274 Mail-Right Show Special Guest Shawn Bell Of Century21 CA
We Discuss Using Technology To Build Real Local Relationships
Shawn has coincidently been in the top 1 percent of all Century21 agents in Canada. He has over 16 years in the real estate industry. Shawn also has a love for online marketing but also understands that his industry also about building real local relationships in his community.
Also, Shawn has a large YouTube following connected to advising agents the best technology to us
that can get them real results. Also, Shawn provides a number of very affordable online courses connected to how you use the power of Facebook and another online marketing platform.
Robert Newman: Welcome back to the Mail-Right Show ladies and gentlemen, it’s episode 274. Today, we are meeting with Shawn Bell, who’s in Century21 in Canada, and I’ll let him introduce himself and explain what part of Canada that he is from.
Shawn Bell: Hey, guys, well, first off; thanks for having me here, I really do appreciate it. I’m one of your North of the border Canadians, we’re kind of more on the West side of Canada, so the easiest way for me to usually explain it to everybody is just saying we’re pretty much six hours North of the border straight North of Montana. So, go to Montana, go six hours North, and you may find me somewhere there, We’re not heavily populated I’m in a city of only 30,000 people.
And I joke with everybody that we’ve been practicing social distancing for years here, so this stuff’s not new to us, it’s pretty easy going here for us to get through this.
Robert Newman: That’s beautiful, all right. So, today we found Shawn because my intrepid host, which by the way, John, I’m going to cue you up for an introduction here, was doing some research on YouTube and reached out to you because we were really impressed with your YouTube channel. And with that, John, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself?
Johnathan Denwood: I’m the co-host with Robert on the Mail-Right Show; Shawn came across me on doing some research for possible guests. I was intrigued by what he was doing on YouTube, and also to get a perspective of an agent that’s still very active as an agent in a slightly different market, the Canadian market, which I think has been going through a slightly different cycle than maybe the US market. And also somebody that’s really active with digital media. So, I thought you’d be a great guest to see what’s been working for you.
I also know you interact with a lot of agents and you could give us some feedback on what your finding is, working for other agents and what isn’t. So, I thought you’d be a really interesting show, Robert.
Robert Newman: Excellent, all right. So, with that, Shawn, why don’t we just tee up one of those questions that John just asked and say, start off the show with you telling us about, so we know, or the audience now knows that you’re really active on social media. He has a huge following and a really active channel on YouTube, and you can probably just go into YouTube and search for Shawn Bell, and if that doesn’t work, do shawnbell.ca and I’m sure that would work. So, why don’t you explain to us what you feel the differences are in Canada versus the US if any, just whatever your thoughts are?
Shawn Bell: For real estate in general, there are subtle differences; I’ve worked with a lot of US realtors and Canada as well. Just, for example, setting up our CRM, I noticed from doing it in the US there’re just there’re those little differences. Here, it always boggles everybody in the US’s mind, when I tell them somebody calls me up today and wants their house listed; I can have it on the market tomorrow. Whereas I know in the US there’s a lot more of a process to that where you have to do a lot more steps before you ever do have a house on the market.
Whereas here it’s basically, I take my photographer over, we take our photos, we get the paperwork signed that day and she’s on tomorrow. Another one is, in the US you have a lot of title companies, so with possessions, usually, your paperwork’s going to a title company and you go sit down with the customers at a closing table. Correct me if I’m wrong here because I’m just kind of guessing, but you kind of sit down with the customers, sign paperwork and it’s closed and that’s it.
Up here, we do not have such a thing, we just have the lawyers that take care of everything, so basically, when we have all conditions removed on a property, that’s when it’s considered sold. We send everything off to the lawyers, and then from there, the lawyers take care of everything, so there’s no closing appointment that we have to attend, it’s just basically once possession.
Johnathan Denwood: So, I think what you’re describing is, it’s similar to the UK system where the title company element is not there, isn’t it?
Shawn Bell: Correct, yeah, there still is such a thing as a title transfer it’s just that the lawyers are doing that title transfer.
