Success Stories

Relationship Marketing Weekly: Real Estate Franchisor

Why would a national real estate franchisor require all his franchisees to incorporate a relationship marketing system and strategy to join his company? Because it works! Today Kody Bateman interviews President and CEO of City2Shore National Franchises, Ryan Kelley. Ryan will go into detail on the power of connecting and celebrating with a tangible touch, relationship marketing, and how effective it’s been for his company.

Kody Bateman: Hey everybody. This is Kody Bateman. Welcome to our weekly Relationship Marketing Show. We have a very, very exciting guest for you today. I know I’m looking super cool here today. I got my glasses on and my San Diego Charger hat on. I’m actually sitting in San Diego, California today, right next to the beach, doing some writing today.

We’re putting out a new book here pretty soon. So I’m getting some writing sessions in here today and I’m very, very excited to interrupt the writing for this incredible guest that we have on today. We have Ryan Kelley. He is the founder and CEO of City2Shore National Franchises based out of Michigan. Ryan, welcome to our show today, brother. How are you doing?

Ryan Kelley: Thanks for having me, Kody. I’m doing fantastic today. I’m glad to be here. I wish I was with you in San Diego but I will take Grand Rapids, Michigan and be happy about it.

Kody: Well, that’s great. So we had the chance to visit before the show started. I got to tell you, you have some incredible, impactful stories to share, some philosophies to share about, about being nice to people, about being kind and considerate of other people and how it helps you in your business and personal life.

So we’re going to jump into that. But before we do that, Ryan, if you could tell us a little bit about what City2Shore – what is your business model at City2Shore?

Ryan: Right. Well, I appreciate you asking that. So City2Shore Real Estate is a residential brokerage service franchise. We’re based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan and we do a little bit of commercial with some of the stuff we do. But mostly we’re a residential brokerage service.

So we offer to the general public selling and buying. We’re not a luxury firm. We work with a lot of individuals that are – they’re buying those – the mid-range houses. So we have a very large market we’re working with. We’re very geared towards millennials with a lot of the technology that we have and the systems that we use.

Kody: So you’re a franchisor. You’re in the business of selling franchises in the real estate model, which is cool. So that’s the business you’re in. In a minute, we will kind of get to what you do relationship-marketing-wise to reach out to potential franchisees I guess and those who – how many franchises are there?

Ryan: We have a few units right now in Michigan and in Florida and we’re looking to develop into a few other states here into the near future. So we have had quite a bit of growth over the last several months here and things are looking very bright for the future as well.

Kody: Well, I will tell you, hats off to you. I was involved – many years ago, I was involved with a startup franchisor deal and the work that it takes to get a franchise started. I just got to take my hat off to you because I know the process you have to go through and obviously you’ve been through the process. Now you could sign on franchisees. That’s a real cool thing.

Ryan: It is.

Kody: So on this show, we talk a lot about the power of a tangible touch that goes out to people. We live in a digital-based world. Everything is email and social media today and you’re bombarded with stuff. So the power of the tangible touch, something that physically shows up in the mail is gaining more and more power today than ever before.

You my friend have some incredible examples of tangible touches. In fact I know you have a bunch right there. Can you just share with us the – your story of sending tangible touches out? You have a lot of personal stories that I think are real important for people to understand. So can you share some of that with us?

Ryan: Yeah, I would love to do that. So SendOutCards to me was something very special from the start because – I’m going to share the story with just my family, to start out with, right?

My grandparents would always ask me to send pictures of the family, of the kids, of this and that. It was always a bit of a challenge for me to run to the store with a thumb drive, do all of these things, print pictures and send them out.

So it has morphed into an opportunity for me to create as many pictures as I want right on my phone as I’m taking them and pulling them off Facebook or whatever that looks like and being able to send them out.

So the first thing I want to talk about is the impact that I made in my family’s life, right? Because that’s so important to celebrate your family with your family.

It’s different than just liking a post on Facebook or every now and again you get that professional photography of some magical picture that you took at some destination or park somewhere or something like that, right?

This was a way – I will show the stack here a little bit. So this is just a portion of like what I have that I’ve sent to my family, right? My kids get pictures in the mail of themselves all the time. I send them to other individuals of their kids and it’s like – they feel like rock stars getting pictures of themselves in the mail. So it has really done wonders for me to put that personal touch with my family and then that has bled over into celebrating the lives of other people and their families, pictures of them and their kids, or whatever they’re celebrating in their life.

So really for me, that’s how I started to use SendOutCards. It was just a – to send cards to my family and friends, just really celebrating their lives.

Kody: You know, what’s interesting about that is we’ve been teaching businesses for 15 years now how to use our follow-up system. It’s really interesting because when people get in to use our service just for their business, they don’t ever seem to fully get it.

