Episode 360 – Russell Shaw – Russell and Wendy Shaw Group, Realty One Group


In this podcast episode, Bill Risser and Russell Shaw delve into the fascinating world of real estate and career success. They explore the evolution of Phoenix real estate, from a small town to a bustling metropolis. Shaw’s unconventional career path from selling life insurance to comedy and then real estate is also discussed. The concept of “carte blanche” is explored, emphasizing the importance of freedom and authority in one’s career. Effective communication skills are highlighted as crucial for success in the industry. The evolution of real estate advertising is examined, with an emphasis on understanding consumer needs. The significance of systems and replicable success is also discussed, with insights from expert Gary Keller. Building trust and treating clients with respect are emphasized, and valuable resources for homeowners and real estate professionals are mentioned.

Episode Outline:

(00:00:00) The Evolution of Phoenix Real Estate

(00:06:30) From Life Insurance to Comedy

(00:13:02) The Power of Carte Blanche

(00:20:07) The Importance of Communication in Real Estate

(00:26:28) The Evolution of Effective Real Estate Advertising

(00:33:35) Real Estate Success and Systems

(00:40:48) Building Trust in Real Estate

(00:47:36) No Hassle Listing

00:00:00 – Russell Shaw

Well, it would be the ability to talk to people. It would be the ability to communicate to people. And it would be like if I said, what’s the most important part of intelligence? Let’s take it that way. It would be to have some idea of what’s going on with the other person.

00:00:24 – Bill Risser

You’re listening to the Real Estate Sessions podcast. And I’m your host, Bill Risser, executive Vice President, Strategic Partnerships with RateMyAgent, a digital marketing platform designed to help great agents harness the power of verified reviews. For more information, head on over to Ratemyagent.com. Listen in as I interview industry leaders and get their stories and journeys to the world of real estate. Hi, everybody. Welcome to episode 360 of the Real Estate Sessions podcast. As always, thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you so much for telling a friend today I have a real treat for you. We are headed to Phoenix, Arizona, where we are going to be talking to one of the legends of Phoenix real estate, some might say The Godfather, just a huge figure in Phoenix real estate. I’m talking about Russell Shaw. Russell is with Realty, one group. When I first moved to Phoenix, he was bigger than life. You’re going to see that as we get into the conversations. The phrase I’m applying for a job is something that if you were in Phoenix in the early two thousand s, you heard it over and over and over. Just an amazing guy. Let’s get this thing started. Russ, welcome to the podcast.

00:01:34 – Russell Shaw

Thank you so much, Bill. I appreciate you having me on.

00:01:38 – Bill Risser

I’ve been remiss in waiting this long to have you on here. I just introduced you as the legend of Phoenix real estate and some of the great things you’ve done and the fact that I first moved to Phoenix in 2000 and my mornings were greeted just about every morning watching the news with I’m applying for a job. We’re going to talk about that shortly, but first I’d like to start at the beginning.

00:02:06 – Russell Shaw


00:02:06 – Bill Risser

Rush, you’re a native phoenician. There are very few of you floating around.

00:02:10 – Russell Shaw

Well, yeah, I was born in Phoenix, lived in Phoenix all my life.

00:02:14 – Bill Risser

Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about, first of all, some of the changes.

00:02:20 – Russell Shaw

Oh my God. Like when I was a little kid. Well, no, I’ll give you a better example. There was a policeman killed, motorcycle patrolman killed. His name was Arthur Blum. The reason I remember this, it was over by the Bali High Motel off of Grand Avenue, and he had stopped somebody driving and he radios in and they shot him from the back of a campervan. At the time, it was the biggest manhunt in the state until they found those people.

00:02:56 – Bill Risser


00:02:56 – Russell Shaw

There had never been anything in Arizona like it. What was interesting, fast forward now, if a cop gets killed, it doesn’t even make the front page of the Arizona Republic. It’s on the second section on B, one below the fold. I’m just giving you, for instance, we were a sleepy little town, and we didn’t have the Black Canyon Freeway. I 17 had not. That was our first freeway. Phoenix was the only place in the country where truckers on I Ten drove down Van Buren because there was about 25 miles where they had to get off the freeway and drive on city streets. So I’m telling you. Van Buren think of, like, 16th street and van. The long haul truck drivers were coming across these city streets to get back on the freeway, and they were on city streets for about 25 miles. All that stuff. None of those things had happened yet. And Phoenix was this sleepy little town. The population of the city of Phoenix was around. It wasn’t a million. It was more like about 700,000.

