Well, it’s not Keller & Williams, it’s just Keller Williams (leave out the &). Technically, Keller & Williams makes sense because Gary Keller and Joe Williams started the company, but the name is simply Keller Williams.
Gary Keller and Joe Williams started in the company in 1983 in Austin, TX. Both Gary and Joe are still involved in the company, with Gary as the Chairman of the Board and Joe running a very successful commercial real estate team in Austin.
The company began as a traditional real estate company and did very well under Gary’s leadership, becoming the largest single office real estate company in Austin very quickly. Keep in mind, this was in the early 1980s when interest rates were extremely high and the country was in a recession.
In 1987, a new real estate company business model came to Austin and took a handful of the top agents and the entire administrative staff from Keller Williams all at once. Gary realized that was going to pose a problem for the long-term sustainability of the company and decided to shift gears.
The changes made at that time in response to the new company in town created the foundation for the Keller Williams that exists today. The emphasis on real estate agent training and treating the agents as partners in the business was revolutionary at the time. Also, the Keller Williams compensation model reflected the philosophy that the agents are truly partners in the business. The “capped commission” structure reflected the idea that the company can provide a certain amount of value each year, and then 100% of the commission should be paid to the agents for the rest of that year.
Keller Williams grew to be one of the largest regional real estate companies in Texas with about 2000 agents spread over multiple locations. It was when Mo Anderson was hired to become the CEO that the company started to see exponential growth. Under Mo’s leadership, the company grew from 2000 agents to roughly 55,000 agents when Mark Willis took the helm in 2005.
Today (October 2016), Keller Williams has roughly 140,000 associates around the world and shows no signs of slowing growth. While the expansion in the US and Canada continues to be significant, the global expansion is a huge opportunity for the company. The Keller Williams business model is being adapted to fit with the local cultures and customs of countries around the world as we continue to expand.
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