In his first Family Reunion address since returning as CEO of Keller Williams last year, Mark Willis called on agents to rise up and topple Anywhere, the world’s largest real estate franchisor.

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Keller Williams’ 2023 was a mix of roses and thorns, with the Texas-based franchisor handily securing their position on multiple “best of” lists for leadership, company culture, agent production and technology all while being mired in two landmark buyer-broker commission lawsuits, both of which the company settled on Feb. 1 for $70 million.

The company’s agent count remained steady with 162,000 agents across the U.S. and Canada closing 895,000 transaction sides worth $379 billion. Meanwhile, Keller Williams Worldwide’s 18,000 agents closed 87,000 transaction sides worth $17 billion.

Mark Willis

Although the company outperformed the rest of the industry in agent count growth based on National Association of Realtors statistics, Keller Williams CEO Mark Willis said the Texas-based franchisor had flat agent count growth in 2023 — a sobering statistic for a company that’s known for robust recruitment and retention.

“KW family, our growth was flat and we did not capture additional market share,” he said during his first KW Family Reunion State of the Company address in eight years. “I remember a time and I know many of you do too when we would routinely outperform the industry year in and year out.”


Willis attributed lackluster growth to elevated mortgage rates, worsening affordability, low inventory, and several other macroeconomic headwinds that suffocated sales throughout 2023. The record rise in new agents over the past several years didn’t help either; leading to an incredibly competitive market.

“Now I could get up here, I can talk about the models that position us to thrive in this market. Because believe me, they do,” he said. “Our economic model, our operating model, our organizational model that absolutely set us apart from every single competitor we have.”

“That’s not to mention all of our wonderful education through KW and our amazing technology platforms,” he added. “But if I’m being honest with you it isn’t enough. For a mature company like ours, we need to do more.”

Echoing the insights from his Inman Interview a few days before the conference, Willis challenged agents to “reject the status quo” and regain an “insatiable hunger” to be the real estate experts buyers and sellers count on. He also called on leadership to fulfill a goal of recruiting 100,000 agents this year, which would account for one-fifth of the new agents that are expected to get their licenses in 2024.

“For all the leaders in the room, I want to be really clear, that priority is 1,000 percent focused on growth. Growth is the lifeblood of our business,” he said. “KW family, if half a million new agents enter the industry this year,
we should recruit a minimum, a minimum of 100,000 of them.”

Willis said Keller Williams’ leverage lies in its expanding agent education empire with Coursera and Kaplan, and its sweeping proprietary technology platform KW Command.

Chris Cox

Keller Williams Chief Technology Officer Chris Cox joined Willis onstage to announce several upgrades to KW Command and education platform KW Connect, namely the addition of a ChatGPT-esque chatbot that will debut later this year.

“Imagine this. What if we were able to put all the wisdom of “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent” or “SHIFT” and all of our other playbooks into one gigantic resource library with our version of ChatGPT?” he said. What if we could make that available in Command and Connect in a chatbot format and give our agents and teams the ability to have all that information right at their fingertips? Well, that’s exactly what we’ve been working on.”

“AI is only good if it’s making you more intelligent,” he said. “If it’s not actually saving your time and helping you make more money, it’s not worth it.”

Cox also touted the addition of a proprietary tool that predicts how many buyers and sellers will enter a given market, new collaboration tools on such as an affordability calculator and home valuation tool. Willis and Cox said all of these upcoming tools will be key to getting KW back on track.

“We’ve built technology for agents by agents [and] there is absolutely no limit to what we can do to reimagine how we work, how we sell and ultimately how we grow,” Cox said.

If all goes according to plan, Willis said KW is on track to match — and even surpass — New Jersey-based real estate giant Anywhere in market share based on agent count.

“We have yet another Goliath to topple. Our single brand of Keller Williams will be larger than the seven combined brands of Anywhere. It is within reach,” he said to applause and cheers from the audience. “We are within two market share points of toppling that Goliath that represents seven brands that are household names.

“We have brand recognition that is second to none, and we will prove it with more agents, more signs, more market share, and more referrals,” he added. “I believe that we will when we are the best culture that has ever existed. Our destiny is to be the largest real estate entity on the planet.”

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