I joined Keller Williams in July of 2003. It was the beginning of my career in real estate. I count myself lucky to have stumbled into this company from the start but I don’t believe in luck. I think I was meant to be here.
There have been 2 times I considered leaving. Well, 3 actually. I’ll tell you the stories and then why I’m still here.
In 2008 I got my brokers license. Most agents think that’s your ticket to your own brokerage. I know I did. I went to the extent of deciding on the name of my company and I’d done some research on what was involved but then I took the classes.
Thankfully, I had a great instructor. He taught the basics to get us past the test but more importantly he had us do the math. We had worksheets and exercises to help us count the cost of being our own broker. It’s not cheap.
At the end of the class, it was obvious to me the cost of staying at KW vs starting my own business was a lot less, dollar wise, liability wise and stress wise. I’m still here.
In 2010 the market was crashing all around us, business was way off and money was tight. If you were in real estate at the time, I’m sure you remember. The market didn’t bottom out until 2012 but we were all struggling to succeed.
I was doing short sales, helping buyers and even though I was in the top 10 in my office, the struggle was real. It was also the first year for me to go to KW Family Reunion.
I’d been with KW for 7 years but had never gone. My team leader wanted all of his ALC to go. ALC is the Agents or Associates Leadership Council. The top 20% of producing agents get an invitation to apply and some are chosen to serve. I was on the ALC.
Like I said, money was very tight but arrangements were made to allow me to go and it changed my life. To see our culture in action, to hear the stories and see the difference being at KW can make in an agents life was refreshing.
One story from that trip was around dinner. We have an agent who’d been in real estate for over 20 years join us. He was brand new to KW. His name is Bob.
At dinner, we all started sharing the one thing we heard that day that made the biggest impact on us or our business. Bob was the last to go and he said he’d never seen anything like what just happened. The open sharing, the willingness to give was overwhelming to him. He’d just never experienced that in any company before. To me, it felt completely normal but it was a revelation to him.
There are lots more stories like that. I can share experiences from Family Reunion, Mega Camp and other events that have molded my life and helped my career over the last 18 years. It’s been life changing for me too.
Recently I’ve looked hard at the cost of being in business with KW. This Spring of 2020 was a time to reflect on where I am and where I want to be. I even reached out to a couple of other companies and investigated fees and such. It’s a season where I’m scaling back intentionally so I needed to examine this.
It started in 2019 for real as I had to take a break to care for my mom in her last weeks of life. My business slid toward zero because I had to commit to her 24/7. It was exactly where I needed to be but it also caused a big crunch at the end of the year.
As the year closed I could see more business on the horizon and my cap reset in August so I figured I had a year to make up my mind. As I write this my cap has just reset and it’s August 2020.
I’m still here.
It’s about being a part of something.
Some companies have what I call a dependent model. It’s the old way of doing things. The broker takes a big split, charges office fees, and such but in return, they give you leads, do some training but the split never stops, the fees never stop and it feels a bit one-sided in the transaction and it favors the broker financially.
There is an independent model. This showed up about 50 years ago. The agent pays a split, maybe with a cap and some royalty fees, office fees, and such but they are mostly on their own. They are experienced, self-sufficient, and don’t really need much in the way of help to keep their business going. Growth coaching and opportunities are not encouraged by the office so much. I think this is somewhat one-sided too but it does favor the agent more than the dependent model.
Then there is an interdependent model. In 1983 Gary Keller and Joe Williams started Keller Williams in Austin, TX. I think there are others who’ve tried to copy the model but lack some of the major features that lead to long term success.
Like the independent model, there is a split with a cap, a royalty fee, and office fees. One difference that matters more than you might think is profit share. Approximately half of the owner’s profit is shared with the agents who help grow the company. This fosters an atmosphere of sharing, helping, and teaching that I don’t see in most companies. All the agents want all the agents to succeed.
We’ve always been known as a training company. Teaching how to create “a career worth having, a life worth living, and a business worth owning.” Recently we’ve shifted to a technology company. We’re still training but there is a big tech focus and it makes a difference in how we do business, especially in the midst of this pandemic. KW Command is the core of this technology and includes a CRM, contract management, advertising management and a lot more. Most agents retire or replace what they’ve been using in favor of Command and the cost is way less.
So is KW perfect? Is KW for everyone? I’d say most who take the time to see what we offer, study the differences and weigh the advantages, come to stay. Some leave because they see the money aspect as too much. I almost did but then I measured the relationships, the training, the culture and decided. I’m still here.
I’ll admit occasionally a KW agent will behave in a way we’re not proud of. It happens. We’re human but when it happens I’ve seen it handled in ways that dig into the reasons, try to understand what’s behind it and helps to cure the real problem, not just ignore it or just treat the symptoms. This comes from what we refer to as Culture.
It’s outlined in the WI4C2TS.
This defines how we’ll treat each other and carries into how we treat our clients, vendors, and customers. There’s more to why I’m still here but my point is not to measure just the dollars when figuring out where to be.
Culture matters. Team leaders who care about the success of their agents, management that cares about the well being of their offices, corporate officers who live out the culture in front of us. It all adds up to more opportunities, more training, and more growth than either a dependent model or an independent model.
If you want to know more about all this, I’d love to talk with you. We can do it face to face via Zoom and I’m happy to schedule some time with you.
I mean it.
If you want to schedule a call you can click on this link. It will take you to a calendar where you can request a 30-minute time block. I’ll accept and we’ll get on Google Meet or Zoom to talk face to face. We can go longer than 30 minutes too but we might need to schedule another time.
It’s free and it might just help if you’re stuck. No strings, no pitch, just someone to listen and maybe get you unstuck.
I’m here if you want to reach out.
I hope you will.
Thanks for listening,
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