00:04:16 – Bill Risser


00:04:17 – Russell Shaw

And now it’s one of the biggest populated cities in the nation, period. I mean, without any modifier on it. The areas in the north, like the dreaming that was, like, out in the country, like, driving to what is now, say, 32nd street in Bell.

00:04:37 – Bill Risser


00:04:37 – Russell Shaw

Those were all dirt roads. Those were dirt roads.

00:04:44 – Bill Risser

I can’t even imagine, like, trying to get over towards East Mesa. I mean, I remember in 2000, you would drive on McDowell for 30 miles.

00:04:55 – Russell Shaw

Yes. Quite literally. So it’s changed so dramatically. And the inflow of population. I remember one time I was at a realtor luncheon, and this really nice and very knowledgeable man from ADOT, Arizona, Department of Transportation, was there giving a talk, and he couldn’t have been. I thought it was fascinating. He said they had surveyed people to find out what the citizens of Arizona, specifically Phoenix, hoped Phoenix would have. Like, what would we develop into? And the answer that everyone gave, we don’t want to be like Los Angeles. What made that funny? Nobody. It never occurred to anyone to say, here’s what we would like. They wanted to hear, here’s what we don’t want.

00:05:47 – Bill Risser


00:05:47 – Russell Shaw

And of course, that’s exactly what occurred. Sprawl, right?

00:05:51 – Bill Risser

Yeah, exactly. 101, the 202, the 303, they’re all out there, and everything happened, and now everything’s all spread out. For those that know Phoenix, it was boy. I mean, if you got to North Scottsdale, to where the princess is now, there was nothing up there.

00:06:07 – Russell Shaw

Yeah, it was just desert, quite literally desert.

00:06:10 – Bill Risser

Yeah. That’s cool. So, Russ, I want to find out kind of ultimately how my guests get to real estate, and we’ll get there with you. But before we go there, tell me what 15 year old Russell is thinking about for a career. You’re in high school. What’s playing to your mind?

00:06:28 – Russell Shaw

I was routinely getting kicked out of high school by the time I was 15. Different numerous, numerous different high schools. I started at Central High. Got kicked out of Central. I’m trying to think I went to North High I went to a lot of different schools, phoenix Union, for a little while. But what was funny is I always thought, well, maybe someday I’ll sell life insurance. I actually had this I don’t know why I had that goal particularly. I knew this man my mom knew who seemed to be I think he did something with insurance. I didn’t even know what kind, but he wore a suit, and he seemed successful looking to me. Whether he was or not, I don’t know. But he was a nice guy, and I thought, well, I’ll do what he does. When I was 15, I had become an amateur magician, and I had sort of intertwined, well, maybe I could use magic tricks to literally like, I was doing performances, I would charge $25 to do a show at some birthday party.

00:07:37 – Bill Risser

Wow, nice.

00:07:39 – Russell Shaw

Somehow I thought, well, maybe I could use magic tricks to get customers to want to talk to me.

00:07:46 – Bill Risser

Were you ever hanging out with Gene Urban at the time? I think you know Gene, right? He’s a magician.

00:07:52 – Russell Shaw

No, I don’t know. I know the name, but I don’t know him. But it’s funny, this was my plan, and I did get into the life insurance business. Yeah, you did. I was in it for five years. And what makes it funny is I became what’s called a CLU chartered life underwriter, which is about the same level of education in terms of difficulty as a CPA. The test.

00:08:18 – Bill Risser


00:08:18 – Russell Shaw

And what made it funny is I kept thinking, well, once I get that, I’ll like the business better. I actually hated selling life insurance. I didn’t dislike it. I hated it. And when I left, I had no idea that I would wind up in real estate. And when I did, it was just because I didn’t know what else to do. I knew I didn’t want to sell cars, and I couldn’t bear the idea of going back to life insurance. And so I wound up as a realtor. And my first year actually, my first nine months, I wound up selling enough to make $87,000.

00:08:58 – Bill Risser


00:09:01 – Russell Shaw

I found it in real estate, you could walk up to anyone randomly and say, I’m a realtor, they would immediately want to start talking to you about house prices and different houses they’d seen and this sort of thing. If you were sold life insurance and you said to someone, Hi, I sell life oh, God. They wanted to get away from you because part of well, part and this is not I’m not trying to be disrespectful to life insurance salespeople or it’s not that I don’t believe in that product. People shouldn’t have it. But the whole sales pitch is basically getting someone to start visualize themselves dying and leaving their family broke. This is this isn’t one of the things that life insurance salesmen do. It’s the thing they have to do.

