REPORTER’S NOTE: There are many people that we can interview for Real Estate Industry Watch. There are very few as colorful, fun and most important, as successful and experienced as Russell Shaw. REIW’s Eric Blackwell caught up with Russell (via phone) at the Star Power Seminar in Orlando Florida. This has been my favorite conversation to date.
Russell Shaw is a real estate success story. He and his team have closed over 500 sides in a single year. They year over year continue to be among the best of the best in the real estate business. His experience is proven and his smarts come from the street and years of experience.
REIW: Can you tell us a little about yourself? How did you get started in the real estate business and how did you get to where you are now?
Russell: This is actually my 31st year in the real estate business. I have been selling homes since 1978…so it has been a while. I have been with the same real estate office the entire 31 years.
How did you decide on that firm?
Russell: Two of the people I knew best were with the company I am now with. I trusted them. They said go there and I went. I have been there ever since!
I am not saying it was a good way to make a decision! I did not have a lot of good reasons for getting in the real estate sales business. I was broke. I needed to make money. I thought “What the hell” …I made 10 sales and the rates started going up…I made money and spent every dime… the difficult part was the next year I made only half as much due to the interest rates!
How long did you live ‘hand to mouth’ before you really started increasing the numbers of your transactions to your current level.
The first 12 years I was only an average real estate seller at best. Becoming a lister transformed me into the volume I have today…..I watched people who had business seemed busy and were CALM!! (chuckle)…their business was listings. I wanted to live like THEY did.
It is funny to think about it now. Back then, I did not even know how to price a property. At that time, the company offered zero training. They did not want to train their competition!
My first real training was CRS classes. Our instructor was Bob Wolfe, who was grossing $400,000. That seemed stratospheric at the time…even $100,000 seemed unattainable. All of the highly successful people SEEMED on an emotional level DIFFERENT from me. I wanted to be where they were and to have that for myself.
One of the training opportunities that I took part in right away was STAR Power. Unlike some trainers who encourage everyone to wear suits they can not afford, at STAR Power, people were casually dressed, but genuinely wanted to be helpful . I kept meeting all these different people and thinking If THEY can do it, I can do it! (more laughter.)
REIW: I know that you encourage REALTORS to focus on listing. What would you say to an agent who predominantly is a buyers agent?
Russell: Listing requires a different skill set. If they are currently solely focused on buyers, they have likely never learned how to list and they have conned themselves into the belief that a “loyal” buyer is just like an automatic paycheck. When I changed from being a buyer’s agent to a listing agent, it was like changing careers. Everything that I had to know,and every skill set that I had was irrelevant. One book that was instrumental for me was Listing Magic by Gael Himmah. It is now out of print and he’s not a great speaker (chuckle)…but his book had an impact. He was a tough broker who would not permit an agent who just HAD to show a house to a buyer to even show ONE house until they met their listing quota (10 listings a month). He would insist that they take the listing at any price….just GET the listing!
REIW: Do you do that today?!
Russell: (laughter) Of course not. What we do is offer our listing clients the privilege to cancel at any time. Therefore I cannot take the listing unless they are serious. We HAVE to qualify them. That being said, I have a single minded focus. We go after listings! We are ALSO one of the top selling buyer’s agents AS WELL,but it is by ACCIDENT -it comes from the listings!
The truth is, a guy could make a living off of 20 listings essentially because he would get the buyers off of the sign calls from those houses alone . Let me give you an example. I took a listing that was a neglected beat up house. I would always tell people…the house is in bad shape—I am not sure it is for you. They would insist on seeing it! People would call me continually off of that sign.I KNEW that if I could qualify them off of that sign, they were seriously looking to buy. Just as I told them — when we went inside of the house, they would recoil in disgust at it! It was filthy. But, at this point they would be open to tell me what they were REALLY looking for! Using this little beat up house alone, I was selling 2 houses a month until some SOB bought the house! Then I had to try and find another one! (laughter).
REIW: We know that you contribute to AgentGenius.com as a writer. How else can agents that want to grow their businesses learn from you?
Russell: Yes. I am a writer on AgentGenius. I do have my own blog Number1HomeAgent
as well! It is pretty much purely what I have written previously on the Bloodhound Blog and on AgentGenius and other places, but is limited STRICTLY to REALTOR success theories. I like that better because some of my more opinionated writings are not there and you can get straight to what will help you. (REPORTERS NOTE: His latest post (written after this interview has several podcasts of an agent training he did–not to be missed!) I also teach classes to 100-250 agents that I am in front of physically a month. When I see what people charge REALTORS for these types of training and learning experiences, I detest that. I want to help REALTORS and you cannot do that properly if your focus is that much on making money.
REIW: Thanks Russell for the interview. Parting shot, Russell, what are your goals for the remainder of the year and into the next?
Russell: The first goal is to get my business solidly in the black to where it was and better than before the market downturn. Second on my list is to develop quality content to help other REALTORS truly succeed. As part of that goal, I want to learn video editing. I want to take every talk that I know how to do. I want to video them and put them on the web. I would like to leave my content on the web permanently so that 15 years from now an agent could learn from me on the web and I can hopefully pass on some useful information to them.Equus dvdrip