Grant Findlay-Shirras

I am the co-founder of Parkbench.com and the creator of the Local Leader Prospecting System. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a real estate agent and you’ve seen me all over your YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook, talking about building relationships in your farm area to get clients and referrals.

Now, on first meeting me, a lot of folks are not sure what to make of me.  At ‘6 3” and 235 lbs, I’m not hard to miss in a crowd. I look like I should be on a football field…or selling protein shakes, not necessarily helping real estate professionals grow their business.

But helping people make money is my passion. And I am pretty good at it, if i do say so myself!

I’ve taught over 1,000+ agents how to generate clients and referrals by building and nurturing relationships with local business owners and professionals in their community for the past 3 years. I am on a mission to make it 1,000,000.

Between 2014 -2017:

  • I have more than doubled my annual sales revenue from $1M – $5M
  • I have created a multi-million dollar coaching business
  • I have taught 1,000+ real estate agents my prospecting system
  • I am an Inman guest contributor
  • I am a best-selling author (Journeys To Success)

I’m constantly traveling between the US and Canada, teaching real estate agents how to do what I did so they can become the ‘Digital Mayor’ of their community. I built my business from 0  to $5M in 3 years using the business techniques that I now share. I’m now an investor, speaker, business coach and most proudly, the CEO and co-founder of Parkbench.com.

But truth is, I was just like most entrepreneurs once, struggling to build awareness and find new business month after month. I know what it’s like to pour thousands of dollars down the drain, promoting, marketing and paying through the nose to attract customers.   But, in 2013, at the lowest point in my life, I discovered one powerful secret that every entrepreneur needs to know in order to be happy and successful. If you’re still reading this, and you want to know more about me, and what this amazing, simple secret is…this is my story… I grew up in Vancouver BC where I went to an all-boys’ private school. My father is an anesthesiologist, my mother is a physiotherapist and my sister is a surgeon. Naturally, I was supposed to go down that route too. It would have been relatively easy to follow in my family’s footsteps, but I was always the black sheep of my family.
I was always trying venture after venture, failing and getting back up again. At the age of 21, I moved to Toronto and enrolled at the Richard Ivey School of Business. During my undergraduate years there, I ran a variety of social clubs and tried different ventures. 4 years later, I graduated with honors and started my illustrious career…working as a personal trainer at a gym. Boy were my parents proud – NOT! After a year of not using my business skills, I got an opportunity to work for a dental distribution company as the director of sales and marketing. I left the gym behind, and thought I was on the way to the top. About 1 year later, the company folded. For 3 months I had been working unpaid, with reassurances from the company CEO that I would eventually be paid in full. Suddenly, with hardly any notice at all to prepare me, I found myself jobless and in debt on – Christmas Eve! Let me tell you, those were a hard few months of recovery for me. My rent was due in 15 days and my bank account was ZERO. I was scared, depressed, and deeply jaded by my experience corporate world. After some hard reflecting, I decided I didn’t want to work for anybody. I realized my greatest strength is building relationships. I’m a people person. I love fitness and have always loved helping people. So, after a trip back home to BC, I decided to create a fitness business in my local community. My girlfriend at the time (and now wife), Amanda Newman, was just launching her real estate career.
After a few joint flyer campaigns (embarrassing photo below), buying online leads, doing facebook campaigns, all of which resulted in nothing but a lot of wasted money and time chasing people who had no reason to work with us, a light went on in our heads. We asked each other: “What are we doing? Why are we waiting for people to come to us?  Let’s just go meet people face to face, introduce ourselves, and build relationships in the community. Let’s just make it happen!”
Our database of contacts wasn’t huge, but it was all we had. We called every name in our CRM, gained a couple of clients, and managed to cover our expenses for the month. Two important results developed from our efforts:

  • We served our clients exceptionally well and got referrals.
  • We started making more money.

That’s when Amanda and I decided to double down on relationships and referral-based marketing.

We figured out that our existing relationships were actually our best source of referral business because:

  • Our contacts already knew us and recognized us
  • Recognition made it easier for them to trust us
  • People who trusted us were willing to give us referrals

With only a handful of clients we had gained through our database, we were able to generate valuable referrals which we treated like gold. Each new client brought more referrals because we always went the extra mile. In turn, our clients had no problem referring us to their peers.

