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Keller Williams raises the bar.

by Greg Robertson on February 23rd, 2011

I’ve got to hand it to the folks at KW. I was super impressed at the recent 2011 Keller Williams Family Reunion in Anaheim, CA.

To start off with in order to participate in the event you must first compete a Approved Vendor Application. Here’s a list of some of the requirements:

You have to be in business for at least 3 years.
5 letters of recommendation from KW agents using your product.
3 business letters of references
1 letter of reference from you bank.

I would love to see more of this type of vetting in the industry. Although the requirement for being in business for 3 years could be shortened. This might limit their agents to new technology.


While setting up our booth an announcement went over the PA requesting Vendors to come to demo theatre. At that point Tom Freireich, director of business development for Keller Williams introduced himself and thanked all of for supporting KW and for our business (imagine that!!) Tom told us how many agents were expected (what? no spin? an actual number?) He also invited us to participate in the general session and other events. In fact the show hours were designed to allow this. Tom explained to us that he wanted everyone to particpate and understand their culture. And a quick note about the show hours, the earliest they started was 11AM. So just in case you didn’t listen to me and “went big” the first night you didn’t have to stress to get to the booth at some ungodly hour. Plus you also got a voucher you could use to buy something to eat. Boom!

The inclusive vibe KW set the tone for was a welcome surprise from someone who has attended and paid for a lot of trade shows. To me Keller Williams has set the bar on how to run a trade show and the respect their vendors. Bravo.

  1. Well put, Greg. I actually forgot about that sign-up process. Our booth representative reported good results from the show, we are glad to be an approved vendor.

  2. jon permalink

    you forgot to mention $10K of payola to kw to be considered a “preferred” vendor. Sounds more like an MLM co than a real estate co.

  3. Greg Robertson permalink

    @jon I didn’t anything close to $10K, so I don’t know what you are referring to. Why is it wrong for them to charge anyway? They are a business, they need to make money and generate profit just like everyone else.

  4. I participate in a lot of shows as a vendor and I agree that KW is one of the better managed shows in the industry. The thing they excel most at is creating a hyper-infused ‘mood’. You can literally feel excitement in the air at their shows.

    I too appeciate how KW makes the vendors feel like they are part of the show by inviting them to things like the opening sessions. Attending these helps a vendor better appreciate challenges that the agents are up against, potentially making you a better servicer to the industry.

    They didn’t always have those hours, just a few years ago they ran the expo from 7:30-8 (I may be off by an hour or so there), but regardless, it was just too long. A lot of vendors complained, and KW changed it, which is a tribute to them listening to their ‘clients’. As long as franchises are smart about who they accept into their approved supplier program and they actually provide value back to the vendor (not all do) which ultimately benefits the agent – I have no problem paying a fee.

    Lastly, I think KW does a great job with educational programming for agents at their shows.

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