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  • Jean-Christophe DIMINO

Meet the man behind Keller Williams

Biography of Gary Keller, a native Texan who founded a global real estate giant often imitated, never equalled.



Nearly 40 years ago, the embryo of a real estate network was born in Texas, which first spread to the United States and Canada before spreading to the rest of the world a few decades later. Keller Williams is known as the largest real estate franchise in the world, with more agents and consultants than any other network. That's about 190,000 agents, including more than 15,000 outside North America.


In France, there will soon be 3,000 of us in some fifty Market Centers. What is specific about the kw network in France? You will only find one agency per territory, which is called a Market Center (registered trademark) of at least 400 m2 - like the one in Nice Masséna - offering a large number of workstations, training rooms and other offices dedicated to welcoming our customers-sellers and buyers.


Keller Williams is often presented as a hybrid network, both installed and operating in the same way as a network of agents. Except that the window agency is retained - even amplified - unlike virtual networks that are only present in the homes of their employees.


Based on the added value that an agent brings, the sharing of knowledge, technology and training, kw is not a network like the others. There is a lot of its founder Gary Keller in its DNA. Still at the helm since the beginning, this man with the eternal moustache was born in Pasadena (Texas) in 1957.

He embodies the values of a company that is often imitated, never equalled.


People helping people


A 1979 graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, with a degree in marketing and real estate, legend has it that he got his start in the business by selling five properties in his first month on the job. At 26, he became vice president of expansion for the largest real estate company at the time in Austin, Texas. Three and a half years later, he founded his own company, which quickly became the most successful in the city, a position it still holds today.


Originally partnered with Joe Williams for the business division of the company, Gary retained the Keller Williams brand as a tribute after his partner left some time later.


In the Think Like a Ceo podcast he confides this anecdote:


"Although business was good, my wife and I still had our old Ford Taurus. I continued to pick up my investors at the Austin airport in that car for a long time, which surprised many in the business. Likewise, we saved enough money to buy our first two homes without taking out a loan. I didn't want to become a slave to a bank. A few years earlier I had lost everything in a bad deal."

His philosophy is "people helping people". Everything is based on the idea that the real estate industry is a huge social network. Connecting people, generating contacts, following up on clients is an elementary dogma for those who want to flourish in this business. The rest is a matter of training, good education and business sense. Simple on the surface, but more complicated than it seems.


In 2014, kw inc passed the 100,000 agent mark in the US. In 2018, it passed 180,000 worldwide. By 2022, the network will be present in some 60 countries.


Gary Keller is the author of several best-selling books in North America, including The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times, and The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, a guidebook that reached number one on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.


He received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was a finalist for Inc. magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year Award. REALTOR® magazine named him one of the most influential thought leaders in the real estate industry. A REAL Trends survey identified Gary Keller as one of the five "most admired people" in the real estate industry.


In 2015, Inman News named Keller as one of the top real estate "movers and shakers" in the industry. In 2016, Swanepoel named him one of the five most powerful people in residential real estate. In 2020, Gary Keller officially stepped into a new role as executive chairman of KWx, transferring all of his previous responsibilities and duties at Keller Williams to the position of chairman.


A philanthropist and arts advocate, Gary Keller is an amateur guitarist who still jams occasionally with other musicians of all ages. By the way, he also enjoys fly-fishing. A businessman like no other.


Want to know more about the kw model?


Call me now to arrange a personal study of your sales project.


Jean-Christophe DIMINO, agent kw - +33 6 16 95 70 83 - jc.dimino@kwfrance.com

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