I was fortunate enough to attend Keller Williams Family Reunion — the brokerage’s annual meeting — in New Orleans and wanted to share a few of my reflections from the event in general and, in particular, from the keynote talk given by CEO and co-founder Gary Keller.
Gary Keller made waves last year, most significantly at Inman Connect San Francisco in conversation with Brad Inman, by outlining his belief that agents would have to quickly make a fundamental decision: Do they want to be an “agent-fiduciary” enabled by tech, or are they satisfied with tech being the fiduciary and the agent relegated to the support role?
The discussion between Gary Keller and Brad Inman raised a logical and crucial question for the individual agent to consider: In an era of disruption, are you at the company that will allow you to survive and thrive?
Gary Keller’s message to agents
Clearly, at Keller Williams Family Reunion, the question of being at the right company had been answered for everyone in the room — but their CEO still had a tough message for them and, by extension, their fellow agents throughout the industry.
Gary Keller reminded his audience that the pace of disruption in the real estate industry was showing little sign of slowing down and that agents had to move quickly and purposefully to respond to the threat.
The message for Keller Williams agents was that they must, as an absolute priority, take advantage of the tools that are being rolled out in the coming days, weeks and months, and systematically transform their business, and their business practice, to become “tech-enabled.”
In a sense, Family Reunion 2019 was the logical bookend to a conversation started by Gary Keller at the same event a year earlier (and continued at Inman Connect San Francisco). The intervening year has seen both confirmation of the rapid changes roiling the industry and, as Gary Keller noted, the agent-centric response to that change.
The call to action for 2019
Now, with new tools leaving the production pipeline, the responsibility really begins to shift to the individual agent who needs to embrace the tools at their disposal and revamp their business.
For me, that is the real lesson from Family Reunion 2019 for Keller Williams and non-Keller Williams agents alike. Each agent, individually or within their teams, needs to quickly go through a business needs analysis, develop a tech-oriented business plan for 2019 and work, ideally with a coach, to ensure that they execute that plan at a high level.
Let’s briefly consider those three steps:
1. Business needs analysis
There are a number of different ways to conduct this analysis — and if the individual agent or team has a coach, they should certainly play a key role.
A good tool to use is a SWOT analysis. This would see the agent’s individual real estate business be examined, through a tech lens, with its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats considered and committed to paper.
2. Tech-oriented plan
The next step is for the agent to be clear-eyed in reviewing the business needs/SWOT analysis and working to develop a tech-oriented business plan for the remainder of 2019.
This plan should include changes that need to happen throughout their business, from marketing and the consumer search experience to lead generation and transaction management.
The third step is for the specific proposed changes to be folded into the agents’ business. This is going to be the hardest step for many. Agents are creatures of habit, and changing ingrained habits will not be easy.
Many agents will find it highly beneficial to hire a coach to assist them with this process. If your budget does not stretch enough to hire a coach yet, perhaps an accountability partner could assist.
There is clearly much change to come in the real estate industry during this era of disruption, and the individual agent should make sure to not adopt a head-in-the-sand approach to change.
However, individual agents need to do more than simply observe — they need to understand how their business will be impacted, come up with a response and ensure that they are held accountable for implementing that change.
The call to action for every agent in 2019 is to get tactical about integrating tech into every facet of their business now.