00:09:51 – Bill Risser


00:09:51 – Russell Shaw

And the sales trainers would literally say stuff like, no. When you’re at the table, you’ve got to back up the hearse. You’ve got to get them seeing themselves in a coffin. Like, if you were trying to sell $100,000 policy back in the day, sure, you had to get that guy to start confronting. You died and she doesn’t have any money. And that was what I hated doing. So I used to have this joke of, maybe I could come over and see you and talk about your death.

00:10:27 – Bill Risser

This works for me. Now when I think about how funny you are. Russ, you’re doing stuff on social. We’re going to talk about that, but let’s start first with where you got to really have fun with comedy. I know you did a little bit of stand up, but you got into radio and you’re doing this at the same time you’re selling life insurance.

00:10:48 – Russell Shaw


00:10:48 – Bill Risser

So my guess is you probably wrote some bits that you probably couldn’t pull out in front of a customer.

00:10:53 – Russell Shaw

I’m just guessing that would be an understatement. I did commercials, and I was part of a couple of different comedy shows that were on the air, but I wrote commercials, and probably if I had to pick what became my claim to fame, there was a moving company in Mesa at Southern and Country Club named Lepla Moving and Storage. And KDKB’s Am tower was in LePla’s parking lot.

00:11:26 – Bill Risser


00:11:27 – Russell Shaw

Henry Lepla, the owner and president of Lepla Moving Storage, had a right to have X number of 32nd spots run on the air in exchange for money that they weren’t giving him to pay for. The parking lot was a trade out. So disc jockeys, when they got off the air, were having this sort of hot potato, like, okay, it’s your turn. You make these spots, you write something to put it on, and nobody really wanted it. I mean, different people did it. I was already hanging around the station and doing different things and little jokes and stuff. Marty comes to me, and he sort of gave me my break, to tell you the truth. He goes, would you like to do the Lepla commercials? I go, sure. Well, since no one like, I wound up later functioning like a small ad agency as I got established because the Lepla commercials worked so well. Henry Lepla, first time ever, writes a letter to the station going, I don’t know what you guys are doing. I’ve never listened to the station, but we’re getting the phone to ring all the time. We’ve gotten more business in that actually when I started doing those commercials than they had in the previous years, and that continued. So the sales staff at KDKB realized this. What made it funny is then different advertisers wind up calling me and go, hey, could you do some commercials for us? So I wound up making a living doing commercials for other people. But with the Lepla commercial, they were supposed to be 32nd spots, I had complete carte blanche to say whatever I wanted. Some of them, I didn’t even bother saying their name and the time where they were supposed to be 30 seconds. In radio today, if a spot is supposed to be a 30, it’s between 29 and a half and 30.

00:13:39 – Bill Risser


00:13:39 – Russell Shaw

Any difference in that? They’re going to compress it that you are not going to have a spot that runs at 31 seconds. It’s just not going to happen. That’s true. Obviously on television as well. The timing is precise right, so I had the right to make them any length I wanted. Some of them were almost a minute long. Some of them were 7 seconds long. I did whatever the hell I wanted, and I made all the commercials about myself saying hi as though I were a celebrity. I wasn’t endorsing them. It’s like somebody like I was Bob Dylan or something like, here’s the company I normally would use for moving if I were moving, I’m not know this kind of thing. So I got to write jokes and just put them on the air. And I became as well known as any of the disc jockeys who actually got paid by the station to be there. It was the most fantastic experience because I had complete carte blanche to do whatever I wanted, and there was no one saying, you can’t say that here. If I wanted to make a joke about there’s a store called Wilco Wilco or something, I can’t remember their name, but it would be the equivalent of one of these big discount places, sam’s Club or something. And I could say they’re having a special this week on cocaine. I could say anything I wanted, and nobody was mad about it. And if somebody called the station complaining, the people there thought it was funny. So it wasn’t like, oh, you can’t say that on the air, right? I could say anything I wanted. And it was unbelievable, and it was an opportunity. It was years later, I did stand up, but it was initially and then I got on the comedy shows because of people that like a guy named Todd Carroll who later went to work for National Lampoon, and he later became a screenwriter. He wrote a couple of different shows, and I was on those shows with Todd. So that’s how that all started.

00:15:55 – Bill Risser

Would you say you don’t have that carte blanche anymore when you’re coming to your social channels?

00:16:02 – Russell Shaw

No, I would. Oh, I do. I could care less at this point because I’m very political.

00:16:12 – Bill Risser

Your memes are hilarious. I think sometimes, Russ, you come right up to a line and sometimes you tip your toe over.

00:16:19 – Russell Shaw

Yeah, yeah.

00:16:20 – Bill Risser

You’re okay with.

00:16:23 – Russell Shaw

Like it’s it’s my goal is not to offend. My goal is actually partially an educational like, I do a lot of posts of different philosophical type stuff, a tremendous amount which don’t get the same kind of response as the funny memes or the funny jokes, but they’re important to me.

