Keller Williams company-wide purge of “ghost agents” immediately dropped the franchisor’s agent count by nearly 11,000, according to company earnings.
But even as agent count drops, one of the nation’s top franchisors is reporting growth in sales volume, transactions and getting more and more agents to adopt its proprietary technology.
In 2018, Keller Williams agents closed 1,095,847 transactions, a year-over-year increase of 2.2 percent, according to the company’s year-end results. Those transactions represented a total of $332.4 billion in sales volume, up 5.7 percent from 2017.
In February, Inman exclusively reported that Keller Williams had begun to purge their rosters of, “ghost agents,” and for the first time, that purge seems to be reflected in the numbers. Keller Williams combined U.S. and Canada agent count, as of January 31, was reported at 159,447 agents.
At the end of the third quarter of 2018, Keller Williams reported a total of 170,130 agents. That 10,683 agent drop is a direct result of updating the rosters, a spokesperson for Keller Williams told Inman.
“While additional market center roster clean-up continued to happen into February, we still expect to remain within our initial estimate of agent count losses for the U.S. and Canada,” Darryl Frost, a spokesperson for Keller Williams told Inman.
Keller Williams originally told Inman that it expected between 10,000-15,000 agents would be dropped from the company roster.
Aside from agent productivity, the focus of much of Keller Williams’ earning release was on technology, which makes sense, considering the company’s recent emphasis on in-house tech development through KW Labs.
“Keller Williams is not only the company you knew, it’s morphing into the company that you need,” Gary Keller, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Keller Williams, said at Keller Williams Family Reunion earlier this year.
“Over the past year, we’ve been so appreciative of our KW Labs participants for the leadership they have provided,” Keller added. “And, we will keep on going. Relentless is the word when it comes to us building a powerful agent-driven consumer experience.”
The company launched Kelle, it’s artificial intelligence powered virtual assistant for agents in February 2018, and by years end 146,279 agents downloaded Kelle. In the fourth quarter alone, 15,883 agents downloaded Kelle, according to the company’s year-end results.
In total, 27,311 live referrals were sent via Kelle in 2018 and 578,549 Market Snaps – a Kelle skill that allows agents to pull and share local market reports – were shared.
“By the end of 2019, we will have the most robust, global, fully connected, AI-powered real estate platform that the world has ever seen,” Josh Team, president of Keller Williams said. “Our entire job, the whole reason we’re doing all of this is, so that our people can offer the personalized, digital experience that consumers demand.”
Keller Williams reported impressive growth outside of the United States and Canada in 2018, opening new franchises in Chile and Ireland. Agents outside the United State and Canada closed 27,031 transactions in 2018, a year-over-year increase of 43.4 percent. Agents also closed $4.5 billion in sales volume, a 37 percent increase from 2017.