Archive for the ‘The Millionaire Real Estate Agent’ Category

Joshua Smith Interviews Me

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015




Seminar – The Two Types of People

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

This seminar contains the most vital, high impact and important information I know.

Here is the link to the online version of the booklet:

Here is the link to the YouTube video:


Happy New Year?

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Earth made the full trip around the sun.  365 revolutions of the earth.  And we are supposed to “make new decisions” about the time it will take for the earth’s next full trip around?

What was wrong with our old decisions?  Didn’t yours all happen the way you decided?  I know mine sure didn’t.  Not even close.  The sudden changes in the market stood many predictions on their heads.  An awful 1st quarter, a decent 2nd quarter and a mediocre 3rd and 4th quarter for us – we wound up 2013 closing 342 transactions.  But congratulations are not in order – as that is down from our 435 closed transactions for 2012.  Oddly enough, our annual sales volume ($63,973,603.) didn’t suffer, in fact it was up by almost a million dollars – due to prices being higher than in 2012.


We hope it is happy.

Happy = Fun!

Happy = It went like we wanted and planned.

For the record I am planning on doubling the amount of business in 2014 we did in 2013.  I am no longer trying to figure out HOW to generate buyer sides, thanks to finally having that crazy making issue resolved thanks to my Real Estate Webmasters site (  So we have added 2 buyer agents (for a total of 6) and hitting 200 closed buyer deals in 2014 is no longer a pipe dream.  That now solved – along with the market shift back to “traditional sellers”, we can once again make lead generation for sellers our primary focus and have our (considerable) marketing dollars have a huge impact (regardless of the now numerous local copycats).  The new radio ad is done.  The new TV ad will be done early this month.  Our staff is fully groomed to provide an even higher quality level of service so the experience our clients have will create more raving fans.

Some of you felt battered in 2013.  I did too.  It is just part of the deal.  If you don’t ever want to get hit, don’t get in the ring.  This is going to be a GREAT year.  Won’t you join me?

Realtor Success Seminar – The Conditions

Monday, August 19th, 2013

You can see the booklet here:





Find Out Why – Achieving Your Goals

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Here is the entire seminar

And here is the handout

Tone Scale Seminar for Agents

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Here is a video link for a seminar I gave to agents.  It is just under 90 minutes long.  It is a remarkable tool for predicting the behavior of others.  I think you will really like it.

Here is the on line link to the booklet I passed out:

The Secret to Becoming a Top Listing Agent

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Only the mediocre 

Here are some factual statements:

Most people who enter the real estate business are gone in just a few years.  Most real estate agents, who stay in the business, are not very successful.  To be in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. would require about 50 – 60 sales a year.  Most agents, who are successful, (50 – 60 sales per year) do not really know why they are successful.  They think they know but they are usually wrong.

Only about 25% – 30% of the top 1% of all agents actually know why they are successful and most of those don’t know it very well.  So success can seem mysterious or elusive.  It needn’t be.  If one were to apply the same exactness to the subject of real estate sales that any well trained engineer would apply to his discipline it wouldn’t seem mysterious at all.

But applying that exactness would mean – really – looking, not listening.  Look at what people do.  Look at how they do it.  Exactly.  Look at what results they get from doing it.  It makes little to no difference what they think is causing their stats to rise.  What is causing their stats to rise?  Anyone who says he (or she) knows why they are successful would be able to teach it – and teach it in such a simple manner that the other person could apply what was being taught and get a similar result.  There would be no special cases, no exceptions.  Not if a scientific approach was being used.  Anyone who knew why they were successful would be able to increase their level of success.  If they could not do that one thing then what they are thinking is the "reason" isn’t the real reason for the success they have had.  That last one is so obvious it is usually missed.  Is there really any "highly successful" person who left real estate sales so they could teach it?  Even one?

