Keller Williams Realty Named Top Training Organization Worldwide

Keller Williams Realty, the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count, was recognized by Training magazine, the leading business publication for learning and development professionals, as the No.1 training organization across all industries worldwide.

For the fourth consecutive year, Keller Williams placed in the Top 5 on the Training 125, which ranks companies’ excellence in employer-sponsored training and development programs.

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“We are incredibly honored by this recognition because of what it means for our people,” said John Davis, president, Keller Williams. “All of our training is focused on helping our agents grow their businesses and help their clients.”

“World-class training is the foundation of providing our agents with the resources and tools they need to fund their lives and create opportunities for their families,” said Davis.”

On January 30, Keller Williams received the No. 1 ranking at Training magazine’s annual awards gala in San Diego, California. With the honor, Keller Williams becomes eligible for induction into the Training Top 10 Hall of Fame for 2018.

“The 2017 Training Top 125 winners don’t just set the bar for employee training and development, they vault over it,” said Lorri Freifeld, editor-in-chief, Training magazine. “They are champions of learning and ensure their employees have the skills to succeed in this competitive, ever-changing world. They insist on training tied to corporate strategic goals, and they have the results to show for it.”

The Training Top 125 ranking is based on a myriad of benchmarking statistics such as total training budget; percentage of payroll; number of training hours per employee program; goals, evaluation, measurement, and workplace surveys; hours of training per employee annually; and detailed formal programs.

“At Keller Williams, we’re not only an open-books company, we’re an open-learning company,” said Dianna Kokoszka, CEO, KW MAPS Coaching. “The leaders of our company have fostered a culture of collaboration because we know that together everyone achieves more.”

The Training Top 125 ranking is also determined by assessing a range of qualitative and quantitative factors, including financial investment in employee development, the scope of development programs, and how closely such development efforts are linked to business goals and objectives.

“This is an exciting time in training and technology,” said Chris Heller, CEO, Keller Williams. “A decade from now, the way consumers search for and buy homes will be almost unrecognizable from the process today.”

“Our success at keeping our agents at the forefront of this evolution, helping them differentiate themselves in their local markets, and providing an extraordinary customer experience will be determined by how well we train our people, said Heller.”

In-depth profiles of each of the top five companies will appear in the January/February 2017 issue of Training magazine. For more information on the Training Top 125, visit www.trainingmag.com.

Simple Ways To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolutions

The new year is here and already off to a momentous start. Like many, you may have sat down and created some resolutions to keep you focused on creating your best year yet. But experts say that close to 80 percent of people don’t succeed in keeping their resolutions. Here are a few tricks to keeping yours and even some ideas to make resolutions if you haven’t done so yet. It’s never too late to plan for a good year!

Simply rewording your “resolutions” as “goals” can make a difference. This creates a positive mindset shift.

Did you make your resolutions fun? You are more likely to stick to your resolutions if you actually enjoy them. Hobbies can actually be good for you because they can lower stress levels, improve focus and improve brain power.

Set a goal with daily variety like expanding your vocabulary. The internet makes life easy for learning something new daily, especially a new word each day.

Other daily goals include establishing a ritual you can follow each morning at the same time. This will get you into the habit and after 66 days, it will become a part of your day that you don’t think about, like brushing your teeth.

Exercise is the most commonly set and failed resolution. To stick with it this year, redefine exercise to be something fun for you. If you don’t enjoy running, but love dancing, look into taking a Zumba class. If you don’t like to sweat much, consider swimming laps. Even brisk walking each day or opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator can sneak in exercise into your day.  Short on time? There are a variety of exercise apps available, even a seven minute one!

One of our favorite goals is to practice gratitude every day. Gratitude creates positivity, which fuels all the other goals above and more! Take a few minutes every day to reflect on what you are grateful for. Set your phone alarm for a random time in the middle of the day and program it to read, “Stop! Be grateful.”

