The announcement came during Keller Williams President Josh Team’s one-on-one interview with Clelia Peters, the president of Warburg Realty and Inman’s editor-at-large, at Inman Connect at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.
“It’s the first time that agents will have a national search portal of their own, branded as them, and it connects back to their agent operating system, allowing them to rise above restrictions of the local MLS and do that type of lead generation,” Team said. “And in the same mobile app where they can search, it’s also the first time the consumer can transact on their phone.”
Team said this is the first iteration of that end-to-end journey that everyone else in the industry is chasing, like RE/MAX, Compass, Realogy and others. The consumer app was the final piece of that, according to Team, who said, it’s the technology that he’s the most excited about for the upcoming year.
“At the end of the day, what we’re moving towards is this end-to-end platform, that agents can run their entire operating system, their entire business, from one system, their lead generation, their deal management, website, mobile app and transaction management, all of that stays in one system,” Team said.
The new Keller Williams app will be the first time an agent will be able to take their branded app, allowing clients to download branded versions of that app and pass it along to their friends and family. The app offers all of these consumers a branded search experience, collections, communications within the app and an end-to-end transaction experience.
It’s a development from Keller Williams that even brought CEO Gary Keller back to the Inman stage – albeit by pre-recorded video – after his much-talked-about appearance at Inman Connect in San Francisco in 2018.
Keller Williams’ new app is partly inspired by some of the best-in-class search experience, with Team highlighted both Redfin and Zillow as companies with strong search experiences.
“If you’re going and building a new search experience for agents to go give to their clients, that’s table stakes,” Team said. “They’ve raised the standard of what online search should be.”
Keller Williams builds its technology through an extensive labs process, where agents test features and provide real-time feedback. The company sometimes implements features and changes within as little as a week, which helps keep agents from being frustrated being the company’s guinea pigs, Team explained to Peters.
There are, of course, 160,000 agents, so they can be frustrated at times, but Team explained that, within the culture that Gary Keller has built, agents truly do feel like partners in the development of technology.
Another key to agents feeling like partners is providing them with a transparent development roadmap and having tough conversations when there are issues with things. Command, Keller Williams’ proprietary customer relationship management tool, had issues with more complicated and in-depth searches, at it scaled up, according to Team. He had to explain to agents that, with about 44 million active contacts in our database, about a million a week being added, search has to be fast, before expanding the ability to go deeper.
“We make a lot of decisions where we’re right, we make a lot of decisions where we’re wrong,” Team said. “That’s not the important part of the journey.”
“It’s around making sure we have a partnership and getting that feedback in real-time,” Team added. “As long as that partnership holds true, we can continue to deliver more and more value.”