When we get them to use our service to reach out to people in their personal life, they always get it and it looks like you’ve gone through that process where you’ve had a lot of personal experiences. You’ve seen how it works and then that kind of transformed over into your business and you’re able to utilize it in your business the way it’s intended to.

So I think that’s really important. So let’s talk about your business a little bit. City2Shore, you’re in the business of selling franchisees in the real estate model. So take us through the process. What do you do to reach out, to follow up with and incorporate relationship marketing and building this model?

Ryan: Right. That’s a great question. I would like to tear it with a couple of different aspects here as well. So there’s a discovery process if you want to own a City2Shore franchise.

So you go into our website. You click on the franchise button. You read a little. You’re interested. You fill out the form and then you end up talking with us.

As we go through this process, obviously as with any business, there has to be a follow-up process. We’ve incorporated the use of SendOutCards to add an additional layer of a personal touch where it’s not necessarily just about closing the sale.

It’s about creating that relationship and reaching out in a manner that shows that you actually want to know who that person is. You want to get involved with them on a personal level because that’s what creates longevity in business.

So let me tear that down to talk to maybe some individuals out here that might be agents for a company, right? So as you’re sharing SendOutCards or using SendOutCards to touch base with your clients, right? You’re not necessarily looking to make just the sale, right? As you’re sending out these cards, it needs to come from a different intention and I remember a conversation I had a long time ago with Jordan Adler. We were talking on the phone and this was right when I was introduced to SendOutCards.

He said, “It’s not about the cards, right? It’s about the connections that you can make with people.” So when you take your mind and you approach the use of this product as in developing that authentic relationship with your clients, with your family, with your friends, with those around you, people see that. People can fish out authenticity. They can fish when you’re trying to close the sale, when you’re just trying to push it on, the pushy salesman type versus going to build the relationship.

I was just speaking with a potential franchisee yesterday. She says, “I do 100 percent of my business by referral. I do zero marketing to try to get new clients,” because she spent the time to build the relationship with these individuals.

So again, with all of this, with the use of it and growing my franchise company, with my communication with franchisees, with the communication with the agents in my company, clients, family and friends, from here and here, it’s about strengthening the bond between people.

At the Promptings Academy Kody, you brought that up. You’re looking to strengthen the relationship in people’s lives. SendOutCards is a tool to do that. But it’s about how you use it. If you throw on the back – look I’m trying to sell your – I want to sell your house, right? When are we going to list your house? Whatever that is. It doesn’t resonate with people as much as it does with – here’s an example. This is one of the agents, two agents at our company. I just sent them this card. She framed it.

Kody: Wow.

Ryan: How important is that to her? She framed it on the inside. It just tells her I appreciate her, right?

Kody: Yeah.

Ryan: If you’re a real estate broker out there, have you thought about sending a card to your agents and just saying, “I appreciate you,” your employees, right? That’s a big deal and when it comes from authenticity, people understand what that means. So you really have to have it in your heart to really be thankful and grateful when you send these because it shines through.

Kody: It’s kind of hard to frame a Facebook post isn’t it?

Ryan: It sure is, right? Absolutely.

Kody: Again the power of the tangible touch and you have given great examples to that. I love what you said – authentic relationship. Again it goes back to what we were talking about. You use this so much personally that it just transforms to everybody in your life, to you, a person as a person, whether they’re a family member, your spouse, your friends or a potential franchisee.

That potential franchisee – granted. Let’s face it. You’re in business. If someone is on the hook to possibly buy a franchise, you definitely want to close them on buying a franchise. I mean you’re in business. That’s what you do.

However, you talk about authentic relationship and you do that even with your potential franchisees. So it’s like what you do personally just transforms into your business. So everything is about creating relationship. I’m telling – the reason I spend so much time on this is because very few people in business get it. They don’t get it. They do not get. Like most people that are trying to sell franchisees right now, it’s go for the close, baby. I will follow up with you if you’re going to do business with me. If not, you’re going to go away somewhere.

You don’t do that. Your authentic relationship, there is no line. I mean a relationship is a relationship no matter who they are and I see that, what you’re doing. It’s super, super cool.

Ryan: You never know where the value comes from in the relationships you have. You might have a perceived conception of, well, this person can get me this. This person knows that person and you try to have these ulterior motives, right? And that’s OK to ask for direct connections. I do that.

I will call somebody up and specifically say I want to be introduced to that person, right? And those things are all OK. But when you start compartmentalizing your relationships into what value you think you can draw from it, you never know the person and this can be for somebody that’s selling insurance, somebody that’s selling real estate, somebody that’s selling cards, right? Anybody in any of these types of businesses where you’re dealing with people.