Remember, most people are unsuccessful at keeping their resolutions because they tend to ask unrealistic expectations of themselves. Dream big, but tackle it in steps, not leaps. Start with small, actionable goals and you are likely to be more successful.

Increase Your Profits In 2017

OutFront article by: Ruben Gonzalez, Keller Williams Realty Staff Economist

With the market hitting highs in 2016 and potentially moving toward a peak, questions have been coming up about what agents should do when the market slows down and, specifically, how to manage expenses. To help with this important conversation, I interviewed Garrett Lenderman, lead writer and researcher of KW Publishing.

Lenderman, who works directly with Jay Papasan and Gary Keller, has spent a lot of time studying the Budget Model as well as the accounting and spending habits of agents to provide some insight for others on how they can manage expenses and increase profits, even in a shift.

Gonzalez: I want to talk about how agents should manage their budgets during shifts. But first, I want to start just by asking you, what is the single biggest observation you have had while looking at agent budgets?

Lenderman: The biggest observation I’ve had is that agents need to stay committed to having a budget and maintaining a P&L. Not many agents enjoy looking at numbers, and who can blame them? It’s important for agents to keep score and take into account things like their ROI when making decisions about spending money. Doing so creates accountability and is a diagnostic tool because it’s difficult to continually make smart decisions when you go with your gut.

One tool recently introduced to KW associates to help them with this process is the Profit Dash app. Profit Dash offers agents holistic finance management using KW’s exclusive listing and transmittal data right from their phone. It helps make managing expenses easier.

Gonzalez: On to the topic of shifts, what do you think are the things agents need to watch out for if they are headed into a slower market?

Lenderman: The first place I’d start with are expenses that sit below the line, and by that I mean expenses that aren’t necessary to the operation of your business. It’s tempting to treat your business as a personal account, but it’s important to separate that from your business expenses. If you do a good job of that already, the next place I’d look are expenses that aren’t vital for generating revenue. It’s easy, especially when things are going well, to take on extra expenses that aren’t directly driving revenue. But in a hard shift, those expenses can take you underwater.

It’s also important that you don’t make decisions you can’t outlast if things take a turn for the worst. This means either building up reserves that will prop you up in a shift or taking a good look at the affordability of long-term fixed expenses – especially those that would impact lead generation. When revenue starts to drop, you want to have minimal commitment to fixed expenses.

Gonzalez: What about teams? Are there some specific things that could get a team in trouble when things start to slow down?

Lenderman: The same rules apply for teams. However, I would say one of the biggest issues for teams now is their cost of sales. When things are booming and competitive, it can be a challenge to keep splits and salaries in check, but those are things that could make or break a team and will be a lot harder to negotiate down than it will be to keep them in line. Make sure you are making decisions that your business can survive when things get more difficult.

Gonzalez: Any final thoughts?

Lenderman: Watch out for shiny objects. It’s really easy when things are going well to start spending money on cool new systems, apps, fashionable furniture, sleek logos and watercoolers, but you need to really make investments that give you back multiple dollars in return. Hold your money accountable and have specific goals set for your investments. If you aren’t getting the return you want on something, cut the cord.

By: Ruben Gonzalez, Keller Williams Realty Staff Economist

Keller Williams Realty “Reinventing Work/Life Balance”

Blog Post From Jim Kennedy: Via (Huffington Post)

An increasing number of organizations are rethinking the concept of work/life balance.  During the US economic recession of 2007-2009, companies found new ways of doing more with less.  The advancement of technology meant that a number of jobs were abolished during that time and are never coming back.  Technology advancements also furthered the concept that an employee is never really off the clock.  The American Psychological Association reported that more people are working on weekends, during vacations and even while they are out sick.  Researchers are reporting that the line between work and home has effectively been blurred and workers are reporting more cases of burnout due to chronic job stress.

