The race to build the first end-to-end real estate platform is over, and agents with other companies are competing for second place, Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller told his agents during the franchise’s “State of the Company” address at its annual Family Reunion conference in New Orleans on Monday.
“Our goal for you: anyone you’re competing with, they’re playing for second place in your community,” a blustery Keller told the crowd after taking the stage to AC/DC and leading with a second of air guitar.
Earlier over the weekend, Keller, who is a longtime guitarist, took to the stage to play with a band in a cover of classic rock band Chicago’s hit song “25 or 6 to 4.”
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But the guitar work did not get in the way of Keller’s strong opinions on real estate.
Previously, competition in the industry led to consumer confusion, because all platforms did pretty much the same thing, especially on the home search level, Keller told his audience on Monday.
“We’ve all been competing at a place where you can do what I can do, I can do what you can do. So the consumer has had a difficult time differentiating between you and an aggregator,” Keller said. “They just don’t understand. That game is changing.”
Keller said the industry is morphing into a land grab now, and Keller Williams made an aggressive move this weekend unveiling its new customer relationship management tool (CRM) Command and previewing its forthcoming consumer-facing mobile app that will help Keller Williams compete more directly with portal giant Zillow and digital brokerage Redfin.
With Command and Keller’s Williams consumer app, Keller Williams clients will be able to get a market analysis on a neighborhood level, something that KW President Josh Team said can’t currently be done with Zillow or Redfin.
Keller compared the launch of Keller Williams’ consumer app to Amazon, Facebook and Netflix getting customers. Once they’ve hooked those customers, those customers don’t leave. They may add something new, but they don’t abandon their old platforms.
“As a consumer uses a particular site or app it starts morphing into their personal experience and all their stuff gets in there, just like mobile banking,” Keller said.
“If someone else comes along and says, ‘We now have caught up with Keller Williams. We now have a consumer app and it does all these cool things;’ the consumer is going to go, ‘Why would I undo my home management system? Why would I undo my automatic re-finance program? Why would I undo all of the customization and all the things that AI has done to give me a custom experience that can’t be duplicated? Why would I turn around and ditch all of that and pick up yours?”
Keller said the question he hears all the time is, “What happens when the competition catches up with your agents with technology?”
“Platform changes everything,” Keller said. “This is not, are they going to catch up to me, this is, they cannot catch up to me.”
“The race was to build a platform,” Keller added. “The race was to get to the platform and beginning to offer unique experiences that ultimately become customized to the point where it can’t be duplicated. Once you get there, everyone else is playing for second place.”
Since launching Command to the entire Keller Williams community on Saturday, agents have added nine contacts per second, Team said.
Keller Williams has been competing over the past year with Compass and RE/MAX, both of whom are building end-to-end platforms for agents.