Friday, April 23, 2010

I've Moved to Keller Williams. Or Did KW Move to Me?

On March 9, the agents of Realty Executives Southern Arizona, where I had happily worked for five years, were told that the owner had done a year of research and decided that Realty Executives was not the franchise he wanted to own, and henceforth his company would be affiliated with Keller Williams Realty. This was stunning news to all involved.

At the time, Keller Williams was virtually unknown in Tucson. However, it is the third largest real estate company in the United States, behind Coldwell Banker and Century 21. According to REAL Trends 500 Report, from 2008 to 2009, Keller Williams Realty gained 6% in number of transactions, 35% in number of offices, and 19% in number of agents, while all the other national realty estate companies lost market share in those areas. Coldwell Banker's transactions declined 32%, they lost 18% of their offices and 25% of their agents in that one year. The numbers for Realty Executives were -32%, -35% and -32%. I had no idea. Realty Executives had steadily been gaining market share in Tucson for the past five years.

The same day that Keller Williams Southern Arizona was born, Realty Executives International opened a new office on Oracle Road. About 70 agents from the old Realty Executives are now with the new Realty Executives. Of the 317 agents that were with the old Realty Executives on March 10, at least 234 have moved to Keller Williams Southern Arizona. I am one of them. I still have my sweet office overlooking River Road, and I still get to work with the wonderful mentors I've come to admire and appreciate over the past five years.

Keller Williams's business model is more agent-centric than that of any other real estate company. The agents make decisions about company management through the Agent Leadership Council, which is open to the top 20% of the company's agents. Yesterday I went to a meeting to learn more about the ALC so I can decide whether I want to participate this year.

We agents are receiving lots of training, and will be eligible for profit sharing. While of course the company wants its agents to be profitable and successful, success is defined by our quality of life. This is quite different from the usual emphasis of working harder to make more money.

But this isn't all about the agents. Of course, we agents need to give superior customer service in order to have successful businesses and the rewarding lives that successful businesses can fund. For the past two years, Keller Williams Realty has won the J. D. Power award for Highest Overall Satisfaction for Home Buyers.

So, I invite you to join me on this journey. Keller Williams intends to be the leading real estate company in Southern Arizona within three years. Can you help? Who do you know who is thinking of buying or selling a house? Please let me know, and you can be assured that as usual, I will treat his or her real estate transaction as if it were my own.

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