They might refer you to the person that you listed a $900,000 house. They come and buy a brand new F-150, whatever it is, right? To just really pour into people and I was speaking with somebody else this week and they talked about being present in the moment, being present with other people and you can share being in those present moments. Look, right here, being present with my son on his third birthday.

Kody: Yeah.

Ryan: Right? We’re going to remember that forever. He’s dressed up as Gekko from PJ Masks. That’s his thing right now. Being present in the moment right here.

A screenshot of Snapchat when my daughter lost her first tooth, right? You get to be present in those moments and you get to capture them in a fashion where you can look back to stay with those moments. Not that you’re living in the past, right? But you’re capturing these moments and these memories in a very creative, special way.

So to extend that to other people, build a bond and a connection, you never know where Mary or Tommy refers you to somebody else that – I mean that could make your business this year just by being genuine to that person and wanting to have that relationship.

Kody: Well, I got to get you on the stage one of these days. You’re great at this, man. This is fun. I love to sit and listen to your stories and your passion. It’s super cool.

Ryan: Breathe a little life into some other people that might be – I mean for me, it took a long time for me to develop this type of mentality. It’s not an overnight thing. But it does have a core being as well. But you can develop like you can with leadership skills the passion for these types of things.

This is more about it becoming a certain type of person and the fun thing is, is you can pick these types of things. You can say I want to be the type of person that does this and every day you can take steps. If you want to climb to the top of the stairs, you got to take one step at a time.

Kody: Right.

Ryan: Right? So you want to go in that direction. It takes a decision. Then it takes action to go in that way. So that’s the fun thing about this is that you can make the decisions to become this type of person, right? And the use of SendOutCards is a becoming. It’s becoming a type of person and that’s what I’ve appreciated about it and that’s what I – I mean I got it right off the bat, right?

Bam, I get it because I was traveling down this path. It’s just an additional tool to use and the results are remarkable. Absolutely the results are remarkable but it’s the intention. It’s the intention that draws the type of result that you might perceive in the beginning you want.

Kody: Yeah, that’s a powerful message. It really is. So listen, we really appreciate all of the golden nuggets that you’ve given us on this show today. As we finish up, are there any final words of wisdom from Ryan? Can you share any of that with us?

Ryan: I got a couple of things. First of all, if you’re married or if you have a significant other, send them love letters, right?

Kody: Love it.

Ryan: Capturing dates. You know, my wife sends me these ones. I get these in the mail randomly. We make a great “pear”. We got two pears, right? Use it to connect with your spouse. Use it to connect with those people around you. Develop an attitude of gratitude when it comes to celebrating other people’s lives and the magic starts happening.

Business comes from people. Cars don’t sell themselves. Houses don’t sell themselves. Franchises don’t sell themselves. Authenticity sells those things.

At City2Shore, we have what we call our creed and if anybody wants to watch that video, it’s on our website under the “About” section and the first line of that is, “City2Shore is based on the principle that building lasting relationships with their clients is more important than personal short term gain.”

If everybody in their business followed that, think how powerful that would be. If your more important goal is building a relationship with that person, right?

Like Jimi Hendrix playing a guitar. No movements are wasted, right? If you’re not wasting any movements in how you connect with people to develop those relationships, your life, your business, everything will change around you. It’s like magic.

So if I were to leave with one word of wisdom, it would be aim to celebrate the lives of other people and watch the magic happen.

Kody: Well, there you have it, Ryan Kelley. Incredible, incredible guest on our show today. We really appreciate all of your incredible words.

One final thing I want to talk about you, this is so cool. This is so cool. You showed the cards that you send your wife and cards that she sends to you. There’s no close or more intimate relationship than a husband and wife.

That’s probably as close of a relationship as you can get and you show how that you use this system between the two of you. There’s a spirit about that and because you do that with your spouse, it transforms into you doing it with other people in your personal life, which transforms into people that you’re doing business with.

The only way that you get the authenticity in business that you’re talking about is to use it on a personal level and have it go into your business. I think that’s so important. I know we’ve talked about that a couple of times on the show today. You’re a master at doing that and again, we really appreciate you taking the time with us today.

So all of you who are listening in, share this thing, man. Share this show with everybody. This is powerful, powerful stuff and we will see you next week on another relationship show.

Thanks everybody. Take care now.


To secure your best year yet, you may consider using a service like SendOutCards. In just minutes, you can create a custom card, add a personal message and picture, and do it all right from your mobile device!  You can even include one of their many gift selections like their amazing brownies, their new premium line of chocolates, you can even include a Starbucks card!

If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate a Relationship Marketing Strategy in your business, feel free to call or text me at {LEAD_OWNER_PHONE|}I Will answer all your questions and help you build relationships, increase referrals, and make an amazing impression on all your clients, friends and family!

Hi, Thanks for stopping by my blog! To get the latest updates on Appreciation Pal enter your email below:
To Top