cost.
With Designs in Command, agents have the opportunity to create their own marketing and branding materials, including digital graphics, social assets, print materials, and landing pages. The tool hosts about 1,160 customizable templates created by marketing pros so agents can focus on moving their business forward by easily crafting beautiful brand assets.
Zimmer Real Estate Group, with lead agent Trent Zimmer, has experienced firsthand the convenience of Designs. When the team had a townhome listing they were keen on advertising in a specific neighborhood, they leveraged a pre-existing template in Designs to create a mailer in under five minutes. “Thirty-six hours later, I got a phone call from a homeowner,” he says. By creating the mailer, Zimmer secured a $390K townhome listing. “Let’s just call it a $12K paycheck that cost me $26 in Command,” he says. On a different occasion, the team used Designs to create a flier to share on community bulletin boards. “It took two minutes, and I got two phone calls the next day,” Zimmer says.
Advertising is an essential part of any business’s branding efforts, and Command has a tool for that as well.
With Campaigns, an agent can create a single ad and then syndicate it across several social platforms linked from within Command. Campaigns also give agents the ability to target their digital ads by user behavior, interests, and demographics. The goal is to remove as much of the guesswork as possible, allowing agents to easily and effectively amplify their brand.
A plethora of agents have found success by leveraging Campaigns to create high-converting Facebook ads. For a total cost of $25, the EZ Sales Team advertised a luxury home listing locally in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as Los Angeles, California. For a cost-per-lead of 68 cents, they were able to secure a pre-approved buyer in a short amount of time.
Built-in ad spend suggestions let agents better optimize their efforts so they can get the biggest bang for their buck. In Q2 ‘20, the average cost-per-lead for KW agents inside Command was $1.77 in the U.S. and Canada across social media platforms.
The KW App
One aspect of an agent’s brand that’s harder to measure is the breadth and depth of their own local expertise and how that’s imparted to clients.
Clients searching for a home want to work with an agent who not only knows the ins and outs of the purchasing process, but also has a nuanced and intimate knowledge of the areas they’re living. The KW App – which can be personally branded to the agent – allows them to make their expertise accessible, further fine-tuning the way they’d like to present themselves.
Through the KW App, agents are able to collect valuable consumer insights and lay the groundwork for relationships that last a lifetime while staying wrapped up in their unique brand through their personal touch. The customizable Guide tool allows agents to usher clients through every step of the homeownership journey, while the Search functionality allows them to provide their own recommendations for clients, gather insights from their search activity, and ultimately win their loyalty.
Agents can also flex their local expertise through Neighborhoods, which allows clients to view neighborhood stats, see local reviews, and calculate commute times, giving them a deeper understanding of their new location.
With so many ways to communicate – emails, phone calls, texts, and follow-ups – often, it can be hard to manage client communications, let alone make sure your messaging is consistent and on-brand. We’ve all received a marketing email or text that didn’t speak to who we are or where we are in the buying cycle. And that can leave a lasting, negative impression.
SmartPlans allows agents to create communication workflows so they can respond to a client’s or lead’s needs and actions.
For example, a new contact can be assigned to a SmartPlan an agent specifically designs for new leads. This SmartPlan can include emails, texts, and action items designed to help the contact get to know the agent.
Agents can design SmartPlans to account for any and all types of clients, leads, interests, and behaviors. The application makes it easy to create targeted and intelligent touchpoints instead of mass blanketed emails or texts, strengthening the integrity and meaningfulness of an agent’s brand and letting clients know their agent is truly listening to them.
A Tech-Enabled Brand
With all the options, the noise, and the management that branding involves, agents need a way to streamline, amplify and target their efforts. Through technology, Keller Williams is making it easy – and economical – for agents to share their personality, passions and expertise with clients, and more effectively communicate they’re the best choice among competitors. Eager to learn more about all of Keller Williams’ tech offerings? It goes beyond branding.
Two years after announcing its status as the number one real estate frachise by agent count, closed units, and closed sales volume in the United States, Keller Williams continues to surge past industry giants like RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. What’s happened since has been nothing short of incredible.
Driven by the commitment of Keller Williams’ agents, the company:
- Closed more than 1 million units, generating more than $332 billion in sales revenue in the United States and Canada in 2018.
- Had 174 brokerages that appeared on the REAL Trends 500, representing 34.8 percent of the top 500 brokerages for 2018.
- Was named a Top Workplace for Women by Forbes and a Top Workplace for Veterans by Indeed in 2019.
- Ranked No. 1 in the real estate and urban development category on Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019.