Johnathan Denwood: It’s a deed in the UK. One of the factors that is interesting to me is, how’s the Canadian, it’s a vast country like the US so it’s probably regional, but in the US in general, it’s been a dramatic shortage of sellable property. And a lot of markets in the US are pretty red hot at the present moment, has Canada been down a similar direction, or is the market fundamentals a bit different?
Shawn Bell: That is a great question and it all depends on where you live in Canada. So, if you go further West of where I live to the coast of Vancouver, you’re going to see a market that’s been very busy. I believe that in the last year or so, it had softened a little bit, but it was just going crazy for so long, there was a lot of foreign investment a lot of people coming and buying property [Cross-Talking 6:01].
Robert Newman: What’s the name of the market, for our Canadian audience because they’ll know?
Shawn Bell: In Vancouver.
Robert Newman: Vancouver, gotcha, okay.
Johnathan Denwood: British Columbia.
Robert Newman: Okay.
Shawn Bell: So, they have a lot of influence from the international buyers being in, bought a bunch of property, eventually, Vancouver put in what was called a Foreigners’ Tax, where they tax the people that were coming in; and I believe that the houses were vacant, they put a tax on it. So, then a lot of those buyers moved farther East to Toronto and Toronto suddenly saw a big boom in their markets and there were Toronto and Montreal. So, basically anywhere kind of East has just been insane, just a lot like you see in the markets in the US.
Where I’m located, it’s the exact opposite; it’s been six years now, we’ve been in a recessed market, which is a very long time for a recessed market. We’re a heavy, oil field related community, and just the oil fields have been hit hard and therefore we’ve seen a bunch of foreclosures, we’ve got a bunch of houses on the market. When we were in our booming times, which was insane, we had no houses on the market for a city of 30,000 people; we had, I think it was maybe 30 houses on the market. And then fast forward to a few years later, we had over 400. So, it’s just quite a drastic difference.
Johnathan Denwood: I’m sorry to interrupt but is this also what you’re describing, is this sort of affecting Alberta and Calgary.
Shawn Bell: Yes. So, basically, I live five hours Northeast of Calgary, and you’ll see a lot of the oil field companies’, head offices are in Calgary. And yeah, we’re right on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and it’s affecting both provinces for sure.
Robert Newman: Okay, which makes my next question, I feel about a million times more relevant. So, you, unless I’m misreading, are in the top 1% of Century21, and what you just described to me and John, is that you’re sitting in the middle of a recessed market. Now, there’s a lot of people, myself included looking past this boom and crazy time to when real estate stabilizes in the US and I do believe at some point, we’re going to see a slowdown, it’s hard to say that we won’t because we’re so hot right now.
So, I think that this information might be incredibly relevant for some of our listeners, they’ll be really fascinated to hear; you’ve just described a depressed marketplace, you’ve got tons of foreclosures. How are you maintaining the top 1% of all of Century21s in Canada sitting in a depressed market?
Shawn Bell: For sure, yeah, it’s just all a matter. Obviously, there’s never one trick; it has helped that I’ve been in the market for a while, I’ve been doing this just over 16-years, so I’ve been able to build a name for myself, that helps.
Johnathan Denwood: You look much too young are you saying that you started doing this when you were twelve?
Shawn Bell: You’re not the first person to ask that, I started when I was 19; and yeah, from there, it’s just a matter of just keeping in touch with people. Social media, I love social media that has helped quite a bit in getting my face out there, I’ve been known as kind of the leader of social media within our city. And because of that people recognize you, they’re like, hey, I saw you on Facebook, I saw you on Instagram, I recognize you.
They know me before I even know them, which is awesome because now when people are coming to deal with me, they already know, you have a family, you like to travel, you like food, and they know all those things about me. And I don’t even know who the heck they are already, but they already know, like, and trust me because of the brand I’ve built and because of what I do on social media. And then aside from that, it’s just always been like, I always tell everybody, I have my phone here, I always say this thing is literally always with me.
Everybody knows when they message me, they’re going to get a response from me, and I’ve found what lacks for people that I’ve spoken to said, if they’ve dealt with a realtor before, is communication is key for them; that’s their biggest thing is they never heard from their realtor. So, I found, hey, there’s an easy one for me, if I keep in touch with them, and I keep talking with them, then obviously that’s going to take care of that objection.
