Keller Williams announced Thursday it’s making significant changes to the cost structure of its KW MAPS Coaching division, at a cost of $20 million to the company. The move comes at a time when global markets — including real estate — are slowing due to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“Keller Williams’ position is, cutting expenses right now is the number one thing agents need to do to weather out the storm,” Keller Williams President Josh Team told Inman. “The number one way that we can help an agent do that is by cutting some of our profits.”
KW Maps Coaching will be offered at a 50 percent discount for agents currently enrolled in the company’s master, breakthrough and productivity services, through June 1. New mastery clients that enroll in a one-year contract will receive two free months of mastery coaching, according to Team.
In May, the company will also be releasing BOLD Pivot, a digital version of the company’s BOLD offering — a seven-week course to help agents with lead generation and business-building habits — at a greatly reduced cost. BOLD is currently available to agents for $799, but BOLD Pivot will be offered for $99.
Keller Williams will stay be paying its coaches and staff their full rates, so Keller Williams estimates the reduction in price will cost the company roughly $20 million.
Keller Williams, unlike many of its competitors — namely Realogy Franchise Group, RE/MAX and eXp Realty — is a privately held company. Publicly traded real estate companies have been getting hammered in the public markets, with RE/MAX, Realogy, eXp Realty, Zillow and Redfin all seeing their company stock values more than halved in the past month.
Zillow announced earlier this week that it would cover 50 percent of the contract costs for Premier Agent clients next month, which would cost the company and estimated $40 to $50 million.
“I come from the publicly traded world so I was expecting it to be like a lot of other companies that are publicly traded and have shareholders where we look at how we’re going to cut expenses,” Team said. “The first thing [Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller] wanted to talk about was how we’re going to cut profits to help our agents, which is such a different tone than I was used to.”
This is the initial step Keller Williams is taking, according to Team. The company will continue to monitor the situation and talk to agents on the ground to figure out what they can do to better help them get through both a pandemic and global downturn.
“We’re also looking at programs to help subsidize agents in other areas in all different types of activities,” Team added. “We’re committed to doing whatever we can and need to do to make sure our agents are taken care of as we go through together.”
Team also praised the leadership of Keller, who has been in the industry for more than four decades and has been through many different cycles. Team said Keller brings a calming presence and walked him through the patterns of past recessions and how to navigate these tough times.
The most powerful thing of all, however, according to Team, is Keller’s commitment to agents.
“His commitment to agents and his ability to make long-term investments to help agents, we’re able to do things to help our agents and make decisions with only one person in mind, the agent.”