As part of a leadership conversation with 17,000 energetic agents, Chris Heller, John Davis, and other Keller Williams Realty International leaders celebrated a record year and charted an ambitious course for growth and technology.
“You’re all independent agents,” Davis said, “Which means you’re all independent leaders. We’re pouring into you because everyone here is a leader.”
Heller kicked off the State of Your Company presentation with a surprise announcement – that he and Davis, who have served since 2015 as Keller Williams CEO and President, respectively, will now be the company’s co-CEOs.
“John and I work as a team,” Heller said. “There’s no hierarchy. There never has been. Yet because we’ve had different titles, it’s sometimes been perceived that way. And that’s not right. It doesn’t do justice to John or his leadership. And it’s not a true representation of who we are. Keller Williams is the company for teams. And we work together as a team for you!”
Keller Williams Chief Operating Officer Darrell King also announced that Holly Priestner has been named the company’s new Vice President.
Mixing video testimonials from top agents with brief presentations from KWRI team members, the presentation focused on the resources, training and tools available to help agents fund their lives.
Davis walked associates through the phenomenal growth, production, and profitability gains the company and its agents have achieved over the past five years:
Davis had fun with the crowd – which included several prominent real estate publishers – by talking openly about royalty. “Five years ago, KWRI earned more in royalty than our operating partners did,” he said. “Gary Keller, Mo Anderson, and Mary Tennant got us in a room to do something about that imbalance, because in our culture, everyone should win!” Five years after Davis launched the companywide Growth Initiative, royalty has grown 129 percent, while owner profit has risen 454 percent, which has resulted in record profit share distributions to the associates who have helped the company grow.
In 2016, Keller Williams profit shared $154 million. Over the past five years, profit share and growth share have grown 337 percent. And since inception, the company has now shared more than $850 million.
Building on the success of the Growth Initiative, Keller Williams launched the Career Growth Initiative (CGI) this past July, which uses the same systems, models and conversations to help individual agents boost production. The CGI contributed to record fourth quarter gains, with Keller Williams associates more than tripling the gains of the overall industry.
Davis predicted Keller Williams would become the world’s #1 franchise by closed units and volume in 2017 year. He also set a vision to surpass 200,000 agents in North America in the next two years, with an additional 10,000 outside of North America.
Keller Williams Worldwide President Bill Soteroff welcomed 300 guests from 30 countries and introduced two new regions – KW Jamaica and KW Puerto Rico. There are now 94 Keller Williams market centers operating outside of North America, with new market centers in France, Nicaragua, Poland, and Israel scheduled to open in the next few months.
All of that growth will fund the company’s investments in technology – including $41.1 million in 2017.
Heller shared with the crowd that the company’s International Associate Leadership Council (IALC) had voted to update the Keller Williams Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs and Perspective for the first time. The IALC added to the company’s “Careers Worth Having, Businesses Worth Owning, and Lives Worth Living” mission two additional statements: “Experiences Worth Giving” and “Legacies Worth Leaving.”
The IALC also changed its perspective to make explicit its commitment to being a technology company that provides the real estate platform that our agents’ buyers and sellers prefer. “Our perspective is changing because the business world is changing,” Heller said. “Companies either evolve or become extinct. We’re choosing to evolve!”
Heller introduced the company’s technology leaders – Chief Innovation Officer Josh Team, Chief Technology Officer Steve Peterschmidt, and new Chief Product/Strategy Officer Jonathan Berkowitz – who made a series of big announcements, including the Keller Cloud, KWCommand, a new artificial intelligence assistant named “Kelle” and partnerships with Facebook, OJO, and ProfitDash.
“Here’s our vision,” Heller said. “A world where every Keller Williams agent has all the data about their customers, their prospects, and their business in one place. A single platform that allows you to completely run your business.”
“For 34 years, we’ve stood behind our agents. Now we’re standing with you!” Davis said.