Workers are beginning to ask themselves a key question:  Am I working to live or am I living to work.  Gallup did a survey and found that 70% of U.S. workers are not actively engaged at work.  Employees are constantly being asked to make a choice between family and work and are increasingly saying that they want both.  Many prospective employees are now considering non-monetary factors as well as the opinions of current employees prior to making a decision on employment.  It is clear that many employers are listening.  In 2014, Forbes Magazine reported that 78% of employers rate employee retention and engagement as urgent or important.   Many are increasing the use of benefits such as alternate work schedules, personal services, parental leave, and even sabbaticals to attract and retain a quality workforce.  Some leaders, however, are strategically reinventing the concept of work/life balance.  One leader, in particular, had the courage and vision to make this a priority even before the term “employee engagement” ever existed.  That person is Gary Keller, the founder of Keller Williams Realty International (KWRI).

I first learned of Gary Keller and Keller Williams by reading a few of his many books on real estate.  His best seller books The Millionaire Real Estate Agent and The Millionaire Real Estate Investor are classic, how-to books on succeeding in real estate.  He followed those books with the wildly successful business book The ONE Thing:  The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.  I found the book to really be an extension of the company mission statement:  To build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, and lives worth living.  After reading Gary’s books and learning more about KWRI, I found three lessons that enabled me to achieve true work/life balance.

A Life By Design

KWRI was founded in 1983 by Gary Keller and Joe Williams.  From the start, Gary made it a point to design the company around the needs of its agents, not the other way around.   With this in mind, Keller Williams asks each new agent or employee to think about the life that they would like to lead and then to design a business around that.  The goal is to have people think about and have success in all phases of their lives, not just one part.  KWRI calls it having a life by design.

A Career Worth Having

KWRI is a market leader that only wants to succeed based on its core set of beliefs.  These beliefs guide how it conducts business as well as how it treats its workforce.  KWRI relies on these beliefs to create the systems, products, and services that lead to productivity and profitability.    To accomplish this, KWRI believes in putting its workforce first because it can only achieve success through its people.

Success On Your Terms

Most people think of KWRI as a Real Estate Brokerage.  What isn’t as widely known is that Keller Williams is also the number one training organization in the world according to Training Magazine.  In his book The ONE Thing, Gary asks an essential question:  What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?  KW’s training component, KW MAPS Coaching, is designed to help its workforce answer that question and then to offer tools to maximize their probability of success.  The main goal of KW MAPS coaching is to offer “programs for real estate professionals and business leaders to transform their businesses and lives through education and coaching.”  It offers many different programs for agents and employees to define, develop and refine success on their own terms.

KWRI thinks of itself as a training and consulting organization and encourages its workforce to reinvent the meaning of the concept of work/life balance based on individual and business needs.  The traditional 9-5 workday is long gone and companies such as Keller Williams are creating unique career paths to accommodate the individual needs of its workforce.  As a result, people can now find unique ways to fit work into their life.

Full Disclosure:  The author is a Licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Austin, Texas.

Shift Happens!

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan authors of the book SHIFT  have recently delivered critical action items every agent should take now. The market shift is here and spreading through each city. It is crucial to understand what the shift is, and how prepare your business in order to grow and remain profitable. This review of the book took place at Mega Camp in Austin, Texas over the past week.

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Reflecting on the title, Keller said that the book can actually work to reinvigorate any business at any time – it is not only for use during shifting markets. With that in mind, Keller and Papasan outlined five critical action items agents should do now to pave the way for not just a profitable year, but a profitable career.

Before taking action, you first need to recognize that shifts happen fast, and if you don’t prepare early, you may be too late. Start with your mindset and don’t assume it won’t happen to you. When things are going well, it is difficult to think about – let alone prepare for – them going bad. As Keller said:

When a market shifts, there is only one thing you can do: SHIFT WITH IT.

Get Right – Shift Your Actions with These Five Critical Action Items

In a shift, nothing becomes more critical than lowering your costs, re-energizing your people and systems, finding motivated buyers and sellers, and closing them to appointment.

