I’ve been a Realtor for about twelve years now and I still remember my first client. I was working with a seller and brought a 178 page listing presentation to their home. After about an hour and 15 minutes of selling to this client like my life depended on it (after all, my rent check three months from them did!), the client stopped me and said, “Well, how much do you charge.” My reply? “How much will you pay me?” I can’t remember the exact amount, but I know I accepted whatever she said and a Realtor was born.
There are so many different reasons people begin a career in real estate (natural sales ability, desire to work for themselves, love of HGTV, interest in investment opportunities, etc.), but you can’t be in the business if you don’t fundamentally believe that homeownership (buying, selling, investing, flipping, etc.) is a life transforming event that you want to be a part of. Because buying, selling, investing, flipping, etc. really means helping someone create a home, a business, a legacy. A lot has changed in those 12 years – I no longer operate from a scarcity mentality and always, always, put value first. Price is only an issue when there is an absence of value. I’ve gone from being a single agent, to building five organizations with over 300 agents who have chosen to partner with me. Where once I was transforming the lives of individual home buying or selling clients; I’ve shifted my focus to transforming the lives of the Realtors and CEOs I get into business with. The game changed. And I owe much of that to Gary Keller’s mentorship and leadership.
Two days ago, Gary Keller took the stage with Brad Inman at Inman Connect and I couldn’t have been prouder to know our company is led by such a strategic, innovative, and fearless leader. Not just a leader of our company, but a leader of the entire real estate industry. He’s been blazing a trail for the rest of us (agents, business owners, and real estate company competitors alike) for over 30 years. The next 30 years? Damn. I can’t wait to see where he takes us next.
Gary’s mission has always been about the Realtor and he is still completely committed to protecting the real estate agent as a partner, professional, and the industry as a profession. For Gary and Keller Williams, it’s about arming agents with tools, rooted in technology, to allow them to create a seamless end to end consumer experience for their clients.
Here are my top 3 takeaways from watching the man himself stand up and share what’s really happening in the real estate industry:
- The real estate industry hasn’t really changed in the past several decades, but it’s on the cusp. Think of it as the water getting to 33 degrees and any moment now it’s going to drop to 32 degrees and ice over. We’ve been traveling from warmer temps to colder ones and we are hovering around 33 degrees. Any second now, people are going to wake up and they are not going to recognize the real estate industry. It will seem like it happened overnight, but it won’t. Changes of this magnitude happen slowly, slowly, slowly (over many years), and then suddenly. We are on “slowly” number three. We are in the calm before the storm. It’s the lull right before Netflix dominated the market and put Blockbuster out of the business. Slowly, slowly, slowly and then BOOM!
- For real estate agents, our database is our most important resource and we must own it together (Agents individually or Agents and the company they have partnered with). It’s how we communicate with the database via clubs, members, discounts, value adds, client events, philanthropic endeavors, etc. that really matters. One database. One mission to provide a seamless, life time, service to our clients. Creating relationships with our database is critical. Then using technology to make the client experience, faster, easier, and cheaper.Owning as much data as possible, utilizing that data to optimize the consumer experience, and using artificial intelligence to personalize that experience in real time will all very quickly become the most important foundational pieces of a real estate agent’s value proposition to their clients.
- As real estate agents, we must align ourselves with a company that is suited up for the game, ready to play, not a company that is still at practice and working on creating plays that won’t be ready for another three years. It takes 2-3 years to build a massive technology platform. In three years, it will be too late. Keller Williams is ready. KW Command offers a platform to manage the Realtor’s business, communicate with clients, and generally enhance the client experience. Kelle (KW’s version of Siri) takes it all to another level. Keller Williams does not believe in the agent enabled technology, but rather the tech enabled agent. Gary puts the customer and client first by supporting Realtors at every turn. Just as we must own the data, we’ve got to own the technology.
As we move into this next phase of the real estate industry (get ready, it’s coming!), Realtors have got to align themselves with a visionary who’s proved time and time again that he cares more about the agent than any other real estate company. Gary will fight to protect the agent instead of trying to remove the agent. Align yourself with Gary and buckle up!