There are few subjects on earth (possible exceptions are mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc. – and the other so-called "exact sciences" – that don’t just reek with false data.  The subjects of sales and marketing (those are two different subjects, by the way) have so much asinine, stupid and unworkable gibberish being pawned off as "the way to do things" that it is a minor miracle anyone who actually studies either of those subjects ever succeeds at all.  Just as an example, about 20 years ago it was validated that, in some fields, women who were trained by male sales managers did not do nearly as well as women salespeople who had no sales training of any kind.  Amazing.  The "sales training" had an actual negative value.  This is just one example.  So the thing to do is: LOOK, DON’T LISTEN.  I don’t care what someone says they are doing to bring about sales results (and highly successful real estate sales people will sometimes actually invent things to tell others because it "sounds better" than what they are actually doing).

There was a scale developed many years ago (originator is uncertain) that has been altered (for the worse, in my opinion) from what I learned in 1971.

From the bottom up, the original scale went:

1.  Unconsciously incompetent.  Doesn’t know and doesn’t know he doesn’t know.

2.  Consciously incompetent.  Knows he doesn’t know.  (note that NOT knowing is a step UP!)

3.  Unconsciously competent.  Knows how to do it, but doesn’t really know why it works.

4.  Consciously Competent.  Knows how to do it and knows why it works, so can increase it and validly teach it.

cat in mirror

The secret to becoming a top listing agent?  First become a really crappy listing agent.  Become a really crappy one, then a bit less crappy, and so on.  That is the actual path.  There is no substitute for "stage time".  None.  Fail.  Fail more and go right on doing it.  Having the right attitude is probably more important than any other factor.  A complete willingness to do whatever is necessary and to have the viewpoint that you are going to persist until you have arrived.  Sort of like it mattered.

I Mean Business

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I Mean Business

What is a "top producer"?  How is it defined?  Why would anyone care?

Some would say if you are in the top 10% you qualify.  I set the bar higher because the bottom 90% is doing so poorly.  To be in the top 1% – of all agents in the United States – you would need to sell about 40- 50 houses a year.  The first year I qualified I sold 38 houses.  At 40 – 50 sales in a year you would probably always be in the top 1% in your area and in the country.

Why does it matter?  Why have you seen me mention so many times, "what top agents do"?  It certainly isn’t to suggest that someone doing less or something different is in any way "wrong".  There are many many ways to approach this business and anything that is working can be defined as "good".  To me it has to do with systems (successful methods).  There are some top agents that have very poor systems and handle their business by taking each particular situation, each escrow and just "glowing it right".  Through sheer intention and desire, making it close.  Forcing the deal together.  These agents do not have a stable business but have a temporary perch they will soon fall from.  When I think of "top agents", for me, it is really shorthand for "has workable systems".  Most importantly, top agents who are stable top agents spend very little energy "glowing things right" with regard to procuring new business.  Without exception, they have exact and specific methods they apply again and again and again – and get the same predictable results each time.  They have a system for getting business.  They do not depend on: lucky breaks, caught a good one, happened to meet a guy who is ready to buy, didn’t expect it to happen but it did sell and close.  As I personally spent the first twelve years of my real estate career depending exclusively on lucky breaks, happening to catch a good one, etc. – I am very familiar with how that works, as well.

During my first twelve years in real estate all of my deals – each and every one – came about as sort of a fluke.  If I had arrived just 15 minutes later, I might have missed it.  If I hadn’t driven down that street I wouldn’t have seen the guy in his front yard by a FSBO sign and wouldn’t have stopped to talk to him.  I discovered that I could get business from almost any activity.  Just about anything could produce a deal or two.  But while striking up a conversation with the guy behind me – while playing goofy golf, or chatting with someone in line at the drugstore or a movie theater could produce business, it wasn’t a very predictable method.  It is this point alone – a predictable method of producing new customers – that separates the top agents from the pack.  This is what makes the difference between having a business and having a job.  It was in 1990 I started to really make that transition from hoping for a deal to the continuous creation of deals (developing workable systems).

