“Right now, we’re living in two different times. It’s the best of times for the remarkable individual and worst of times for the unremarkable individual. Technology is rewriting the rules, reinventing job descriptions, creating new industries and eliminating others. I’m ready to rewrite the rules if you are.”
Standing onstage – dressed in his signature black attire – Gary Keller, co-founder and chairman of Keller Williams, delivered the most anticipated speech of the year to a packed house at Family Reunion in Anaheim, California. At his side were Josh Team, chief innovation officer, and Jay Papasan, vice president of KW Publishing.
Instead of housing and the economy, the rousing address focused solely on the state of technology and how Keller Williams – a technology company – is rapidly innovating to build the platform agents and consumers prefer.
“We are in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ – an era of the machine-powered ‘know-it-all’ business that’s always on, analyzing, learning and thinking,” Keller continued.
Big data is king, and artificial intelligence can be a competitor or a partner. Through AI’s limitless computing abilities, agents are able to access data like never before, gain more insights and, ultimately, win the battle.
“The real estate industry is in a battle, and the players will be decided in the next 12 - 18 months. The game has not been won and you are not late to the party. However, there is a sense of urgency.”
In order to be competitive and successful in the fourth industrial revolution, agents must do the following:
Control their data
Move to digital platforms
Disrupt through data share
With the impending “digital boom,” more and more technology companies are flooding into the real estate space, vying for agents’ data. The goal is to turn this data into meaningful insights and run their businesses off of agents’ hard work.
“The one with the most insights wins. And, the one with the most data will have the most insights,” Keller explained. “Let someone else have your data and soon they’ll know more than you do.”
Off-the-shelf CRMs, transaction management systems and AVMs are not safe, Keller warned. Why?
“They are no longer asking for you to introduce their products to your customers. They’re now buying the tools you're using and they’re taking your data without your permission.”
For the promise of more leads and less headaches, agents are giving up precious and invaluable data that is powering the agent-enabled platforms of their competitors.
“Don't panic, though,” Keller reassured. “If you control your database, transactions, and proprietary knowledge and insights, you can decide how relevant you'll be. Real estate agents are NOT going away.”
Armed with their own data, agents can walk out victorious, but they must mirror forward-thinking companies such as Netflix and Google, and MOVE to digital spaces.
“You must make the decision that you will be digitally based and physically enhanced,” Keller advised. “The best strategy is to be both. Every great business will have a physical presence. The digital will redefine what the physical will do.”
Additionally, “technology can no longer be bolted on to an agent’s business; it has to BE the business,” Keller emphasized.
Keller’s confidence was palpable as he moved into the future of real estate. Largely unwritten, the future places unprecedented power into an agent’s hands and provides Keller Williams an opportunity to disrupt – again.
“We disrupted the real estate industry through profit share and forever changed the industry,” said Keller. “Today, we must partner again in a completely new way. We are going to have to go from a profit share relationship to a data share company to win the war.”
Like soldiers going to battle, Keller charged agents to power forward together.
“We must lock arms, team up and power through the fourth industrial revolution by creating the most powerful, proprietary real estate database on the planet.”
With over 170,000+ agents as technology partners, Keller Williams is redefining the real estate experience and embarking on a data-sharing journey that keeps the AGENT at the center of the real estate transaction – as well as the consumer’s guide through the homeownership journey.