00:16:55 – Bill Risser


00:16:55 – Russell Shaw

Because it’s like, do a lot to help other people, mostly agents, because I’m an opinion leader to most agents. But when someone’s in trouble and they have their attention, it’s sort of like what Tony Robbins does, only I’m not selling anything because usually what’s holding someone back is a dumb idea. Like, literally, they have a goal of doing something, but their attention is fixated on this stupid thought that they’re using to explain to themselves why they can’t do the thing they really want to, kind of stuff where Tony Robbins has a gift, really, or an amazing skill of being able to spot that dumb idea. He can’t teach it, by the way. Like, none of the Tony Robbins coaches can do it. Tony can’t teach it because he doesn’t have a technology. He just knows he can do it. He absolutely knows he can do it. And he’s correct. He can do it. I’ve actually figured out exactly what he does, and I don’t do the firewalk or any crap like that. I’m a Scientologist, and because of the stuff I’ve learned from Scientology, I’m able to, when I’m talking to someone, sort of see their dumb thought, and all I’m doing is getting them to see it doesn’t belong to them. I’m just getting them to see, how does this align with your goals? Like, there’s something you want. I want blah blah. Okay, let’s put your attention on blah, blah. Not this reason, like whatever the crap is. And it’s like an agent who loses a deal. I literally have dozens of agents who, when they get stuck, will sort of text me and sort of, can we talk? Sure. Basically what’s happened is they’ve lost a deal or they’ve had a crummy customer or something that’s given them a loss, and they’ve taken their attention completely off of, I want to be a successful, financially independent, prosperous agent. I’m just saying, making up those but that’s essentially the kind of stuff most HR trying to a lot of agents.

00:19:25 – Bill Risser

That’s what they want.

00:19:26 – Russell Shaw

Yeah, that’s what they want. And instead, they have their attention on how can they stop bad customers from upsetting them? Well, there’s a nice goal, because now your attention is fixated on stop right there. That’s all you’d have to do to screw up your entire life is fixate on how can I stop blah blah. Because now you’re pushing against it, which means you’re going to have lots of it.

00:19:57 – Bill Risser

I can almost equate that Russ to, you know, the worst thing to think about on the golf course is don’t hit it in the water.

00:20:04 – Russell Shaw

There you go.

00:20:05 – Bill Risser

What are you going to do? There you go.

00:20:07 – Russell Shaw

No, that’s perfect. That’s a perfect example. That’s literally a perfect example, because what you resist, you get. Whatever it is. It’s the same thing.

00:20:18 – Bill Risser

Yeah. How about this? You talk to agents a lot. I’ve heard some of your commentary on that. What’s the most important skill for an agent? Of all the things that are out there, is there one thing in your mind, you just go, this is really important. You got to nail this?

00:20:34 – Russell Shaw

Well, it would be the ability to talk to people. It would be the ability to communicate to people. And it would be like if I said, what’s the most important part of intelligence? Let’s take it that way. It would be to have some idea of what’s going on with the other person. You’re highly skilled in that, just as an obvious observation, like, well, you are. What does this tell me? Your IQ? No, but it actually tells me you could go talk you, Bill, could go talk to anyone anywhere and carry on a conversation with them about something that was interesting to them.

00:21:19 – Bill Risser

Yeah, you know what, Russ? I can do that.

00:21:22 – Russell Shaw

I know, and that’s my point. But see, that’s that skill. So I could make a couple of statements. One, it can be learned because it can be learned. It can’t be taught. Like, you could have a class. You could have a school that said, we’re going to teach you how to no, you’re not. You’re not going to do these, because as soon as you try to format it out but the first thing a person who’s truly intelligent, like you, Pete, people, his IQ is 165, and no one wants to talk to him. And he’s a sickening. He’s a functional moron. But if you say but he’s an electrical engineer. Yeah, I’m charmed. And yet you could have some guy who’s I don’t listen to these IQ is 110. Just a nice people. You go, I like to see I love to talk to so and so. Why do you love to talk to so and so? Well, they’re easy to talk to. What makes them easy? I feel like they heard what I said, and they acknowledge me.

00:22:25 – Bill Risser


00:22:25 – Russell Shaw

So to go back to what’s the most important skill it would be to be able to talk to people and to have some idea. Currently, when I’m making phone calls to somebody who did business with us, say, ten years ago, if somebody called up and you go, I can get you an open door offer on your home, it just makes them mad. It just makes them angry, because I’d be probably the 10th person that’s called them going, would you like to sell your house?