Action 1 – Find Your Profit Through Expense Management

Now is the time to lower your expenses and make every dollar count. “To generate revenue, you generate leads, but to make a profit, you manage expenses,” Keller said. Some ways to do this are as follows:

Maintain a monthly budget that matches your shifting revenue.

Re-margin your personal expenses so that your business and personal life live within their means.

Profit is made in managing expenses.

Action 2 – Do More with Less Through Leverage

As you manage your expenses and make necessary cuts, you will need to get creative to do more with less and make every body count.

A market shift can be an opportunity to upgrade and top-grade your business. This is a gift of the shift. Follow these guidelines to help get your entire team in shift mode:

  1. Be visible and communicate to set the tone.
  2. Ramp up your training to upgrade their skills.
  3. Re-tool your systems for efficiency and focus.
  4. Increase your recruiting to top-grade personnel.

Action 3 – Lead Generate to Find the Motivated 

The race is on to find the ready, willing and able clients to buy, because in a shift, there is no longer enough to go around. A shift presents an opportunity to find the truly motivated, but you need to make every activity count.

While the market may change, the reasons people buy homes don’t, so find those motivated buyers.

Action – Improve Lead Conversion to Get to the Table

Good leads are great, but leads that become appointments with motivated people are the only leads that matter in a shift. Make sure you take the time and do the activities to make every lead count.

Action 5 – Leverage Your Market Center / ALL HANDS ON DECK – No one succeeds alone.

It’s time for all hands on deck because, as we know, no one succeeds alone. To get your market center working in concert, follow these activities:

  1. Share timely information.
  2. Coordinate training on key topics.
  3. Partner recruiting with the team leader and other associates.

How To Grow Your Database

Building small communities in your city, school district, neighborhood and workplace is one of the best ways to reach every potential contact in your sphere of influence. And who doesn’t want to expand their sphere and add to their database? While communicating with friends, family and acquaintances online is easier and more efficient, it is still important to interact in person and make personal connections. The more connected you are, the more leads you will get.


 

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USE FACEBOOK AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook groups are an excellent way to target small groups within your community. They are easy to create and maintain, and they bring new contacts straight to your database. Members of your Facebook group can add friends who have an interest in the group and who are active members in the community. The larger the Facebook group, the more people you will contact. However, only add people to the group who are actually in the community you want to build.

Some good Facebook groups to create include:

Local groups

Use your proximity to people as a resource for building a community.

  • School. Your kids’ school is a great way to meet other parents. PTA, room moms, and extracurriculars are awesome groups to get involved with in your local school district.
  • Work. Create a Facebook group for your department or introduce yourself to your significant other’s coworkers and spouses.
  • Parent. Take your parent-of-the-kid group message to social media! Facebook groups for moms and dads allow you to create events and send out invitations that don’t get lost in a sea of text messages.
  • Neighborhood. If your homeowners association or neighborhood association doesn’t have a Facebook group already, start one! This is possibly the most important community to be a part of because the members care about local real estate … and you are the local real estate expert.

Common interest groups

Use a shared love or passion to connect with people in a community.

  • Hobbies. Running, crafting, Netflix-binging, wine tasting. Things you love doing in your free time.
  • Sports. College or professional football, soccer, baseball, volleyball. Whatever gets the crowd cheering.
  • Events. Concerts, musicals, plays, screenings. Anything going on around town.

ORGANIZE WEEKLY/MONTHLY MEETUPS

Now that you’ve built these communities and touched your growing database on social media, go one step further and make a personal connection with the group members. Plan and organize frequent meetups that allow your community to connect your face with your brand. Happy hours, playdates, watch parties and sporting events are all fun and creative ways to get to know your database on a personal level.


The benefit of building communities online and in person is knowing the people around you that you otherwise could overlook as potential clients or lead sources. Build trust and your reputation as a resource in the community, get the message out that you want to help them and the people they know with their real estate needs, and market yourself as the local real estate expert.

Now that you’ve got a strong foundation, go out and build a community!

