6 Steps to Growing a Winning Business in 2021, According to Gary Keller

February 12, 2021

Keller Williams co-founder and KWx executive chairman Gary Keller has spent decades in the real estate industry – first as an agent himself, and later as an entrepreneur building out the world’s largest real estate franchise. Not only has he seen the business migrate from Rolodexes to sophisticated database technologies, but through Keller Williams’ own Command platform release, he’s played a key role in shaping the future of the industry, a future which keeps agents at the center of the transaction. In a recent livestream, Keller spoke frankly about the ways agents can create a winning business in 2021. Here are six points that stood out:

1. Set a big goal and a big plan

Set a major goal, or a someday goal for a time in the future. Maybe it’s growing your business to be a million-dollar business, or perhaps it’s growing the size of your team. This big goal doesn’t have to be specific. Then, create smaller, more specific achievable goals along the way that will eventually get you to your big goal. Every day, focus on what you can be doing right now to achieve your someday goal, and do it. The number one reason agents fail, adds Keller, is because their plan for how to grow their business is too complicated. “They endorse the idea of complexity,” he says, “instead of whittling it down to something simple.” In reality, top agents find that it’s committing to just a handful of actions or strategies that ultimately determines success. “Then, all the dominoes fall after that,” he says.

Related reading: 7 Common Goal-Setting Mistakes to Avoid

2. Block off mornings for lead generation

“Every real estate agent, their only goal when they get up in the morning should be to lead generate, to feed the data, to fill the database,” Keller says. That’s because the research is clear – top agents regularly engage in three to four main lead generation activities plus three to four minor lead gen activities. “I built my entire organization initially around generating the lead,” Keller adds. If your personality isn’t perfectly suited to lead gen, or you just don’t enjoy it, he says, that’s OK. Commit to putting in the time anyway, so that eventually, you’ll get to a place where you don’t have to lead gen as much. As you lead generate, you’ll also need to make sure you’re properly storing your data. That’s where databases come in.

Related reading: Reclaim Your Time Through Time Blocking

3. View your database as your business

“The basis of all great businesses is the database,” Keller says. Building one, growing it and cultivating it is a key to success. Top agents zero in on their database. They see it as a daily priority above and beyond making a sale. A sale is something nice that happens along the way. “My goal was to see if I could become your Realtor of choice,” Keller says, “or your Realtor for life and get you into my database.” The business relationship follows.

Additionally, top agents calculate and know how big a database they need to achieve their goals and then work toward that number. For example, a database of between 4,000 to 6,000 contacts often eventually translates into a Millionaire Real Estate Agent. “The goal is to be adding people consistently into your database,” Keller says. Then nurture it by consistently and thoughtfully following up with your contacts. “By knowing who my customers are, and knowing who my database is, I can wake up every day and provide them value.”

Commit to adding three new contacts to your database each day – their name, address, phone number and email – and that will translate into 720 new contacts a year.

Related reading: Capture 200+ Contacts in One Day With a Reverse BOLD

4. Focus on referrals

Referrals often pay the highest commission, Keller says, and they – along with past clients – can be among agents’ most loyal leads. “They’re going to pay you the most amount of money per deal commission-wise, and they’re going to be the most loyal to you,” he shares. Agents can help encourage referrals by regularly reaching out to people in their database, says Keller.

When he started his business years ago, KWRI’s own VP of industry Jason Abrams leaned into referral relationships by sharing his mission and value with a fellow agent while at Family Reunion – Keller Williams’ biggest real estate training event of the year. “Months after we met, long after Family Reunion had come and gone, she called to see if I could help her professional football client who had planned to play in her hometown of Miami, but was signed with the Detroit Lions instead,” he says. “I jumped into a limo and showed him a selection of homes. When I got the check for the house he bought three weeks later, it was the most money I’d ever seen in one place.” 

Related reading: Tammi Juengst: Turn Relationship Into Referrals

5. Don’t be afraid to delegate

To commit time to lead generation and focusing on building your database, you’ll likely need to delegate tasks to other people on your team, and that’s OK. “Everything else can be delegated,” Keller says. Likewise, once you’ve built up your database to the number you need to achieve your goals, you’ll be able to delegate nurturing your database as well.

The Organizational Model of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent shows agents exactly how to exponentially grow their business by leveraging the talents of others. Hire people for staff positions to handle administrative, buyer and seller duties. Your administrative assistant should be your first hire. Then, once you have more clients than you can handle on your own, you can hire sales staff. Finding talented hires lets you focus on lead generation.

Related reading: The Organizational Model: Leverage Your Way to Limitless Success

6. Put it all together

Take the following steps as you work on lead gen and on building your database:

  • Calculate your current database number.
  • Set a specific database goal for the future.
  • Build a lead gen plan to get there. Keller recommends a minimum of four days a week for a minimum of two hours, though five days a week for three hours is better.

Keller says that with its Command technology, Keller Williams is building the tools to allow a real estate agent to build a database-based business. And, with that in place, “your relationships will come to you, and they will stick with you.”

For more insight into how top agents at KW are finding success, join us at Family Reunion 2021, this year a digital experience.

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