00:23:00 – Bill Risser


00:23:02 – Russell Shaw

If they did want to sell their house, they’d do something to say to some agent, I might want to sell. I’ll fill out this form, or whatever. But most people are not trying to sell their house. But if I call them and say, hi, if you want correct information on the marketplace, I’m happy to give it to you. That’s different.

00:23:29 – Bill Risser

Way different. Way different. Yeah. So, anyway, I’ve always explained it to friends and other people as like, you want to be the most interesting guy at the party, ask everyone about their kids and don’t talk about yours.

00:23:42 – Russell Shaw


00:23:43 – Bill Risser

They won’t even know. Bill was amazing. I don’t know what he does for a living, but he was amazing.

00:23:49 – Russell Shaw

Yeah. There you go.

00:23:50 – Bill Risser

What they care about.

00:23:52 – Russell Shaw

Exactly. You’ve mastered it. Yes, you have. Really.

00:23:56 – Bill Risser

You bring up your philosophy and how to get people to pay attention to you. You pioneered, at least in the Phoenix area, for absolutely sure. These commercials you ran in the early 2000s were spectacular. Right. And everybody knew who you were. Now, Russ, some of them were just kind of saying it in jest, but you didn’t care. They were talking about you. Right?

00:24:22 – Russell Shaw


00:24:22 – Bill Risser

You know what I’m saying? Where they said, you know this guy who says, I’m applying for a job and no listing, and talk about the development of that. Right. Because I think it had a huge impact on your business.

00:24:34 – Russell Shaw

Well, yes, it did. It changed everything. So a buddy of mine, a very close friend of mine, we’ve been friends now for over 50 years, bob Bose Bell. Bob had a show on KSLX. He was on the Morning show. And so I would go to the station at KSLX probably two to three days a week. I wasn’t getting paid. I would just go there and do a bit, or I would phone in some joke, and I could tell it over the air or whatever. And so I was sort of part of the show, but I wasn’t officially a part of the show. Sort of like years ago at KDKB. And I wind up meeting the general manager and the sales manager, and I make a deal with the general manager. His name was Reed Rieker of KSLX, that I will give them these fake commercials that I’m going to write. Had a law firm and a bank, and I’m going to write these fake nibbler. And Yakler was the name of the law firm, and the bank was I forget the name of it now. But these would run as though they were real commercials, only their insane lunacy, and they were intended to be that way. And I would produce. I would come into the studio there every two weeks and give them two new ones so it would always be fresh that they could run, and they would have an exclusive. And in exchange for that, I would get ten free ads for my business. Wendy and I were the first realtors in America to ever run a radio ad that worked. But let me tell you how we got there, because that’s the part that’s unbelievable. No one else had ever done it, because everything you think would work won’t. And how I know that is I made it my business when our ad wasn’t working at all. And we would rewrite it and rewrite it and rewrite it, and nothing made the phone ring. I got copies of every radio ad any realtor had ever run, and I put my name where their name was and ran it. No calls. And I one time just stuck into the listing. If you’re not happy, you can cancel, or something like that. Phone rings. Why did you call me? Well, the part where you said I could cancel oh, okay. Is a genius. I made a note of that. I didn’t get a deal, by the way. I got a phone call when I tell you. It took us just over a year of nonstop trial and error. See, no one would have kept spending the money to make the phone ring one time.

00:27:43 – Bill Risser


00:27:45 – Russell Shaw

And it was from those first couple of phone calls we were able to evolve. What was the consumer thinking? So ads saying, you’ll love me, nobody gave a crap. Ads talking about a house, nobody gave a crap. It was literally what would be a benefit to the consumer. That’s all that mattered. How would they like this? And so we evolved an ad, and for the longest time, we had the airways to ourselves. We didn’t have any competition. Anyone attempting to copy me, it wasn’t going to work unless they ran the ad we were running. Just that simple. That’s not true anymore. So we blazed the trail. The story of how I got to that. I’m applying for a job. I read a book by a man named Robert Half half. And the book was entitled The Way to Get Hired in Today’s Job Market. And it was literally, he runs the biggest employment agency in the world, or at that time, did. I don’t even know if he’s still alive now. But at one time, he had the biggest company that was an employment agency, where you would go to him. And so I realized that when I wanted to get a listing, I was factually applying for a job. That’s where I got the idea.

00:29:21 – Bill Risser


00:29:21 – Russell Shaw

And I took it from that book. He was saying, like, when you’re going on, you’re going to interview. You should do this. You should wear a suit, whatever the heck the rules were. I started using that as though I’m applying for a job. And what was interesting is the public loved it. Like, they were like, yeah, you are. And later, Wendy’s the copywriting genius. If you’re not happy, fire me. That evolved. But that wasn’t initially. It was more just. So we tinkered with the ad copy endlessly. But that’s how that started.

