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30 Best Leaders to Watch 2021

An interview with Joey DeBenedetto, Kw Cupertino & Kw Palo Alto CEO: ‘We’re Committed to Revolutionizing the Silicon Valley Real Estate Industry’


“We hold ourselves to a higher standard of service and fully protect and support our agents to create and build the best business possible.”

Kw Cupertino and Kw Palo Alto are 2 internationally recognized luxury real estate franchises within Keller Williams. As a company, Keller Williams has over 180,000 agents operating in over 700 offices worldwide.

With over 350 agents, Kw Cupertino and Kw Palo Alto have been a staple in Silicon Valley for well over a decade.

Joey DeBenedetto, CEO of Kw Cupertino and Kw Palo Alto, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. How do you generate quality leads without going overboard with the budget?

Lead generation is a question that every agent is working to answer. I have found that taking the real estate experience digitally (including lead generation) has increased our ability to produce quality leads at an astoundingly low price. Through a partnership with Facebook and Google, my offices are able to generate hundreds of leads at an average cost of $2.34 apiece. We then pass those leads to our agents at no cost to increase their business. In a day and age when consumers are looking at seven different websites before ever reaching out to a real estate agent, we must work to create authentic relationships in the areas that our customers are spending their time. It’s a simple numbers game; the more we generate, the more opportunity we create for our people to thrive. Lead Generation is simple, not easy; it requires that you follow a model, and luckily for us, there isn’t anyone better at gathering data quickly (and for a low cost) than Facebook and Google. That is why we partner with them.

Q. What would you say is the single most influential factor of your business’ success?

Culture! There are hundreds of different real estate companies an agent can choose to partner with. We have built a culture of kindness, integrity, growth, and profitability. When you surround yourself with people who think, act, and work to maintain that culture, you create a pretty magnificent place for an agent to call home. Those agents invite like-minded agents, and over time the success is inevitable. If your environment is 80 percent of your productivity and doesn’t suit your goals, change your environment.

Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting as an entrepreneur, what would it be?

Everyone will have an opinion of what you are capable of achieving and what you are not. You need to listen to all of it and accept none of it. Anyone who tells you thatthesiliconreview-joey-debenedetto-ceo-kw-cupertino-kw-palo-alto-20 you can’t, or it’s not possible, is just showing you their limitations, not yours. If you are kind to everyone, have integrity with your word, desire to learn, and understand that the purpose of business is to make money, you will be successful.

Q. What do you think is the most memorable moment in your career?

There are many memorable moments, but the one that I will never forget was after selling my first million-dollar listing on the upper west side of Manhattan, I treated myself to something special: I purchased my first custom suit. I remember at the time that It cost me over $1,000, which then was the most amount of money I had ever spent on an item of clothing (it was more than my monthly rent!). After watching million-dollar listings and seeing powerful agents in these beautiful suits, I truly felt like I had made it. I will never forget what it felt like to pay for that suit in cash and the power that came when I put it on. That first sale escalated to 12M in sales shortly after that. Whether it was the power of the suit or not, we will never know. Looking back, what that suit did was allow me to back up my capabilities as an agent with more confidence than I had mustered before. That moment taught me that no one was standing in the way of my success but me and that whatever I wanted to achieve was up to me to get it. After leaving the performance world, where your talents were continually being scrutinized by someone else, your worth was being decided by the person behind that table; it was nice to take back that control and know that I am capable of more.

Q. If not a business leader, what else you wish to be?

This might seem silly, but I think that I have found my calling in life. I genuinely love what I do, and I love who I get to be in business with every day. I love that in my role, I get the opportunity to change people’s lives for the better, to offer them a space to achieve their true potential, and to support them to do it. I don’t know that I would say I am ‘meant for this’, but I would say that I am living proof that you don’t work a day in your life when you love what you do. I have more gratitude for my team and my agents than words can express. No one got to where they are by themselves, and I am no different. My team and agents support me to be all that I can be, which feeds me to want to do and provide the absolute best for them.

Joey DeBenedetto: In His Own Words

I am lucky enough to carry the title of CEO for two successful Keller Williams offices in California: KW Cupertino and KW Palo Alto. Most recently, I was featured in the ‘Top 100 People in Real Estate 2020’ magazine. Since taking on the CEO role at KW, my two offices have produced over 1 Billion dollars a year through residential and commercial sales. The Palo Alto and Cupertino offices partner with 350 agents who specialize in luxury properties, and we are fortunate enough to say that both the offices have been ranked among the ‘Top 500 Brokerages in the U.S.’ by Real Trends. I believe that a big part of that success comes from our desire to innovate continually. Also, we won the award for ‘The Most Innovative Real Estate Company’ in 2019. All of the awards are great, but my ultimate goal is to reinvent the current real estate systems and models to help keep the agent at the center of each transaction. Keeping that in view, we offer the highest quality coaching and training alongside award-winning technology.

“My 2 offices have produced over 1.5 Billion dollars a year through residential and commercial sales.”