- Was named a top 2020 trend in the Swanepoel Trends Report. The report takes an objective look at what prompted this disruption.
While each achievement is notable, the real story of Keller Williams’ success begins several decades earlier.
Founded in 1983 and based in Austin, Texas, Keller Williams’ first agent, Gary Gentry, wrote the first offer for $55,000 and the starting roster of 32 agents went on to close $28 million in volume. After an auspicious start, the young company’s agents became prime recruits and a few top producers left to work with competitors, leaving the balance of the initial team to struggle in a tough Texas economy.
“It was a difficult time,” Gentry reflects. “But in retrospect it was a godsend, because if you learn how to survive and thrive in hard times, then when things change, you are going to do exceptionally well and you’ve been hardened and strengthened through the process. With the kind of training support that Gary [Keller] and Joe [Williams] gave us, we were constantly learning how to adapt to a different market. On a daily basis, we would discuss what the market was doing and what we needed to do to grow our businesses. A lot of our policy and culture was developed during this time.”
In 1986, Keller convened the first Associate Leadership Council (ALC) to reinvent Keller Williams from a traditional real estate company into one that would disrupt the industry. He shared his vision to create a new type of real estate company, where a world-class culture focused on the prosperity and well-being of its people would become an environment no agent or team ever wanted or needed to leave.
The ALC’s subsequent sessions were the basis of the company’s core belief system, the WI4C2TS. They also developed the profit share program, which treats associates who help the company grow as true business partners. Driven by the philosophy that success lies in shared prosperity, market centers share roughly half of their monthly profit with their team. Since its inception, the profit share program has distributed more than $1 billion to associates who have helped the company grow.
Keller and his colleagues were so focused on helping agents succeed, that in 2002 they brought a team of mega agents together to answer the question, “What would it take to net a million dollars in personal income?” Their brainstorm resulted in models that would later serve as the basis for Keller’s first book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, a national bestseller and a catalyst for the company’s growth.
With the kind of training support that Gary [Keller] and Joe [Williams] gave us, we were constantly learning how to adapt to a different market.
By 2006, through the leadership of executives like Mo Anderson and Mary Tennant, Keller Williams was the fifth-largest real estate franchise in the United States, and in 2011, the company surpassed Century 21 as the number 2 real estate franchise in the country.
As Keller and his leadership team examined their markets, they saw a unique trend emerge among the most successful teams. The strategy was simple: Hold powerful conversations with market center leadership centered on the core activities that would generate results. Through coaching, healthy business practices flourished at the local level and agent production grew. The system was soon implemented in other market centers and regions across the country with the model in hand.
With healthy business practices being implemented at the local level, agent production grew. In 2013, the company was the top real estate franchise by agent count in North America, and in 2014, more associates called Keller Williams home than any other real estate franchise in the world.
KW Evolves to Tech
At the 2017 Family Reunion event in February, the next phase of Keller Williams’ evolution was announced: a commitment to developing the real estate platform that buyers and sellers prefer. As a result of its growth and a strong vision cast by Keller, the company planned to invest $1 billion in technology.
“World-class technology companies need to own their product vision, they can’t rent it. We can’t outsource our road map and vision because no one cares more about what you need to be successful, than we do,” said Josh Team, former chief innovation officer turned president in 2018. “Our observation is the number one challenge an agent faces is the number of independent, disconnected technologies.”
Agents reportedly use up to a dozen software products and systems to do their job. Given this knowledge, Keller Williams strengthened their resolve to provide the kind of resources agents need and want to use.
What was accomplished in the next two years in Labs set the stage for success:
The Keller Cloud Debuts
Both cloud service ecosystem and real estate anomaly, the Keller Cloud contains the data Keller Williams agents have amassed since day one. With the end goal of serving the customer a state of the art experience, the Keller Cloud’s mission is to provide real-time information exchange, in-the-moment data analysis, and unparalleled efficiency for both the agent and the customer.
Kelle is Born
By liberally championing their “Fail Fast” philosophy, the virtual sidekick and AI-powered assistant, Kelle was born. From finding market data to growing an agent’s referral network and expertly navigating other Keller Cloud technologies, Kelle gets it done.
World-class technology companies need to own their product vision, they can’t rent it.
As Kelle churned and learned every day and showed agents her true value, it became clear to the company that they had something interesting to offer. The team turned a corner after entering and winning the NAR Hackathon for Kelle’s cutting edge ability to leverage AI and machine learning to serve the industry. Now, Keller Williams had license to unleash the rest of their power.