00:30:04 – Bill Risser

A little birdie told me that you’ll have to figure out which birdie in Phoenix shares that you are a part of Gary Keller’s the millionaire agent book. Now, not being a realtor, it’s my bad because I’m so close to the business, I should read this book, but I haven’t. How did you get to be mentioned by Gary?

00:30:31 – Russell Shaw

What happened?

00:30:32 – Bill Risser

You’re not a Keller Williams agent?

00:30:34 – Russell Shaw

No, I know, but that’s not the point of the book. So the first thing I’ll say, it was an honor that Gary chose me, and it was Gary that did dave Jenks is the one I actually did the interview with. It was an amazing thing. I met Gary the very first time I was on a panel. And so it was the first time I met Gary, and he asked me some question. Whatever the answer is, I would answer it. And he asked me some question. He was asking for each of us, what about this? What about that? And my answer was, oh, on that subject, I’m an idiot. I don’t do that. Wendy does it. But Gary’s not like a zany man, and so he no, no, you’re making a joke. And I go, no, I’m actually not making a joke. The question was if I understood it, whatever the hell I repeated it. And I said, that’s not an area of expertise for me. That’s something Wendy takes care of at my office. Her natural skills and my natural skills are sort of divided in the sense that what I handle, or what would be no, my decision is X, but it would be the important one. But so would hers on that stuff, that she knows more she’s smarter than me on that stuff, period. Anyway, Gary then wants to meet me, and I get wind up at this lunch at the Biltmore because he wants to recruit me, is what he was doing. But I wound up he and Dave liked what I was saying enough that they said they wanted to come interview me. And my office was, at that time, a building built onto the side of my house. And it became the most played video in all of the Kw, whatever the hell the title was, of this series. We were the very first one. I was wearing shorts and a T shirt. They wound up doing tons and tons and tons of these. And I don’t remember the name they gave them, but the one with me and Wendy and what the people were responding to the Keller Williams agents were responding to on that video of ours is everything we were talking about in terms of systems was a replicatable system. There wasn’t anything about it that you go, oh, no, this had nothing to do with let’s talk about how to do TV ads or how to do radio ads. So what they did after this, when Gary decided to write a book, we were one of 15 agents that got picked. Mike Mendoza was one. Just means to give you a local example, the year the book went to press, there was an agent out of New Mexico. I do not remember her name. I remember. She was with Caldwell Banker. And her commissions that year, her share 5.5 million. This is commissions, not volume.

00:33:49 – Bill Risser


00:33:49 – Russell Shaw

And she didn’t make the cut for the book.

00:33:53 – Bill Risser


00:33:54 – Russell Shaw

And let me tell you why. It wasn’t that she wasn’t fabulous. She’s most clearly fabulous. She had 87 clients. She only did investor buy sell stuff for investors. She had 87 clients. She wasn’t taking on new clients. Like, this is it. I don’t want anymore. I have 87 clients, and I’m busy, and I don’t have time for some new person. But they didn’t want her in the book not because she wasn’t awesome, but because there was nothing about what she was doing that was a replicatable system. Unlike, let’s say, here’s another guy that was in the book locally, bill Ryan.

00:34:38 – Bill Risser


00:34:39 – Russell Shaw

So Bill but what made this amazing? If you say, did Bill get his business or did Mike Mendoza get his business the same way I did? No, but that wasn’t what they were trying to find out. It wasn’t a book about how do you get business. The book was how do you go from being a regular deal I’m living from deal to deal agent into having a business. That was the whole point of the book. It wasn’t people read it, go, I don’t see how it get that’s not what it’s about. Imagine if you had a book like, oh, I don’t know, the E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, which is, in my opinion, one of the most amazingly wonderful books ever written for business people, particularly small business people. The E Myth revisit the original, not all the extra crap that got redone when people, you know, Mike, you should do I’m talking about that first book. It was fantastic. Well, this is like the the MREA book is a book on if you are an agent and you spend your time doing this. Here’s an example. If you didn’t have an assistant, you are one. Just take that. So you had what they did is they interviewed with tons of questions, and they took the things that all 15 of us had in common, and they made the book about that. Right, but it was data. It wasn’t like Bill Ryan’s opinion. Gary was not interested in my fascinating opinions or Bill Ryan’s fascinating opinions. That wasn’t the point. I’m being deliberately sarcastic because I think Gary Keller is the smartest person in the universe on the subject of agent success. If you look at just his series of books, if you took a company, any of the big companies, and they had, like, let’s say, Rheology, whatever their current name is, if they had one 10th of that information, they wouldn’t be sharing it. It’d be a trade secret. Gary takes all of the information, gives it first to his sort of inner cadre, then gives it to the whole company, then gives it to the industry. And he’s truly otherworldly amazing. See, if you looked at a regular agent could do 20 deals a year on their own, could they keep doing it? Yeah, they could now make it 40 deals. Now, could you keep doing that? Well, if you want to have a heart attack, right? If you want to have some medical problems. So at around 40 deals, you’re going to need some help. It’s just that simple. You’re going to need some help. And at 60 deals, 60 deals a year, you have to have help. So there was a lot of stuff, and if you look at Keller Williams, they made a science out of how to hire people in different training. But it’s really a hit and miss. Like, no matter what you think you know about hiring, you’re probably wrong. I’m serious. So the key is one of the and I learned this from Gary, a good assistant does not cost you anything, because a good assistant makes your life better in less than ten days. And if that’s not happening, you have hired the wrong person.

