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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2021

Transforming Real Estate Radically: KW Cupertino


Keller Williams (KW) Cupertino is one of the fastest growing real estate franchises in the industry. A technology company that provides the real estate platform that its agents’ buyers and sellers prefer. KW thinks like a top producer, acts like a trainer-consultant, and focuses all its activities on service, productivity, and profitability.

The company’s technology platform, Keller Cloud, prioritizes its agents’ goals, leads, and data to create a go-to-market plan that truly delivers. With the push of a button, KW agents are primed to take on all new opportunities.

The company was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Cupertino, CA.

Interview Excerpt: Joey DeBenedetto, CEO of KW Cupertino

Q. How did KW Cupertino come to the fore? Please share an overview.

Keller Williams Cupertino has been a staple in the community for well over a decade, but recently we have seen an astounding amount of growth. In the last few years, we have grown by well over 100 agents. While the number may seem great, the incredible statistic is that those agents have helped our office become the number two office in all of Cupertino. We are so proud of our work to create a brokerage that no one wants to leave. We ensure that service to our clients (our agents) is at the forefront of everything we do. This unparalleled growth, along with this ‘One Team’ mindset, has made Keller Williams Cupertino into the most forward-thinking and agent-centric brokerage in Silicon Valley.

Q. What are your focus areas? And how is your company revolutionizing the Silicon Valley real estate industry?

This is such a great question, and we could spend the next five hours just talking about this. The real estate industry has changed. The players have changed, and the expectations of what brokerages provide to its agents—have changed. So naturally, we must change. We focus every day on building a brokerage that offers our agents unique services. That said, we don’t allow ourselves to settle for what’s “traditional.” While our agents are on the ground working on their business, we are flying at 30,000 feet above, building out the brokerage of the future. A service-driven model where everything an agent needs to take care of their clients is under one roof, including in-house architects, in-house moving company, in-house property management, in-house T.C. services, in-house marketing and advertising, in-house showing assistants, runners, and virtual assistants. Besides, we bought a bank and offer no-fee loans to our buyers, coupled with $1,000 cashback at the closing. We also offer concierge services that allow our listing agents to aid their clients to renovate and modernize any aspect of the home before selling.

Importantly, we are a 100 percent commission company where our culture is one of belonging and taking care of one another, where our agents come first in everything we do.


Q. Forming and managing agents is overwhelming. That said, how do you keep your decision-makers focused?

Managing agents is terrible! Therefore, we don’t manage anyone. We create the space for our agents to understand their operation and personality strengths and build their business plans around that. Besides, we take the areas they need support in and develop their training calendar around that. By leading our agents into their strengths, we allow them to make high-impact informed decisions that suit them, and their business needs first. The saying 'teach a man to fish’ still holds true today. The difference is that some people use a fishing pole, and some use a net. If I can help you to discover your unique approach, the focus is non-negotiable.

Q. Could you describe your typical management style and the type of agent that works well with you?

I am the type of leader that believes that the only way to succeed is by surrounding myself with people who are smarter, more talented, and just as driven as I am. My leadership style is to paint the picture of where we are going and allow my incredible team to aid me in the details on how we get there together. I want agents who are coachable, high-minded, and filled with integrity. Simply put, I want to be in business with agents that are kind, growth-minded, have a massive amount of integrity, and want to make a lot of money.

Q. What is your company’s policy on providing seminars, workshops, and training so the agents can keep up on their skills or acquire new skills?

Again, this is an excellent question because we believe in a top-down training calendar. Each month we ask our top agents what they want to see on the calendar, and my whole leadership team works to make sure that those classes are on there. We believe that your business is a reflection of the top five people you spend your time with, so we want to make sure that all of our agents are getting the same education that our leading agents are taking, listening to the questions a top agent asks, and getting their mindset to that of a top agent. This approach to training has allowed us to see massive growth in our closed units (UP 128% YOY), listings taken (UP 285% YOY), and commissions paid (UP 81% YOY). When you have won the award as the number one training organization across all industries, you’d better offer some great training.


Q. Given that KW Cupertino is known for delivering a higher standard of service, how do you plan to transform the market you’re currently serving?

This question can be summed up by reading our companies mission statement. It sits proudly on our walls when you walk through the front door of our office and is the driving force in everything we build: To be the luxury real estate brokerage of choice where a sense of belonging is the heart of our culture. We commit to providing every associate the individualized support they need by leveraging the proven tools, systems, and models of ‘The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.’ We represent the next evolution of the real estate industry in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Q. Trust is one of the most important currencies of leadership that requires authenticity and consistency to maintain. What’s your take on this?

When I came to California from NYC, I found that most agents here were aching for authenticity that the Silicon Valley real estate industry had a lot of fluff and a lot of beating around the bush. One of the reasons our brokerage has seen such success is that we have operated with complete authenticity from day one. We are transparent in our communication and expectations, which has allowed us to have powerful conversations with our agents. To this day, it is the one quality that we are consistently commended for. That authenticity means that we earn our agents’ trust. Simply put, I would agree 100 percent.

Q. What can you tell us about KW Cares?

KW Cares was the brainchild of Keller Williams’ agents who had a dream to reach out and support fellow KW associates facing financial hardship due to major emergencies. Mo Anderson, vice chairman of Keller Williams Realty, took this dream and brought it to fruition as a public charity. Today, KW Cares is supported by associates from across North America. It has truly become the heart of the Keller Williams culture in action, finding and serving the higher purposes of business through charitable giving in the market centers and communities where KW associates live and work.

Q. About your plans, where do you think KW Cupertino will be in five years?

We will be number one. We are already on our way there, and the only way we can achieve that is by partnering with the right agents. That said, if you are an agent in the real estate industry and are ready to be a part of a brokerage that is working every day to keep you at the center of the transaction and will pave the way for our industry, we are looking to be in business with you. Join the revolution.

KW Cupertino: Mission Statement

“To be the luxury real estate brokerage of choice where a sense of belonging is the heart of our culture. We commit to providing every associate the individualized support they need by leveraging the proven tools, systems, and models of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.  We represent the next evolution of the real estate industry in Silicon Valley and beyond.”

KW Cupertino: Belief System

“We believe that the company we keep can contribute to our lives in untold ways. To help cement this understanding, we’ve formalized a belief system called the WI4C2TS that guides how we treat each other and how we do business.”

  • Win-win: or no deal
  • Integrity: do the right thing
  • Customers: always come first
  • Commitment: in all things
  • Communication: seek first to understand
  • Creativity: ideas before results
  • Teamwork: together everyone achieves more
  • Trust: starts with honesty
  • Equity: opportunities for all
  • Success: results through people

“One of the reasons our brokerage has seen such success is that we have operated with complete authenticity from day one.”