Robert Newman: Okay, so interestingly enough, it seems like you’re mostly leveraging real estate and I say leveraging. You’ve done a little bit of business, so your tools are as follows: you’ve got all your social channels; you’ve got a real estate website that was built for you by Real Estate Webmasters. I’m curious to know, so you’re on YouTube, you’re on Instagram, you’re on Facebook. If you had to say, which of these tools has been most impactful for your lead generation, what are you going to say has been the number one thing for you to bring business to the doors?
Shawn Bell: As a realtor in my city, it’s definitely been Facebook. So, I always recommend when I talk to other realtors, as well, it can depend on your city, my city, I always call it kind of old school, so the demographic or the majority of people in my city are on Facebook, whereas if you go to another city, it might be Instagram. The other difference is right now, we just started a new page because I just created a small team here, so I had my Facebook page already, now, we got a new Instagram page up and running for it.
So, those two, kind of correlate with each other, then on the other side of it, where I run a course teaching other realtors how to do things, that’s where I’ve got another Instagram page for that, and I’ve got a YouTube page for that, so that’s helping other realtors. So, if we’re talking on the real estate side of things, then yeah, for sure, Facebook and Instagram, and it seems Facebook has so far been beating out Instagram within my community.
Robert Newman: Okay, and so, you haven’t mentioned in any of that, YouTube. Now, I’m looking at YouTube, I’m looking at your YouTube channel and I’m looking at a lot of your YouTube channel. It actually seems to be geared towards realtors and not necessarily towards prospective real estate people, it’s a lot of training for those of you who are curious to know what I’m looking at. Shawn seems to be offering a lot of tutorials, is that right?
Shawn Bell: Yep, just basically the short of it is bettering your business through technology, so I’m a huge tech guy. Before I was in real estate, I was a computer tech, I tore apart computers, I rebuilt them, and when I got into real estate, I felt the two could be married together. So, I put them together, and that’s another reason why I feel that I’ve had great success within real estate is just, I’ve always got the new, latest, greatest, I’m always researching if there’s somewhere we can make something better. What’s an app we could use to do that or what other things could we do?
It was years ago, I started electronic signatures, back then people didn’t even know what the heck electronic signatures were. So, just different stuff like that, that had made my time more efficient, and I could do a lot more with the proper systems. And yeah, so that’s basically the short of what that YouTube channel is about, is just teaching other people from my experience; in my 16-years of things that have worked and what they can do as well to implement in their business.
Robert Newman: Right, well, we’re going to go to a break right now, ladies and gentlemen, when we come.
Johnathan Denwood: No, actually, we actually still got a little bit of time.
Robert Newman: I have a big question, let’s do it early. I have a question that won’t be fast. So, let’s.
Johnathan Denwood: I’ve got a quick question before we go for the brake. Just to summarize because obviously, I think you did a great description of your market. I think what you were saying about how you manage to still be the top 1% of your franchise was quite not eye-opening, but was crucial because I think what you were saying was that there was no silver bullet, why you were maintaining your status.
It was more real down to earth factors that you had put the donkey working over a number of years about, not what both me and Robert call the invisible agent syndrome; that you’ve got to get yourself out there and be a recognized authoritific brand in your area. And I think that’s what you were saying that you had done the previous dot, so you were seen as the real estate resource in your local community. Would you say that I’m on the right track here?
Shawn Bell: That is correct, yeah. Basically, when I started there was not much for social media, so it was a matter of you having to know people and you built a rapport and you had that person refer you and that next person referred you. So, that’s how it started, and then from there once social media came along, then all of a sudden, jumped on that and it was just kind of adding fuel to the fire. So, you’re getting the referrals, but then secondarily, you’re getting the next people that are finding you from being online, so it all works together in one great system.
Johnathan Denwood: So, It’s like you say, so I think what you’re saying is it’s still totally a relationship-based business in the way you’re just using technology to increase your outreach and being able to build your local brand at an affordable price.
Shawn Bell: Absolutely, it’s number one still, relationship for sure because I can be doing all this and doing great on social media, and if somebody comes to me and I do a terrible job or I’m not doing the job for them, then that relationship falls apart. And what I just did, everything falls apart, so it all has to work together.
Johnathan Denwood: And I think that fits into what we’ve been preaching over the past year, hasn’t it, Robert? I think there are a lot of people, and we’ve discussed this before, that can use social media or they use what I call the Pothini Mythology. But we’ve got an agent here that understands that you’ve got to combine both together and use digital marketing to build your brand and get yourself in front of people at the right time, but it’s also still totally aware that it’s still a relationship industry basically.
So, it’s fantastic just to find somebody that’s using both because I think a couple of weeks ago, when we were having an internal discussion, Robert, we were finding that a lot of people struggle with that, don’t they?
Robert Newman: Yeah, no, they do because the overall concept, it is a big concept to say that, hey, in today’s digital world, it’s best to rely on six or seven different methods of getting in front of somebody because Shawn, you’re talking about Instagram and Facebook, you’ve mentioned those two repeatedly. You probably have, actually, that’s going to lead me into my question, which is going.
Johnathan Denwood: We’re coming up to the clock so?
Robert Newman: Yeah, now that I’m talking, it’s time to stop. Alright, so ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to go to our break, we’ll be right back. And when we come back, I’m going to be tossing Shawn, a question about his most popular video, which is on CRMs, all right.
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Robert Newman: Welcome back to the Mail-Right Show, ladies and gentlemen, it’s episode 274, can you believe that, 274? And we’re here with Shawn Bell, an internet rockstar from Canada, about six-hours North of Montana. And I am about ready to ask him a question about his most popular YouTube video, which is how John and I found him, he is giving out some great content for all of you real estate agents, looking for a little bit of help, you can find him at Shawn Bell on YouTube.
The question that I have for you, Shawn regards your video that has 5,400 views, it’s the most popular video I could find on your channel, and it asks this question; top real estate CRMs for new agents making the best decision, so it’s a 10-minute video. Here’s my curveball, so what did you recommend?
Shawn Bell: I’ll answer that in two ways. So, first, of what I always start with my videos, I say to everybody, obviously, I’ll give my recommendation of what I really like and the ones that I’ve used and the one I’m currently using. And saying that I always want everybody to do their own research as well to know what they want to get out of their CRM because what I want out of my CRM might be different from what the next person wants out of their CRM. So, I would hate for somebody to say, hey, you know what?
He recommended this CRM, I’m going to go get it, and then they get into it and they find out, oh, this is more work than what I thought or this doesn’t do what I wanted it to do. And all of a sudden they’re going, well, that guy, what the heck does he know? What is he talking about? This was a terrible recommendation. So, there’s no one size that fits all, in anything there’s, in my opinion, there’s nothing that is like, this is the best one, and if everybody uses it, they’re going to be the best because they all do different things.
Now, to answer your initial question, Realvolve is what I recommended, that’s the current CRM that I use, I really do love it, as I said, it does take time to set up, but once it is set up, the thing’s amazing. It runs through the exact same tasks every time, so if I have a new buyer come along, I can put a certain, they’re called workflows, so I can attach a workflow to that person, and then from there, it reminds me to follow up with them all the time and to keep in touch with them.
If I get an accepted offer on a property, whether I’m representing the seller or the buyer, I put that into Realvolve, and then it runs me through the exact same things every time, it has where it’ll automatically send them a video that we’ve created ahead of time, it tells them the next steps that are going happen, it reminds us to send stuff to their mortgage person, get the home inspection book for them. Basically, so the idea when we came up with it was kind of almost like a franchise model.
If you’re going somewhere say, you’re going to a McDonald’s and you’re going to a McDonald’s in New York, that cheeseburger you order is going to be the same as the cheeseburger; you order in LA, it’s going to go through the exact same process. So, no matter where you order it, you’re going to get that relatively same experience. And that’s what we want to curate within our business, so that when one buyer comes through, maybe they refer a friend, and that friend’s coming through, they are going to get the exact same level of experience.
So, that they’re not coming back and saying, hey, why did you do this for my friend but you didn’t do this for me? Realvolve takes care of all that because it’s telling you to do it basically step-by-step every time. And the best part of it now is every time I get somebody new, I enter them into my Realvolve CRM, it tells me what to do, and I know when I go home at night and I spend time with my family, I don’t have to worry about a thing because I know everything was taken care of.
Whereas years ago, before I had this, there were many nights I would sit there, lay awake in bed, and going, I forgot to do that, I forgot to contact that person, and it just was not a good feeling. And I knew that had to change, and that’s why I did my research and eventually settled on Realvolve.
Robert Newman: Interesting, all right. I think I’m going to have to take another look, but in the meantime, ladies and gentlemen, if you’re curious about this video, Shawn has the distinct and strange honor of actually beating me for a number of keywords on YouTube. You can do any of these search terms and you will find this video at number one or number two: CRM for real estate, CRM for real estate agents, best CRM for real estate agents, and there’s about a list of 20 other keywords that he ranks number one or two for, and you can hear him talk for 10 straight minutes about his Realvolve recommendation.
He’s got 117 thumbs up, 4 thumbs down probably from people who are competitors, by the way, if in case you’re wondering why occasionally that happens.
Shawn Bell: Any thumbs up, whether they’re up or down, I’ll take them, it counts as engagement.
Johnathan Newman: I was fascinated by your reply, it really showed what I and Robert have been also discussing with our internal shows, and our guests; is when somebody says, what do you recommend as the CRM? And it’s practically an impossible question to answer, and it was so perfectly shown in your reply because your reply is perfectly sensible.
When you take into content, what you were saying in the first half of the show that it’s the quality of service being seen as a reliable resource in your market that you’re looking for a CRM that really helps you keep your surface quality level at where you want it to be. So, that’s a top priority where like with Mail-Right, we have a basic CRM built, but it’s part of our lead generation system, and it just sends emails. It doesn’t do all the things, the bells and whistles that your system does, so it really does depend on what you really want from that CRM, doesn’t it?
Shawn Bell: Absolutely, yeah, and that’s why somebody may use one CRM and be like, this is the best thing since sliced bread, and then the next person may say, well, this doesn’t work for me, and then they may have one that works for them. So, and then there are others where they may think, you know, what? If this CRM is charging this much, well, it must be the best, so I’m going to pay all that money, but they only use 5% of its capability, whereas they could actually be spending less of their monthly budget and getting a CRM, that’ll do the exact same thing for them.
Robert Newman: Which leads me to all those people listening out there, I will give them a Robert Newman million dollar idea, I just don’t have the time or the budget to build this myself. But John and I have talked about this and I’ve come to the conclusion, John, that somebody you, I, or some other enterprising entrepreneur actually needs to make a behavior-based relationship CRM because all the ones that are out there don’t do it very well. What I’m talking about Shawn is if let’s say you’re a relationship seller, like you’re not necessarily you, who’s generating all these cold leads off Facebook.
Let’s just say, you’ve done what you’ve done for 16 years, but you have an amazing rapport with the 75 you sold homes to, and the way you count on getting new business is by making sure those 75 people refer you to the 500 people that they know when they’re ready to buy a home. So, how do you do that? You make sure that they’re getting a card from you, every time their dog has a birthday, every time their daughter graduates from seventh to eighth grade, and the list goes on and on, you know as much as you can about those people and politely encourage them throughout their lives so that they remember you.
You say good things like, oh, your Alma mater won the football game, stuff like that. But how do you track it? You need a CRM, right? A really good one, it doesn’t exist, I’ve never seen it, you would have to put all that information down in notes, not fields.
Johnathan Denwood: Well, there is actually one, it’s part of the Buffini bought CRM, and I’ve got the name of it, but I think you can buy it and use it, and you don’t have to be part of the Buffini coaching program to utilize it because a previous host of this podcast actually utilized it. And he showed me the backend and it’s extremely focused in the way that you’re outlining, Robert.
Robert Newman: Really well, you have to get the name of that sometime so that I can stop telling our audience to spend $2 million on something that already exists.
Johnathan Denwood: So, I will go to the Buffini website and I will find it, make sure it’s in the show notes. But like what I said to you, Robert, fundamentally the best CRM is the CRM that you utilize, so many agents well, they have a CRM that’s kind of forced down their throat by their brokerage, and we’ve just shown that it’s really dependent on the kind of agent you are and how you’re going to use it. So, a lot of the brokerage CRMs isn’t utilized because it’s not the right tool for that particular agent, would you agree with that, Shawn?
Shawn Bell: Absolutely, yeah, it’s as I said, there’s no one size that fits all, so if it’s coming from a brokerage, one realtor may jump on it and absolutely love it, and the next one may struggle with it because they don’t want all the bells and whistles. I just want my name’s in there, that’s all I want, or whatever that may be, everybody’s got their own system and it’s the same when I’m teaching other realtors throughout North America about different social media tips or anything.
I always tell everybody, you have to find your own way, what you’re comfortable with, what you can do, focus on that and really do it well. There’re some realtors out there that make tremendous amounts of money with, obviously, it’s a little tougher now, the way that things have been recently, but with door knocking and cold calling, that’s not my style. I have made $0 from that, it was just not a strength of mine, so I just never did it, but that’s because I do it one way, it does not make it the right way.
Johnathan Denwood: It’s a bit chilly where you are anyways, that you’d probably get frostbite, wouldn’t you? So, Robert, I think we should wrap it up and hopefully, Shawn can stay on for some bonus content because I want to delve into what Facebook efforts have been working for him. And see if he can give some tips and advice to our listeners and viewers about that particular subject, which you’ll be able to see the whole interview on the Mail-Right YouTube channel folks.
So, hopefully, you found this part really interesting and you’ll go to the channel and watch the rest of the interview, over to you, Robert.
Robert Newman: All right, so we’re going to wrap it up before we do, Shawn, I would love it, if you could just share with our audience, if they would like to reach out to you, how would you suggest that they do that?
Shawn Bell: So, probably the best for other realtors is I’ve got an Instagram page and it’s @C21ShawnBell, every day I’m posting on there, I’m sharing my story behind the scenes, showing what I’m doing throughout the day-to-day and really trying to help other realtors out there. Saying, if there’s a tip I can provide on there, I’m going to throw it on there, I’ve been doing Instagram Reels, a new thing coming is Instagram Guides, tried that out.
So, I’m always trying new things and like to share with realtor saying, hey, the latest one was Instagram Reels, I think all realtors should be on Instagram Reels because it’s new in the algorithm, it’s getting pushed to more people, therefore as realtors, you guys should be doing reels. So, you can go to my page to find tips like that, and then if you’re wanting other things aside from that, for sure, YouTube is the number one because YouTube has searchability, you can search different topics that I have, go through and watch them at your own leisure.
And they’re going to live there forever, so you can watch something today, and if you need a reminder, you can watch it six-months from now. And that one is, just go to youtube.com\shawnbell, and that’ll take you right to my channel.
Robert Newman: Awesome, thank you so much for that. We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the best performing Facebook ads. John, if people would like to reach out to you, how would you suggest that they do that?
Johnathan Denwood: It’s really easy folks, you go to the Mail-Right website, you can book a consultation with me, that’s totally free; we can go through your difficulties and we can see if the Mail-Right platform is the right solution for you. For the other agents that will find Robert’s solution more suitable there’re other agents that find ours more suitable, there is no platform that is perfect for all agents but as I said, you can go to the Mail-Right website, book a consultation or just give me a call, I’m always available, over to you, Robert.
Robert Newman: And for some reason, if you want to learn internet marketing or you want to get a deep dive into any of these systems that we occasionally talk about. Not Realvolve, I’m going to have to change that, but most of them, Follow Up Boss and kvCORE and all those others through the eyes of an expert, you can go to my website, inboundrem.com, and learn more. You can also if you really think that you’d like to talk to me, you can always just use my contact form, but that’s neither here nor there.
All right, Shawn, thank you so much for coming on the show, ladies and gentlemen, stay tuned and go to our YouTube channel for the extra bonus content and do all of us, Me, Jonathan, and Shawn, a favor and thumbs up. Give us a review on iTunes, so the show shows up better inside the iTunes system, we would deeply appreciate it; If you do nothing else besides listen, please give us a review on iTunes.