Fast forward to Family Reunion 2019: Command makes its debut, bringing a multi-faceted, customizable platform available for immediate use by Keller Williams’ sea of agents. Powered by the Keller Cloud and supplemented with Kelle’s AI and mobile efficiencies, Command positions KW to disrupt the industry again.
More importantly, it is the cornerstone of an end-to-end consumer experience, which no agent or company has been able to achieve, but Keller Williams is prepping to release.
With these innovations, Keller Williams not only raises the bar in its commitment to providing the foremost resources agents need to elevate their business; it redefines the way real estate is done.
“We’re making huge strides in our journey to deliver the end-to-end platform that our agents need to provide the personalized, data-enriched experience their clients expect,” said Team.
This is crucial as companies pour billions of dollars into technology aimed at disintermediating the agent from the consumer. Yet, by its size alone, Keller Williams has the power of collective data and the magnitude to provide its agents with consumer insights no one can match. With this remarkable leverage, the company keeps agents at the center of the transaction, allowing them to build real estate businesses without limits or boundaries.
*Industry leader based on global agent count and U.S. closed volume and sales units. The data was compiled by Keller Williams Realty, Inc., from company websites, SEC filings, industry reports and other publicly available sources.
The real estate market in 2020 has been one of the few positives.
Before the pandemic took hold in March, resulting in massive economic shutdowns, sales were performing well with first quarter sales up 12%. It has to be one of WinnipegREALTORS® strongest first quarters on record. There was every reason to believe the spring market, which always begins in earnest in April with an influx of new listings, was looking promising.
As the pandemic unfolded, this didn't happen. Listings in April were down 42% and 21% in May. Sales were down too, but not to the same extent. Even early on, buyers were more motivated than sellers, and sales in April and May decreased 32% and 18% respectively.
June showed a recovery, with the economy opening up and the industry adapting to new public health orders and protocols to keep everyone safe from Covid-19. Buyers responded in record numbers as sales fell just shy of 1,900, surpassing the previous best monthly record for sales of 1,705 in May 2019.
As sales rebounded, listings also showed a slight increase over June 2019.
The second half of 2020 continued this pattern and as inventory couldn't keep up with buyers, it became a 'seller's market'.
WinnipegREALTORS® and the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) conducted a Probe Research survey in June that backed up strong buyer intentions to purchase a home in 2020 — with the vast majority saying they were undeterred by the pandemic.
The v-shaped recovery continued beyond catching up to the sales deficit created in first half of 2020 and surpassed what the year-to-date MLS® numbers were for the same period in 2019.
July was another record month in which year-to-date sales were ahead by 5% from 2019, but sellers were more reluctant to put their home on the market, so listings dropped 10% in July compared to July 2019.
As a result, listing supply or current MLS® inventory, which was a 'balanced market' at the beginning of 2020, was dropping. What was 4.5 months of supply to start the year became only 3 months of supply available for sale in August, and 2.3 months going into September, with a third consecutive month in August of over 1,800 sales.
2020 likely set a new annual record for sales in October at close to 14,000 and is well over 15,000 sales in December. December represents the seventh consecutive month of record-breaking monthly sales with a 38% increase for the December 1st-15th period.
New listings on the MLS®, up until the end of November, are in fact down 9% from the same period in 2019. This is main reason for double-digit average residential-detached sale price increases in the last few months.
The Steinbach MLS® area, as it has been for years, is the leading MLS® area within the WinnipegREALTORS® market region and it will approach 900 sales this year. No other MLS® area comes close in total numbers. The second most active area is the Morden/Winkler MLS® area with 652 sales at the end of November.
Specifically in Winnipeg, the busiest MLS® area reaching close to 600 by year end is the Waverley West area in southwest Winnipeg. This development has been growing the last few years with newer communities like Prairie Pointe offering new lots to build on.
Rural in 2020 has stood out with a gain in total MLS® market share of 6%. Last year, the split between Winnipeg and rural MLS® areas was 70/30 but is now 64/36. A shortage of listings in highly sought after neighourhoods in Winnipeg have impeded the number of potential sales. Another contributor to rural sales this year is the 70% increase in vacant land sales and 26% in resort property sales as of the end of November. Combined they exceed 900 sales. Vacant lands are mainly located outside Winnipeg with most located in Manitoba resort areas.
The popular resort communities on the west side of Lake Winnipeg (e.g. Gimli, Winnipeg Beach) had 332 sales as of the end of November compared to 231 the same period last year. Similarly the east side of Lake Winnipeg resort communities like Grand Marais and Victoria Beach nearly doubled their sales from 123 to 239.