So when I hear someone say, "I got a deal from twittering", "I met the client at a Kiwanis meeting", "I knew them from church", "We golf together", "The neighbor really liked my custom yard sign", etc., to me that sale is in the category of a fluke.  I mean no disrespect.  That is not to say it didn’t happen or will never happen again but that it is not a controllable event.  I can’t go to enough Kiwanis meetings to get all of the business I want.  I can’t happen by enough golfers to support myself.  During those lean years I did have "miracle escrows" that truly seemed like a gift from heaven at the time.  And I was grateful too.  But I was also determined to eventually get to the miracles as usual level.  That required workable systems.

Let’s Talk About How Much We Charge

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Money with Sign

Let’s talk about commissions.  Realtor to Realtor.  We do it everyday with potential customers.  Reporters can ask us how much we charge and then print our answers for other agents to read.  You can call any real estate office and simply ask them or just look on their website (if they are willing to put their fees there as most discount companies are – and I am, as well).  Would it be okay if you read how much another agent or company charges but not okay if you heard them physically say it? 

A few years ago when I was speaking at Sell-A-Bration, in front of a few hundred people – which I will be again in a few days – I mentioned commissions and several people started openly protesting that I could not keep talking about it or they would have to leave the room.  I patiently explained that I was not breaking any law, violating the spirit of any law or doing anything wrong.  In fact, I was doing something very right: I was helping fellow agents to see that they didn’t need to "match commissions" with the limited service companies (the we-do-nothing-for-less-crowd), that there were services they provided and skills that every single person in the room possessed that factually mattered; that the running dog press had "their story" prior to "researching the article" and that ingesting a steady diet of poison would make anybody sick.

A few morons continued to loudly bray that if I did not stop talking about commissions they would leave the room.  Fortunately for me the main entrance to that room was to my immediate left and was a very large opening.  So it was quite easy for me to gesture towards that doorway so someone that unobservant wouldn’t have any difficulty finding their way out.  Two or three people got up and left.  Several of the CRS instructors in the audience had also tried to explain that there was nothing I was saying (including how much my fees were) that violated any law.

What is against the law (as it should be) is PRICE FIXING.  Agreeing to all "charge a certain price".

Is it possible that someone honestly believes that I could make an announcement via a blog post (or speaking to an audience of a few hundred people) and "fix commission amounts"?  "I charge ‘X’ amount because Russell Shaw told me to"; "Once the order from Russell arrived, we couldn’t charge any less"; "All of us now charge this amount, it’s the way Russell wants it now".  Really?  If I was truly that powerful I wouldn’t waste my power on something that stupid.  And if I was going "fix commissions", I would have everyone in the country charging a lot more than me so I could get all of the business without having to try very hard.

Truth is, I am not in competition with any agents outside of my area (yes, yes, I know we really need a national MLS so all companies and agents will be free to prove they have no real knowledge or value) and I go way out of my way to help and train the agents who are here.  Customers aren’t scarce.  Regardless of what is currently happening (this day, this month, this year) I will continue to survive.  I am not afraid of any competitor, in fact, I can now see that it is because of them I have arrived at my level of competence.  Their ability to win what I wanted forced me to get better.

It does not matter to me what you charge.  Charge the amount that seems right to you (based on your area, your price range, your competition, market conditions and your ability to effectively communicate your level of value.  If you feel you must charge less because of the internet, the existence of discount companies, articles in the media, "ethical explanations" from other agents who are hell-bent on having less (for themselves and everyone else), or any other important reason to work on reduced prosperity for yourself and your fellows – I understand that nothing I am going to say or write is going to change your mind.  This is strictly for those who haven’t already gone too far down the rabbit hole.

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

– Isaac Newton

What follows in this post may seem to some like Earl Nightingale meets Buddha – and maybe it is – but I think you are going to like it.

