Planning for the Future With Onward 2021

February 18, 2021

This year’s Family Reunion welcomed a new session entitled Onward 2021: a deep dive into the real estate market of tomorrow led by then-President Josh Team and Head of Industry Jason Abrams. For 90 minutes, industry luminaries discussed everything from what consumers want to how the pandemic has impacted agent-client relationships, all to give viewers a better idea of what they need to do now to thrive in the future.

What do customers really want?

To help explain the documented success of KW agents, Abrams turned to the Harvard Business Review Trust Triangle, composed of logic, authenticity, and empathy. According to Abrams, these are the three cornerstones of strong client-agent relationships, and their importance is validated by the 2020 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. According to the study, 21% of buyers named “honesty and trustworthiness” as the most important attribute they look for in an agent, followed closely by “experience” (18%), and “reputation” (15%). These valuable attributes work in tandem with the three levers of the customer relationship: unique insights, unique access, and unique services.

“Pull those levers to the highest volume, and that’s when something magical happens,” Team proclaimed. “That’s when you have a unique relationship.” By unique insights, Team and Abrams were referring to the hyperlocal AND hyperpersonal information KW agents gain when they manage their database through Command. Through a series of vignettes with executives from Facebook, Google, and Instagram, Team and Abrams demonstrated how these strategic partnerships and integration with Command make it easier for agents to utilize machine learning to speak directly to their clients’ needs:

  • 2.7 million consumer data points sourced from converted social ads
  • Markup-free leads costing as little as $1.91 each
  • Optimized search to reach the 70% of customers who work with the first agent they see
  • Facebook, Instagram, and Google Adwords integration in Campaigns
  • Priority access to the latest platform innovations and integrations
  • More to come as the partnerships develop

In addition to unique insights, it’s important to provide your clients unique access, and nowhere is that more apparent than the KW App. From allowing buyers to schedule a video or in-person home tour while searching properties, to giving sellers step-by-step guidance throughout the transaction, agents who fully utilize the KW App provide their clients with the kind of access no other brokerage could match.

And last but not least, there are unique services, with an emphasis on unique. “Unique means that somebody else can’t stand it up tomorrow and do the exact same thing,” Abrams clarified. He went on to mention The Real Estate Pros’ Heather Upton, who created a branded handyman service that assists her clients with any of their home maintenance needs. He also gave a nod to Adam Hergenrother of the Hergenrother Realty Group, who leans into new-build homes for those clients who can’t find anything of interest on the market. No matter what the offering is, or when in the customer journey it’s needed, “It’s gotta be unique,” Abrams implored, echoing the sentiment Gary Keller championed during his Vision Speech. “That moment is when we become their real estate agent.”

How can KW agents capitalize on the market of the future?

Although Keller Williams Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Gary Keller didn’t join Team and Abrams on the stage, his presence was felt throughout the presentation, particularly with his quote, “The path of any business mirrors the personal growth of that business’s owner.” To meet the market of the moment, agents must adapt to the market of the moment.

For some agents, that means turning their social media account into the setting of their own real estate reality show. It means staying on top of legislation and trends like the rumored first-time home buyer credit, college debt relief, and rise of cryptocurrency, all of which promise to bring a new generation of buyers and sellers into the market. And, most importantly, it means advocacy.

“This is that moment when we should all be advocating for the industry,” Abrams stated. If agents want to maintain control over how they run their businesses, they have to advocate for their rights on a local and national level. “We get to decide what the consumer experience is for the next 20 years,” Abrams reminded viewers. “To any third-party company or anybody that thinks that they’re going to disintermediate the real estate agent from the center of the transaction, which is exactly where the consumer wants us, know this – Gary Keller is coming, and there’s a 191,000 of us wearing the red and the white, and we’re coming with.”

Riding the eruption of heart and applause emojis streaming from the virtual audience, Team brought Onward 2021 home with a final rallying cry. “There’s more disruption happening, not less; more venture capital pouring in, not less; consumer habits are changing faster, not slower; and it’s never been more important to focus on the fundamentals of our business with a world-class consumer experience and a real plan. Not only just to stay relevant in this changing world, but to thrive in the new opportunities that it’s presenting. And that’s why having a predictable plan for a predictable business is so critical. Lead generation, lead conversion, world-class experience – to focus onward.”

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