2020 won't be forgotten anytime soon, but I look forward to what 2021 has to offer with a possible vaccine, re-opening of all businesses, and being free to visit friends and family again.
Command, a smart CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution and much more, connects agents to clients in more targeted and meaningful ways. Implementing AI, Command places agents in control of their database, business, and future. And, engagement has been explosive because it was built in consultation with agents, via Keller Williams labs, for agents. The Designs app in Command includes a marketing suite allowing agents to customize pre-designed templates or build from scratch for various marketing such as social media, print, email, website, landing pages, and with drag and drop widgets to include neighborhood-specific stats, listing photos, contact information, and more directly into their collateral.
- After 2019 launch has 99,875 active users
- AI referral fueled $12.6 billion in sales volume
- Agents are tracking 406,754 deals across phases of a sales pipeline
If you had to use one word to summarize the theme of this year’s State of Your Company at Family Reunion, it would be “togetherness.” KW co-founder, chairman and CEO Gary Keller and president Josh Team entered the main stage of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas – together. The more than 15,000 people in attendance stood up and cheered – together. And, by the final frame of the 2019 Year in Review video, it was clear Keller Williams is winning – together.
This is a big moment. And, it’s going to get better and better and better. – Gary Keller
During their time on stage, Keller and Team made that optimistic premonition seem more like a foregone conclusion: clearly detailing the plan to remove the friction between agents and consumers to formulate an infinite loop of success for the foreseeable future.
Taking Command, Together
The first component of this frictionless experience is Command, the platform built by agents, for agents. Before unveiling five new agent-requested features, Team took a moment to thank all of the Labs participants and early adopters whose feedback made these updates possible. “This is the way that agents get to define the platform and where they want to go,” Team said. One area agents have gone all-in on? Lead generation using Campaigns.
To date, 19,000+ Keller Williams agents have earned over 90 million impressions, generating nearly a quarter of a million leads in Campaigns, all for a fraction of the cost of competitors. “We’re able to generate materially less cost per lead than anyone else,” explained Team. “Get on the dollar-lead bandwagon.”
Team continued by announcing customizable SmartPlans, a highly-anticipated feature that allows users to automate when and how they contact their database. And, speaking of smart marketing, Family Reunion attendees got a peek at SmartVideos –customizable, shareable, data-powered videos that gives clients a taste of nearby neighborhoods.
Also announced were new, robust team features for Command like lead routing and pooling, contact ownership, collaborative opportunities, and exportable reports. “Launching today is the most feature-rich lead routing tool the industry has ever seen,” said Team. “Every criterion can be assigned, built, and managed inside Command.”
Updates to Designs (a library of 2,000 marketing pieces to date and a custom PDF upload feature) and the addition of agent-referral patterns were also well-received, but it was the customizable Guides that underpin the new KW App that really captured the audience’s attention (more on that later).
The individual features of Command are powerful on their own, but the real benefits appear when used in tandem and with best practices in mind. Team and Keller had a few to keep in mind.
The best part of these suggested tactics? Many of them only take 30 seconds or less. For example, by simply adding a home address to a contact, Command automatically associates those contacts with a neighborhood; allowing you to build targeted, hyperlocal marketing that speaks to them one-to-one. And, one of the best ways to create a highly-personalized consumer experience is the much-talked about KW App.
The KW App: Bringing Agents and Clients Together, Forever
While Command and the all-new KW App may seem like two different products, Keller was quick to set the record straight. “Command and the KW App are not separate programs. These are two different screens, if you will, operating on the same platform,” he said, while demonstrating how the KW App feeds client data directly to an agent through Command.
As an example, when an agent creates a custom buying or selling guide in Command, that same step-by-step action plan will appear in the form of the Guide feature on the KW App. When a consumer uses the KW App to begin a home search and starts adding their favorite houses to a custom collection, their agent will see what properties interest them and provide personalized suggestions. And, back at Keller Williams Realty International (KWRI) headquarters, developers are working every day with agents to bring more features to the KW App that will provide even more customer insights for agents, keeping them the fiduciary at the center of the transaction.
The keynote concluded with a heartfelt thank-you from Keller: first to Josh Team for leading this technological revolution, then to all of the KWRI team members who help bring these innovations to life, and finally to all of the agents who are responsible for keeping Keller Williams at the top of the real estate industry. It was a powerful reminder that to achieve success, you have to work together.