Last week Matt wrote:

I might have missed something in the post, but to say that all listings for the discounter were $299 is probably not correct. “58 X 299 = $17,342.”I see a lot of “Discounters” using low selling price as a tool to get people in the door, or on phone. $299 is usually a no support price…and then they tack on a-la-carte items to raise that price up. True, it will never be full commission, but I doubt all 58 sold for only $299. How would he still be in business only making $17K per quarter?Russell, How hard was it to get to the level you are at today? Many realtors never get to this level, because it is very, very hard. I would bet that it is a lot easier to throw up a bunch of ads, that say you will sell a home for $299, and get a ton on people in your office. It can’t be that hard…

I don’t know how much selling up occurs at his site. But assume he only sells half of the listings he takes and gets paid on twice as many as he closes and manages to up sell every possible option he has – I still don’t like the numbers. I am still saying it is NOT that easy to make money by lowering one’s prices. Please understand I am not saying it can’t be done – just that making money doing it is not easy.

But the question of yours that really caught my eye was, “Russell, How hard was it to get to the level you are at today? Many realtors never get to this level, because it is very, very hard.”

I don’t believe that is even the correct framework for understanding what is involved. To think of it as “hard” or “difficult” is trying to grasp it in terms of how much effort is involved vs. charging less and “getting a lot of business” that way. One of the huge advantages I have over most highly successful Realtors (this year we will take over 600 listings, close over 400 escrows – for over 100 million in volume) is that I was an “ordinary” agent my first twelve years in real estate. My first 12 years I sold between 18 – 24 houses a year. I was heavily in debt, lived from deal to deal and was not exactly happy with my “real estate life”. Compare this to Craig Proctor – who at age 29, his third year in the business, was the number one agent in the world for Re/Max. My first TWELVE YEARS were a struggle. So my perspective about achieving an extremely high level of success isn’t all “book learning”. This understanding has enabled me to not only create a completely stable level of success in my own business but also to share my wisdom on this subject with others and help to make them successful, as well. To get to the level I am at (and there are hundreds of other agents making the kind of money I make or more) isn’t a matter of “difficulty” at all. Does it take a lot of effort and dedication? More than an ordinary person can even imagine. But the work isn’t “hard” – it is almost a non-stop joy, a reward in itself. I smoked for 29 years and quit smoking in 1989. For some years after I quit smoking I would get asked if it was “hard to quit”. My answer was always, “No, it wasn’t hard to quit”. I had a few days of unbelievable cravings (I took off work and spent two days non-stop TALKING about smoking – my wife got to listen to all this). I had about three weeks where I had to have Nicorette gum. But it wasn’t “hard”. I had DECIDED. Now deciding – oh my GOD was that difficult. I “thought about” quitting for TWENTY NINE YEARS. People who get to my level DECIDE to get to this level. There will be numerous times along the way where it will seem right to “coast” – I did for three years at 60 deals a year, again at 130 deals (2 years there), again at 200 deals a year (3 years at that level). You get the idea. The operative word here is: DRIVE. It isn’t “hard”, it requires drive. The person has to really want it.

What I know now is that every person has a “set point” for just about everything. On any subject there is a certain amount of “X”that is considered “good”. Any amount less than “that amount” is not enough. Any amount over that amount is too much. Although this concept applies to anything; motion, speed, food, sex, free time, affection, etc – I’ll use the example of money. There is a certain amount of savings, for example, that is “right” for a person. Less than that amount and they must get it back up to the correct level. More than that and they feel like they have “a surplus” and will find a way to get rid of it. Same with income – make less than the “right amount” and the person will find a way to get their income back up to that “correct amount”. For some years the amount of money I was “allowed” (by myself) to keep was a minus number. As you can imagine, this made for some very interesting checkbook balancing from time to time. So the first “rule” to know if one intends to change the amount of money they will earn or have would be for the person to change their ideas about “how much they need”. Many people may think of this as “positive thinking” – but it is the VITAL first step and can not be omitted.

Here is a link to a positively wonderful short video that a friend sent to me. It is called 212 degrees. Please turn your sound on and take a few minutes to enjoy it.

There is also a movie out on DVD called “The Secret“. You can watch it on line for about $5 or order the DVD for $30. If you have not experienced it you are missing out on something quite special.

A truly key point is covered in the following, and if you understand and grasp it – you will never see your business potential the same again.

