Amidst a year of surprises and uncertainties, one thing remains clear: the Keller Williams family is resilient, caring, and ready to pivot at a moment’s notice. In 2020, KW’s 180,000-plus associates across the world showed up: They cared for and connected with their spheres of influence and fellow professionals. They leaned into technology. They adjusted their businesses with a safety-first approach in mind. They soaked up hundreds of hours of knowledge and training from top industry minds. They gave back to their communities in times of trouble and stepped forward for equity.
As we head into the new year, there are plenty of things that are best left behind – but also a plethora of wins, both large and small, worth celebrating.
Best of Tech: Making real estate transactions a breeze with new and enhanced tech.
At its core, real estate is about relationships. This is true every year, but 2020 has made it particularly important to connect with those around us in authentic ways. At Keller Williams, we believe technology should help deepen these connections while keeping agents at the center of the transaction. By cementing bonds between people, data, and systems, we’ve created a powerful suite of technology in partnership with our agents that makes it easier than ever to create digitally enhanced experiences that clients crave. Here are some highlights.
1. The KW App enters full speed ahead.
Launched in February at Family Reunion 2020, the KW App is the quintessential, consumer-facing counterpart to Command. As Gary Keller, co-founder and executive chairman, explains, “With the release of the new KW App, agents will be able to enable their clients to transact a real estate deal straight from their phone. All while keeping agents at the center of everything.”
With the app, the real estate world is your clients’ oyster. The interface allows them to search by neighborhood, zip code, school district, landmarks … and search they did! In 2020, the app averaged 25 to 30 million searches per month, for a total of 260 million searches during the year.
Throughout the year, as the standard for doing business safely shifted, so did the KW App. With the introduction of Virtual Tour Requests, clients were able to schedule a video tour directly through the app, remaining safe and socially distanced. The app also allows for interactive discussions between agents and clients. So far, 20,111 virtual tour requests have been made through the KW app – and the number just keeps climbing!
Meet the All-New KW App
How to Build a Powerfully Connected Business Through the KW App
Guide Your Buyers and Sellers Home Safely with the KW App
2. Command takes teams further, faster.
2020 looked bright for real estate teams, and, with the recent launch of Command for Teams, 2021 will shine so brilliantly, teams of all sizes will need shades. Delivering high-quality service to your community can be challenging without a central hub to handle it all. With Command, teams can overcome the hurdle through its applets. Teams can now set permissions and levels of access specific to each team member’s role, simplifying collaborations on deals, documents, marketing, and more. “When building out ‘Command for Teams,’ we learned that no two teams operate the same way,” shared KW Product Line Director Jessica Groff. “We needed to build the flexibility into the platform that allows a smaller duo to work their way and a large mega team to operate very differently.”
Keller Williams Takes Teams Into the Future with Command
3. SmartPlans take on the heavy lifting.
Among Command’s 179,800 active users, SmartPlans have been a constant relief source, allowing agents to successfully automate communication plans and free themselves up to act as the fiduciaries their clients need. To date, more than 21.1 million plans have moved through the system, making it one of our most beloved applets yet.
Earlier this year, the applet became even MORE powerful: the technology now includes a custom SmartPlans option and library where users can upload personal SmartPlans for others to use, and vice versa. With 1,750-plus plans already uploaded within the library, agents are truly leaning into KW’s culture of sharing.
4. Designs propels agents to showcase their marketing prowess.
In navigating a newly virtual world, KW agents rose to the occasion, using technology to keep their sphere knowledgeable and safe. Through Designs’ robust 1,200+-piece library, agents were able to establish themselves as neighborhood experts and offer value through beautiful, professionally designed graphics for web and print. To date, 110,530 users have churned out 1,952,057 unique designs in 2020. Here are the top templates that brightened agents’ marketing arsenal throughout the year: Top 10 Designs.
Best of Culture: Coming out stronger together in the face of uncertainty.
In order to face the challenges and uncertainties of the year, culture played an essential role in ensuring that no one gets left behind. In the face of a global pandemic, social shifts, natural disasters, along with the everyday ebbs and flows of life, Keller Williams agents stayed true to the values that bind us together – and flourished as the leaders their communities needed them to be. God, family, and then business. Those are the values that weave together the cultural fabric of Keller Williams.
5. Stepping forward for equity for all.
In June, Gary Keller made a commitment: our company stands together in support of equity and change. “The truth is that racial injustice and inequality persists. And, in order to help change that, it’s critical to not only say something about it, but do something about it,” he wrote in an open letter to leaders and associates.
Across the company, his message was not lost. Agents swiftly mobilized to create a Social Equity Task Force, which includes associates from every Keller Williams region across the U.S. and Canada and who are constantly working on long-range strategies to uproot social disparities within the company and industry. On September 17, the team celebrated a big win: two key proposals brought forth by the Social Equity Task Force were passed at the biannual International Associate Leadership Council meeting. Keller Williams’ belief system has been updated to include ‘equity,’ creating the WI4CS2TES, and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee was added to the list of local ALC standing committees.
6. Offering relief in the face of natural disasters.
The world seemingly stopped as it entered quarantine – but, as it turned out, Mother Nature did not take a break. Between hurricanes and wildfires, our communities were deeply impacted by natural disasters. And in true Keller Williams spirit, in the most difficult times, associates came together to provide compassion and relief to those in need. In 2020, KW Cares – a 501(c)(3) public charity supporting Keller Williams associates and their families with hardship as a result of sudden emergencies – awarded $4.9M dollars to those in need.
7. Pivoting with no hesitation.
As the business environment quickly shifted in March, agents, leaders, and the KWRI team pivoted to create a rich, virtual learning environment offering time-tested strategies, business acumen, and support to one another through daily livestreams on KWConnect. In Q2, following nationwide business shutdowns, live and on-demand training on the learning platform totaled 258 30-minute-plus sessions, each designed to help agents adapt to current times and propel their businesses forward. Additionally, the Pivot: Shift Ahead Facebook group was created, bringing together nearly 80K agents – agnostic of brokerage – for daily resource-sharing, weekly book clubs, and encouragement.
In the face of the pivot, coaching did not take a step back. In fact, in March, Keller Williams pledged $20M to reduce coaching costs for agents by making significant changes to KW MAPS Coaching. The BOLD program, created to set in motion a life by design for agents, reemerged in the form of BOLD Pivot: a re-engineered, digitally delivered version of the signature BOLD coaching offering. In May alone, 41,160 real estate agents attended the enhanced program. By the end of Q3, a total of 47,312 agents were BOLD Pivot graduates.
8. RED Day remained an unstoppable force.
On May 14, agents and leaders alike took a step back from their real estate businesses in order to make a difference in their local communities. And, even with various local COVID restrictions in place, there was no shortage of renewing, energizing, and donating. Market centers around the world came together in the name of service to do everything from sewing and distributing face masks to writing thank you notes for frontline workers to raising money for local charities. In an innovative RED Day Zoomathon, the New York region even tapped KW President Josh Team and VP of Industry Jason Abrams to interview NY Yankees stars. Collectively, the region’s 43 market centers raised more than $187,500 dollars.
But, for the KW family, the love for their communities extends way beyond RED Day. People such as Dan Grieb, the CEO and founder of the Home to Sell Team at Keller Williams, continued to exemplify KW culture at every turn by helping others achieve their dreams. A 17-time Ironman athlete himself, Grieb coached and guided athlete Chris Nikic to completing his first full-distance Ironman triathlon. Nikic made history as the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete the race, and, on January 3, 2021, his story will be widely shared through NBC’s Anything Is Possible® – The Series.
9. Over $1.5B profit shared
KW culture centers on investing in others as well as pouring into oneself to build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, lives worth living, experiences worth giving, and legacies worth leaving. Nowhere is this better exhibited than profit share. Established by Gary Keller and the Associate Leadership Council in 1986, the profit share program is an innovative way to award associates as business partners so they can create bigger lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. This benefit allows agents to build more wealth without putting in more work by providing a source of passive income that works as hard as they do. Since the program began, Keller Williams has shared over $1.5 billion in lifetime profit share distributions to date. As we move into 2021, we’re excited to see more associates create wealth for themselves and their families.
Best of Events: Training harder than ever and deepening our connections.
Sharing an indoor space with thousands of people around may feel like something that happened in another lifetime, but even as the world has shifted, the energy and excitement characteristic of Keller Williams events are here to stay. Here are our favorite moments that brought on the training and relationships!
10. The last in-person hurrah: Family Reunion 2020.
Starting the year off strong, many of us came together in Dallas for a KW celebration for the ages: Family Reunion 2020. We Vision-ed, we SOC-d, we left inspired after Inspirational Morning, and we absorbed a plethora of knowledge from agents who have shown results in their business time and time again. But our favorite moments extend beyond the pulsating energy of the main events. We fondly remember Gary Keller and Jay Papasan taking the stage for a surprise Think Like a CEO live session, the new friendships that were forged, and our crowd-pleasing social booth, where agents were able to record themselves sharing the news of the KW App with their sphere, creating more than 1,000 videos in the process. What does 2021 have in store? Register for our first-ever digital Family Reunion and find out!Register Now
11. Mega Camp 2020 goes virtual!
In September, 34,848 agents from 59 countries came together to take in the learning experience of our first-ever digital Mega Camp. Even while pivoting to a virtual environment, the annual training and technology conference brought on the value and fun! Agents armed themselves with important action items that powered up their business throughout uncertain circumstances, and grabbed their popcorn for an entertaining game show bringing together top agents for a script off and battle royale.
Related reading: 7 Battle-Tested Scripts from KW’s ‘Choose Your Script Champion’
During the past 12 months, we’ve lived, we’ve learned, and we’ve conquered our circumstances and businesses … all with a little help along the way.
We’ve come from a place of care and compassion, and showed that by being willing to shift at a moment’s notice, we can succeed even in the harshest of times. In 2020, we didn’t lean back. In fact, as Keller Williams President Josh Team says, “We pushed forward to create more value for our agents, resulting in unprecedented numbers compared to the industry and our competitors; this will continue in 2021 as we grow in size and scale across the board so we can provide unmatched value for any agent in the industry.”