Ahead of his first Family Reunion since returning to Keller Williams as CEO, Mark Willis shared his excitement with Inman — and his call for a return to the basics amid a housing market in flux.

The moment has arrived — the moment to take charge. This summer, at Inman Connect Las Vegas, July 30-Aug 1, 2024, experience the complete reinvention of the most important event in real estate. Join your peers and the industry’s best as we shape the future — together. Learn more.

Keller Williams CEO Mark Willis has been in the industry for 37 years, but he still speaks with the excitement of a new agent ready to take over the world.

In his first 100 days since returning to the helm following a failed bid by rival eXp Realty to recruit the real estate veteran, Willis told Inman he has focused on reconnecting with agents and brokers and building a leadership team that can supercharge Keller Williams’ growth without sacrificing culture.

Mark Willis

“It doesn’t feel like work,” Willis told Inman during a 10-minute conversation between a flurry of meetings finalizing details for the franchisor’s annual Family Reunion conference. “When we were a small regional real estate company with a vision to be the largest in the world, and I was a driver that got us that goal. Now I get to focus on our holding that position, and it’s been a ton of fun.”

Willis said more than 16,000 Keller Williams agents, broker and franchisees are expected to attend the five-day conference at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which features more than 100 sessions covering everything from mastering a positive mindset to successfully building a mega team, a’la Adam Hergenrother or Tim Heyl.

However, amongst all of the tips and tricks that will be shared, Willis said his main objective is teaching agents how to cut the noise and focus on the basics of good business — a strategy he said has propelled Keller Williams to where it is today.

“Do less, more,” he said. “[That’s] our mantra.”

Inman: This is your first Family Reunion since returning as CEO in November 2023. How have your first 100+ days been back at the helm? What are you most excited about this upcoming week? 

The first 100 days have been fantastic. It’s been about reconnecting with our leaders who are boots on the ground [and] understanding how we can serve them at the highest level.

“Do less, more” is our mantra. That means focusing on the essential basic activities that drive the key outcomes that our market centers desire. Keller Williams has a very special culture that is second to none — We know when we take care of our people first, everything else is easier. When you’re focused on relationships over business metrics, your day-to-day work becomes easier and more fluid.

It’s been all about serving our people, pouring into them, helping them get what they want [and] teaching them how to think so that they can thrive in this market.

What is the overarching theme for this year’s Family Reunion? What’s the primary message you believe KW’s agents, brokers, etc. need to hear so they can thrive?

I’ll start with the fact we’re expecting 16,000 attendees this year, and we believe [the Family Reunion] is the largest and the most important event that occurs in the real estate industry. It’s really about connecting with our people and creating alignment and clarity about how to capitalize on the opportunities of the market through the education, the training and the data they need.

We’re excited about announcing where we are with Command technology platform. We have Tony Robbins and Mel Robbins as our keynote speakers. And then, of course, we have Gary Keller’s [State of the Market] speech and my State of the Company address on Tuesday. That’s where we’ll show where we are and what’s ahead for Keller Williams.

When thinking about the future, we certainly have to look at the past — 2023 was an incredibly tough year for the industry between navigating market fluctuations and a series of landmark buyer-broker commission lawsuits. What challenges do you see coming in 2024, and what’s the game plan for helping agents navigate these challenges?

Twenty-twenty three was definitely an interesting year. It was a year where the industry went into shock not only over the market, but just the challenges that we all faced, in terms of cooperative compensation. I believe that what we do is one of the most important services offered in any industry, and one challenge is teaching our agents to articulate that value proposition to the public. We have a program we are launching called Value Squared, it is all about helping our agents do that.

Overall, we’re excited about 2024. There is some cautious optimism. We’re always going to show up as though we’re in the worst market that we’ve ever been in and work hard. We’re seeing some downward trends in interest rates and we’re seeing opportunities open up in the market. People who are out there in the marketplace serving their consumers and are well equipped to deal with the challenges in the market will continue to build their businesses.

From the outside looking in, it seems KW has maintained strong brand growth despite market headwinds. You just launched a new certificate with Coursera and were named one of the top 500 franchises in Entrepreneur magazine. What are the growth goals for 2024?

I believe we’ll see positive growth in agent count, and we’re already seeing trends where our production is inching forward compared to our 2023 numbers. As I said, I’m cautiously optimistic about the opportunities ahead, but  there’s no question that that if you’re going to own a real estate company, that Keller Williams is the best — We are a franchise system that has very well defined models in terms of our organization, our operations, our lead generation, etc.

Whether it is for our market center franchisees or whether it’s for our agents, it’s about not behaving like salespeople with jobs. It’s about being business owners, who are building businesses, securing opportunities and following our well-documented blueprint. We expect positive things in 2024.

Email Marian McPherson

This post was originally published on this site