Excerpt from policy letter 28 Aug 1973, Organization Executive Course, Volume 7:


“It is also true that the volume an organization handles is NOT dependent upon public demand. The volume it gets and handles is solely determined by its internal organization. This sounds so strange that many an Executive Director has had great trouble until he believed and and used it. You can always internally shoot the stats up and keep them up. It is THAT, across all divisions, which determines the volume an organization gets and handles. This is sometimes hard to teach people but once they see the results of it they become converts to that principal —- that it is internal, not external actions that determine stats.”

– L. Ron Hubbard

So long as I believed (my first 12 years in real estate) that “the market” had something to do with my income I was like a cork floating in the ocean – my destiny controlled by forces that were – for the most part – completely out of my control. What I know now is that agents who are “geared up” for 50 – 60 deals a year are not going to do much more than that. They may have little spikes up here and there but they will get it “back to normal” quite soon – whatever it takes to accomplish that.

In Gary Keller’s outstanding book, “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent” this (although not stated explicitly like above with the Hubbard quote) is covered in the correct sequence for hiring assistants. Any real estate agent who plans on ever moving past “having a job” into having a business needs to read this book. At least twice.

It is not just the most important book ever written on the subject – it is the only book ever written on the subject. Imagine if you could get author, Michael Gerber, “The E-Myth Revisited” to stop by and write up for you what to do in your business to build it up into a stable operation so you would not ever have a problem that money would solve. The proceeding sentence is my book review for The Millionaire
Real Estate Agent (known to affectionados as the “MREA”).

To get to the next level (life is improved on a gradient) your organization would need to be set up for actually handling the level of business you want to do. This, of course, would include promotion. Advertising and marketing would not be for the level you are doing now – but for the level you plan to do. If, for example, you did not have an assistant (then you factually ARE one) to do “all the little things” for you – the growth ceiling is to some degree set right there.

The MREA, which was on the Business Week best seller list for over a year, features numerous quotes from me and they featured me in the book, along with about a dozen other top agents in the United States. Vice President of Keller Williams International, Dave Jenks, along with a camera crew, flew from Austin to Phoenix and came to my office (currently a building attached to my home) and spent a day here filming me and my staff. It was the first video they ever did of a mega producer. It was and still is used to train KW agents at their KW Mega Camp. Their video production techniques are SO much better now but that crude video is still used today and I get told (by KW agents and brokers) it is still the one they like the most. Why am I telling you this? There are KW agents whose incomes dwarf mine. They have direct access to some of the most successful agents in the world. The year they interviewed me for the book we closed just a bit over 50,000,000 in volume. Respectable, sure. But not amazing “world class”. The year in question was 2001. I wasn’t here much that year. I was diagnosed in July of 2001 with bladder cancer. I had an aggressive stage 3 tumor in the bladder wall. The urologist wanted to (was insisting on) completely removing my bladder and my prostate. The Mayo Clinic would not accept me as a chemo patient – they would only accept me I would agree to have my bladder removed. I decided I would rather not have this body than have that kind of life. I wound up with a nut for my oncologist (her main nurse was an angel), I had a wonderful surgeon – had three surgeries and I spent nine months traveling to Los Angles once a week for Scientology counseling to get rid of the grief and “deathfulness”. I was physically in Phoenix about 3 days a week and with the chemo I could actually do “real work” in my office about 6 -7 hours a week. I was unable to go on listing appointments anymore (I tried it but would space out so much while talking to them it was kind of pointless).

That year we had the best year (at that time) we had ever had. My business went UP with me GONE. As the MREA was all about systems, they liked mine. And there is nothing I do that can not be replicated by anyone who wants to move up. Nothing.

I am totally cancer free – have been “officially” since March of 2002. At the time I even bought myself a Porsche to celebrate (yes, of course it was a 911 convertible. Yes, of course I had to have supercharger added to it later:-).

And I have exactly the same attitude towards helping agents “break through” any barriers they may have between themselves and the success they desire as I do about giving a cancer patient a “lift”. Attitude is EVERYTHING. Everything.

Please read this book: