So who or what is Keller Williams? A few years ago, Keller Williams Realty had no real visibility of reputation in the California marketplace. In fact, just three years ago when I joined KW, many of my friends and colleagues would ask why I choose KW instead of one of the “prestige” real estate companies.
Today – as everyone who owns a home or wants to buy home locally knows – there has been a landmark shift in the real estate market. Prices have dropped significantly, interest rates are at historical lows, and real estate agents who decided to get a license during the boom years to cash in and make a quick buck have fled the market in droves.
Meanwhile, the biggest real estate firms in the United States have experienced contraction: Coldwell Banker, Century 21, RE/MAX.
But in dazzling contrast, Keller Williams actually grew during the period from 2008-2009; grew in agents, grew in profits, grew in market centers. Keller Williams also received the highest award for customer satisfaction from JD Powers and Associates in 2009 and numerous other industry rewards. It is currently considered the #1 trendsetter in the real estate industry (according to Swanepoel’s annual review) and is moving up the ranks towards the top of the 500 best franchises internationally.
What’s the secret: The culture. The basic culture and principles of Keller Williams are known as the “WI4C2TS.” What does that mean?
Win-Win or no deal
Integrity: do the right thing
Commitment: in all things
Communication: seek first to understand
Creativity: ideas before results
Customers: always come first
Teamwork: together everyone achieves more
Trust: starts with honesty
Success: results through people
It’s not just a cutesy set of sayings, people here really ascribe to it and are committed to doing the best they can. One example is KW CARES – which is part of the KW culture. It is the charitable arm of the company and for every transaction every agent does, there is always an opportunity to contribute a portion of the commission to KW Cares. Sample projects that KW Cares has supported include Haiti, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and a variety of other needs both large and small throughout the world.
Today, customers demand that companies be nimble, listen to their needs, and respond rapidly. Companies like Keller Williams that have it as their mission to provide that type of service are the ones who are succeeding and thriving even in this tough economic environment. Companies like Google and Apple have similar principles, remaining in touch with their client base, really listening to what the client wants and needs and remaining flexible and responsive to changing environments.
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