Improving Concentration In The Workplace

Learn to Focus

A limited attention span, restlessness and distractibility are all signs that you are not being your most effective at work. But the good news is that there is something you can do about it.  These following do-it-yourself tasks will help you to improve not only your concentration but the total effectiveness of your entire workday. Are you ready to get more done in less time?
Taking Control of Your Concentration to Increase Your Production
First things first – make an honest list of your biggest distractions.

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For many people it’s the internet, such as nonessential emails and social media, their phone, conversations with co-workers, breaking often for food, working in noisy offices and more. Half of any battle is recognizing and prioritizing what your biggest distractions are. Doing this simple task will help you work toward managing them, as well as having them organized in your mind.

Once you have the list of major distractors created, make a plan to get them out of your workday. It is easier than it may seem. Simply set up boundaries and only allow the distractive activities during your least productive hours and in small qualities. For real estate agents, this means absolutely none of these distractors should be available to you during your lead generation time in the morning.

Put an autoresponder on your email to let colleagues know you are working on your ONE Thing and will respond to all emails later. If there is an emergency, they should call you.

Unless Facebook is a major lead generation machine for you, and that is the only activity you are doing while on the site during your lead generation time block, turn it off. You may set out to check one update, but before you know it, you have spent 30 minutes or more engaging in activity that isn’t helping you with your production.

Turning the phone off is a little tricky as it should always be available for emergencies. Turn off text sound notifications and only answer essential calls. You can set your voicemail message to let callers know when your window for return calls will be.

If you are in a collaborative work environment and find it hard to concentrate with the noise and socialization, seek out a quiet place to work on your most critical tasks for the day. If this means working from your home office where you know you cannot be interrupted, do it and then go into the office later.

Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize.

Eliminating distractions is the first part of the battle. You need to remain focused on tasks once you are settled in to complete them. Tackle the highest priority first.Sometimes these projects are the ones we dislike doing the most. Putting them off leaves you with a lingering sense of dread and ineffectiveness. Finishing them off first and putting them behind you improves your organizational skills, and gives you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Avoid Email Rabbit Holes

In a world where text and email make up a majority of business communications, it is important to be able to identify when a phone call would make things easier. If you find yourself in an email chain on a single topic that is beyond three messages,consider making a phone call to wrap up the issue.

Time block to check email. Put aside chunks of time to not only read your email list, but organize it. Answer the most pertinent messages first and work your way down the list. This rids the feeling of being constantly tied to your computer and phone and prevents email distractions.

Maximize Your Calendar

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First and foremost is time block. If it isn’t on your calendar, it doesn’t exist. Make sure all your daily tasks are allotted time on the calendar. Also, organize your calendar with category colors to separate tasks by work, home, recreation, etc. This will help you quickly scan and identify what you have for the day. Use alerts to remind and prepare yourself for upcoming events and deadlines.
Break It Off

Rome wasn’t built in a day and some of your projects won’t be completed in a day either. Compartmentalize those big projects. Breaking them down into tasks takes away the issues of size and scope and can prevent you from getting off track.

Take Space

Create a designated work space and be consistent about using it. Having an environment that is specific and conducive to work will increase your tendency to stay focused.

Tune Out

If you share a work area or are in a highly distracting environment, use headphones to tune out office noise. This is also a universal sign to your co-workers that you are trying to focus. You can also place a sign up to let people know you are working on your ONE Thing and they should come back later.

Avoid the Trap of Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking is tempting. It also leads to common mistakes, lack of attention to detail and, when it goes wrong, a colossal waste of time. Stick to one task at a time, most especially on the highest priority projects.

Take a Break

Our brains need to reset and relax. Good options for breaks include a short a walk, stretch, meditation, eating a healthy snack, etc.
Make Sense of Scents

The following essential oils are believed to have these qualities:

Pine – increases alertness
Cinnamon – improves focus
Lavender – is relaxing
Peppermint – is mood lifting and can help with headaches
Citrus – induces happiness