AgentBrokerage

Gary Keller rallies troops at Mega Camp

Industry leader cajoles agents to use technology, proffers warnings about Internet marketplace and emphasizes leads as road to success

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Takeaways:

  • Your agent data is protected with Keller Williams deal with dotloop.
  • 50 percent of KW agents have positive ROI with portals.
  • Online reputation depends on agents articulating their value proposition and being held accountable.

Keller Williams co-founder and Chairman Gary Keller methodically walked 10,000 agents through economic trends, technology issues and the tricky relationship the industry has with venture-backed and publicly traded Internet companies at Keller Williams’ Mega Camp this morning.

The charismatic leader mixed economic advice with warnings about the Internet, but he also talked about how to embrace the digital future with 3-D images, big data, online leads and Internet reputation.

But, as always, he cajoled his agent believers to work every day on generating leads. Leads equal listings, which equals leverage, according to the Keller educational mantra.

Keller did say, however, that one change to this fundamental message is the importance of agents articulating their value proposition to their buyers and sellers and insisting that the customer hold the agent accountable. This equates to strong reviews and a good online reputation online, and it has never been more important, according to Keller.

He did an artful job of painting a picture of how agents must weave themselves into the digital age, leverage technology while emphasizing the importance of the human touch.

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“The Internet cannot put you out of business — talking to people one-on-one trumps” any digital relationship, he said.

A big part of Keller’s message was the importance of “walking around as an educated professional” in the context of of the overwhelming power of the Internet marketplace.

Although he said every prediction that real estate agents would be disintermediated has not yet borne fruit, he also said that KW had done a study of 1,000 agents that showed 50 percent of them got a positive ROI on portal advertising.

He added that “Zillow is not trying to put you out of business. They depend on agents; they are a vendor.”

But he also warned that Internet companies can change their direction, and they operate differently than offline companies like KW.

There are “two planets: One is planet Earth, and the other is planet digital,” said Keller.

The Internet marketplace for real estate is  “simple today but may not be so simple tomorrow,” he warned. People at digital companies who make promises today can get fired or sold. They can “dotloop you, sell and not keep their promise.”

However, he noted that the KW agreement with dotloop protects the agent data.

“We love dotloop; they are a wonderful vendor. Our contract is clear with dotloop,” he said.

On Zillow and realtor.com, Keller said, “portal businesses do not represent a threat today; they want you to make a lot of money.”

He raved about the Upstream project as an important step to control listing data for the agent. He talked about the Broker Public Portal and compared its potential to the Canadian success with one public portal controlled by the real estate industry.

Keller also discussed the economy and the housing market.

He said that the housing market is balanced and “real estate is still undervalued.”

He also warned against trying to predict the housing market or the economy, but said take advantage of it.

The health of the market, he said, is driven by prices, income and interest rates.

The charismatic founder often leans on traditional values to explain success. For example, he said “laziness will kill your business.”

He recommend agents set aside hours each day to do lead generation. Success in real estate is “time spent on lead generation.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referred to Gary Keller as the founder of Keller Williams, but Joe Williams was also a founder of the company. We have updated Keller’s title to co-founder.