Fueled by the law of reciprocity, we went out into our neighborhood, built relationships with the local business owners, sat down with them, interviewed them, and wrote up an article about them to feature on our website, as well as our social media (ie Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

We began attracting clients and referrals from local business owners in our neighborhood. Word of mouth spread about us quickly because it was all local. That’s when we got the amazing idea to build a website designed just for my neighborhood that would accomplish 2 critical goals:

    1. Add value to local homeowners by providing a new local news source.
    2. Offer value to the business owners by becoming a free local advertising platform for them.

Next, we added more local news, events, and deals content to the website and my social media.

Finally, we went around the community, giving this amazing resource to local homeowners for free. The more we did this, the more we began to realize that if we could help local businesses make money, they would help us in return!

The homeowners used the platform to stay up-to-date with what was going on around them, and to save money by shopping local. And they were very happy.

Local business owners, too, were very happy with the neighborhood website. They made money because my platform was promoting them to local residents for FREE. My neighborhood website was generating business for other businesses besides myself, far beyond what I could have done through my own personal referrals.

In fact, the business owners were so happy with the free exposure that they gave me referrals, while some of them even became my clients. By helping other local businesses make money and building relationships locally, we had made 6 figures in 6 months.

More than six months had passed since I had received that fateful email from my employer. Since then, my database and sphere of influence had exploded and us an our local website had became a household name that everyone in my neighborhood knew of.

Most importantly, I became a leader and referral generator in our community, connecting business owners and residents who lived in Liberty Village.

Eventually, word reached the real estate community. A local real estate agent was deeply impressed by our method of building relationships and adding value to the community. She approached us and said, “I want to do what you are doing. Can you help me do it in my neighborhood?”

And that moment was the turning point for the beginning of my own company. I created Parkbench.com and the Local Leader Marketing System to accomplish 5 goals:

  1. Teach friendly, community-minded real estate professionals how to network in their community
  2. Show agents how to use the law of reciprocity to add value to their farm
  3. Give real estate agents the right tools to build relationships with local businesses
  4. Help agents convert local homeowners and business owners into brand promoters, referral generators, and clients.
  5. Help communities and local business owners thrive with a local free online platform for them to post their deals and promotions

So believe me when I tell you, I know what it’s like to fail time and again. I get how hard it is to turn prospects into clients when they don’t know you. I understand how it feels to constantly face rejection over the phone. And I’ve spent tons of money on flyers, lead generation, and other traditional marketing schemes that didn’t work.

There is a way to get clients without buying online leads from listing portals and chasing cold leads for weeks, even months, only to end up back where you started, with thousands of dollars down the drain and nothing to show for it. You can grow your real estate business without throwing away time, effort, and money on outdated tactics.

Every single day I help real estate agents:

  • Get clients and referrals by building relationships face to face
  • Become a household name in their neighborhood
  • Compete with the top agent in their farm

…and have a blast doing it!

Success begins with a willing heart and a winning attitude, but you still need the right tools and mentorship to get you there. I was fortunate enough to have mentors who instilled the right mindset in me. Because of this, I was able to claw my way back to profitability from nothing.

So if you haven’t picked up on the secret to success in business is yet, especially the real estate business it is RELATIONSHIPS. Yes it’s that simple.

And that’s what Parkbench.com is all about, you’ll not only have the tools to build relationships and add value to local businesses, professionals and locals in your community, you’ll also get the training you need to grow your sphere of influence rapidly, so you can start getting clients easily and systematically.

There’s no other service in the world dedicated to mentoring agents and empowering their success with tools, technology, training, and resources quite like parkbench.com and the local leader system. From webinars to live-chat Q&A’s, live chat, and eguides, we at Parkbench.com are dedicated to turning you into the local leader of your farm area. And we only work with ONE real estate agent per neighborhood.

Are you ready to learn how to grow your real estate business on referrals? Enjoy the success you’ve always craved! Join the Parkbench family today and begin your journey to becoming THE most successful Local Leader in your neighborhood!

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read this. You now know more about me than most people do! Hopefully, I’ll get to know you on a live webinar one day 🙂

Until then, have a great day and happy prospecting.

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