00:38:42 – Bill Risser


00:38:43 – Russell Shaw

That’s Gary. That’s verbatim from Gary Keller in Hiring. So if you hire the wrong assistant and they’re constantly taking more of your time as opposed to taking work away from you, that lets you concentrate on lead generation. Because if you look at what does the team leader not talking the Kw term, but I mean, when you run an office, what is the one skill that you have that everyone else doesn’t rainmaker? Just that one.

00:39:21 – Russell Shaw

Just that one skill. And when I see these teams, so to speak, they’re hiring people to generate leads for them. My question is, if they can generate leads, why would they need you? I don’t get it. It’s the very thing they can’t easily do is generate leads. That’s why they want to be on a team. If they could easily generate leads, they don’t need to be on a team. It’s just stupid. They might be a leader of a team or in charge of lead generation for a team, but if they can generate leads, they don’t need someone to well, let me feed you.

00:40:04 – Russell Shaw

But when you have people who are, if you take the average realtor I’m not talking the crooks and the Sobs, I’m just take the average agent who’s been in the business a while, let’s say, describe them. They’re a nice person, probably a woman. Most of them are female now. And they’re honest. These are honest people. And these are the people they’re doing eight to maybe 15 deals a year. They know the contract, they go to all the classes. They’re really nice people, and they’re never going to sell 100 houses a year. Why? Because they don’t have any system.

00:40:46 – Russell Shaw

It’s like people meet them, they like them, they trust them. If you give them a buyer, they’re very trustworthy. Like when someone would call me and go, you would should hire me, I’m a good closer. That’s the last thing I want. I don’t want a good closer. I want someone if my closest friend needs to buy a house, I want someone that will watch out for my friend. I don’t want to drive him around. When my sister Diane needed a house, I don’t want to drive her around town going, do you like that one? But I want someone I can totally trust, who’s trustworthy and reliable, all the qualities that would matter. That’s who I want to hire, right, is someone who would take care of the client, period. That’s really the end of that. And if you say, do we close sales? I’ve read almost every book on selling. Most of them are complete crap. They have these techniques where they sort of encourage you. Let’s say what was that? Dale Carnegie? How to have a nice smirk on your face and be just I tell agents, if you’re able to be around most people and you feel comfortable in your own skin and you’re around someone, that you just have nothing but bad vibes from get the hell out of there.

00:42:13 – Russell Shaw

Do not take them on as a client unless you feel that in one of your past lives, you did something so awful and you need to make up for it. Just leave. Get the hell out. Get away from them. Honestly, the world’s chock full of nice people. I mean, seriously, nice people, good people, honest people. That’s who I want as a client. Seriously. Somebody who you do something for them, and they’re like, thank you. It’s not complicated. And it’s like when you meet people, you’re an exception because you would have more of a sensitivity of what you’re looking at with the person. But even a new agent, you know, like some people, you just don’t feel right when you’re around them.

00:43:02 – Russell Shaw

Leave. See if you don’t feel right about anyone. The problem is with that person. But if you’re, like, with most everyone you meet, you’re very comfortable around them. If you just singled out the ones you’re not completely comfortable around and avoided.

00:43:18 – Bill Risser

Doing business with those people, you go, really?

00:43:22 – Russell Shaw

I go, really? Like, there’s people who are passive aggressive. If somebody does that shit with me, does it affect me? No. But I have people that work for me. If somebody called up and started giving them some shit, it would wreck their life, and I don’t want my staff treated that way. So you understand?

00:43:45 – Bill Risser

Yeah. Russ, what you’re talking about right now is the way you run your business right now. It’s also the way you ran your business 20 years ago, 25 years ago. This hasn’t changed.

00:43:59 – Russell Shaw


00:43:59 – Bill Risser

There’s no magic going on here. No. With the amateur magician. It’s just no.

00:44:06 – Russell Shaw

There you go. Honestly, one of the things is treating people the way I want to be treated. If somebody goes to a car dealer, let’s say they want to buy a car, they need a new car, and the salesman comes out, they’ll say, I’m just looking. They’re not just looking, but they don’t want to be pestered to death. Well, if I can head that off at the pass to let someone know. I’m totally willing to give them information and answer their questions and then say and I don’t even call them back unless I ask them. Would you like me to call you back in a couple of weeks or in a month to see how yeah, then I’m going to call them back. I’m not trying to drive them crazy. I don’t want that done to me, and so I don’t want to do it to them. I have a joke of we tell new people, new hires at the office that under no circumstance should you ever knowingly make a false statement unless it’s to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or to help make a deal.

00:45:21 – Bill Risser

You just blew up everything you just said. All right, Russ, I’m going to give you the same final question that the previous 359 people well, Jay Thompson was your first.

00:45:42 – Russell Shaw

I know that he was. That’s fantastic.

00:45:44 – Bill Risser

Okay, here we go. And his answer was in 2015. His answer was, pick up the damn phone. Not bad, right?

00:45:54 – Russell Shaw

I may go with that mean. I don’t want to be boring, but I think Jay’s really well, I think of Jay Thompson as one of the most likable people, and here’s what I would say. In the early days, I don’t know how much Zillow paid him, but whatever it was, it wasn’t too much. He made a difference. Like, night and day, they hired the most likable person in America to be on point for the people that hated yep. And nobody hated Jay. See, that’s the thing. Nobody hated Jay Thompson. They might have hated Zillow, but they did not hate Jay Thompson. Anyone who knows him or talk to him or how do you not like Jay Thompson? No, seriously.

00:46:44 – Bill Risser

No, I agree.

00:46:45 – Russell Shaw

He’s a smart guy, and he’s honest, and if he doesn’t know something, he would say, I don’t know, or something real catchy like that.

00:46:53 – Bill Risser

Well, what’s that one piece of advice you would give a new agent? Just starting.

00:47:00 – Russell Shaw

Go see not on the phone. Go see in person everyone that would recognize you on site. Like, if they would see you and go, oh, hi, Tom. I mean, whatever. They would know who you were and hand them your cards, give them a couple of them, and say, Good news. I’m now with whatever company it is. I’m with Realty One group, and I just wanted to tell you, if you know anyone that needs to buy or sell a house, please keep me in mind. And then leave.

00:47:40 – Bill Risser


00:47:41 – Russell Shaw

And do that with everyone you know, and you will get business.

00:47:48 – Bill Risser

Russ, congratulations. That’s the first time that has been an answer to the final question. You did awesome. Eight years of a podcast.

00:48:00 – Russell Shaw

Well, I’m delighted. So thank you having me on. Thank you.

00:48:04 – Bill Risser

You’ve been fantastic. I knew this would be a lot of fun and a little controversy thrown in there, too, just to spice it up. I love the way you do that. Thank you so much. Yeah. If people want to reach out to you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

00:48:19 – Russell Shaw

Just simple. Go to nohasselisting.com and my phone number and my email address is there. Rather than try to write a bunch of crap down. Yeah.

00:48:29 – Bill Risser

Nohassellisting.com, everybody heard that. Just head on over. I’ll even put that in the show notes.

00:48:35 – Russell Shaw

I’ll tell you another thing to put in the show notes. I have an agent success site called Number Onehomeagent.com. That’s N-U-M-B-E-R numeral onehomeagent.com. I would make a sweeping statement. It’s my agent’s success site. It looks like crap. It’s very poorly organized. Every single thing you would need to be successful in selling real estate residential is and so it’s free. You don’t have to register. You don’t have to do anything freak freely. Come to it when you want. It’s a lot of content.

00:49:20 – Bill Risser

That’s awesome. Russell Shaw, thank you so much for your time today.

00:49:24 – Russell Shaw

It’s a pleasure, Bill. You’re a great guy. Thanks. Bye bye.

00:49:28 – Bill Risser

Thank you for listening to the real estate sessions. Please head over to ratethispodcast.com forward slash re sessions to leave a review or rating and subscribe to the Real Estate Sessions podcast at your favorite podcast listening app.



Bill RIsser, Bill Risser

Bill has been producing The Real Estate Sessions Podcast since July 2015. Passionate about learning the backstories of Industry Leaders, Bill seeks out established professionals as well as up and coming stars in real estate.

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