Enjoy the Connect experience from your computer, laptop or tablet! Watch Connect now.


  • People power Keller Williams Realty’s success.
  • A shared mission makes Keller Williams agents feel they are part of one tribe.
  • Transparency and sharing help ensure agent buy-in.

SAN FRANCISCO — Real estate agent Mark Spain’s annual marketing budget tops $1 million, but he doesn’t buy or sell real estate anymore.

Spain is Keller Williams Realty‘s biggest producer, and he embodies the people-first spirit that drives the large, fast-growing franchisor.

The secret to his unbridled success?

Mark Spain

Mark Spain

“It’s about people,” Spain said on a panel at Inman Connect San Francisco that explored the phenomenon that is Keller Williams. By “it,” he means everything — his reason for getting up in the morning, his success. He and his 55-agent team will close more than 1,400 transactions this year.

He’s fanatical about finding, hiring and keeping top-notch talent.

Spain was joined on the panel by Chris Heller, CEO of Keller Williams; Jerimiah Taylor, who leads a 400-agent Keller Williams brokerage in Arizona; and Beverly Steiner, owner of a Keller Williams brokerage in California and a board member of the franchisor’s charity-minded nonprofit, KW Cares.

The three echoed Spain’s passion for relationships and how it’s driven success in their business lives.

That ardor is no accident. The Keller Williams system, which includes over 100,000 agents, breeds a band-of-brokers-and-sisters outlook.

With W14C2TS, the firm has etched its principals in stone. The “belief system” stipulates that deals need to be win-win and that the customer always comes first, for example.

Agents either ride with them or fall off the bus, Taylor said.

By codifying its modus operandi in this way, the firm ensures everyone’s on the same page, striving for one mission. It fosters passionate enthusiasm and a feeling among agents that they’ve found their tribe, Taylor added.

The KW Cares foundation, which doled out $1.9 million to needy Keller Williams agents and their family members in 2014, exemplifies this village mentality.

“It’s about standing up and doing what’s right,” Steiner said. The franchisor raises funds for the nonprofit from within and doles 100 percent of it out to those in need.

“That bonds people together,” she added.

But beyond principals and sharing, transparency drives Keller Williams agents together. Steiner opens up her accounting books to all of her agents, so they know the business. There are no secrets.

“That puts all of us on the same team,” Steiner said.

Chris Heller

Chris Heller

Heller, who runs his own agent team in San Diego in addition to overseeing Keller Williams brandwide, said he is focused on keeping the troops motivated, from getting complacent.

He attributed that focus to his own strong success.

Heller may be Spain’s dream hire, which exemplifies one of the primary factors of the franchisor’s blazing success.

Email Paul Hagey.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription