Artwork for podcast The Real Estate Sessions
Episode 360 - Russell Shaw - Russell and Wendy Shaw Group, Realty One Group
Episode 36015th August 2023 • The Real Estate Sessions • Bill Risser
00:00:00 00:49:42

Share Episode



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 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...