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One of the most important questions for us all in this business of real estate is to stop and ask ourselves the question. “Do you own a real estate business or do you have a job?” The answer to that question is simply this question. “When you stop does your income stop?” Then you own a job. If you are generating business and income while you are away from real estate, then you own a business. One of the greatest challenges for most agents is leverage, automation, systemization and delegation. This week we look at the question that all agents are seeking the answer to, “When and how do I hire a real estate assistant?” Some even go years contemplating whether or not it is the right time. Many people ask the same questions such as, “should I hire someone now?” and “can I even afford to hire someone?”
Now we know it can be scary to let someone into your business like that but in actuality, it needs to be done sooner than later. If you are constantly asking yourself if you should hire an assistant, then that alone should tell you that you need to hire someone. When it comes to affording one, if they are really doing their job, they will be making you a significant amount of money. Here we are going to break down when and how to hire an assistant through 3 different phases. Each phase comes with 4-5 questions and steps into ensuring you are using the right solution.
In Phase 1 begin to ask yourself, “How do I know it is time to hire an assistant?” Like mentioned earlier, if you are asking this question, then it probably is necessary. You are clearly starting to become overwhelmed once you start even thinking about having someone to help.
Question 2, Do you stay up late doing non best use of time tasks, also known as “BUT’s”? These include very simple tasks that are more tedious than they are difficult. After a long day of meetings, going to open houses and meeting new clients, the last thing you are going to want to do is work yourself up on those simple everyday tasks you had to keep pushing aside because they weren’t a priority at the time.
Question 3, Do you have aspirations to grow beyond where you are now? If you have aspirations to grow financially or even from a team standpoint, you are never going to get there alone. The only way you are going to grow and get the most out of your potential is to have help. Asking for help can sometimes seem as a belittling standpoint but it shouldn’t be. Everyone at some point or another asks for a helping hand and so should you.
Question 4, Do you live in the clouds? Meaning, are you not able to implement in the way you need to? People who are in real estate, especially self-starters and entrepreneurs live in the clouds and you need to take this in account for needing the help with your brain storming.
Question 5, Do you know that you are losing business? The more you wait for help, the more projects you are going to have to shy away from because of how busy your schedule is. The longer you wait, the more money you are going to lose, period. Their job is not just to do the tedious and hard work, it is also to make you money. As they say, you don’t remember what you’ve forgotten.
Now that you have finally agreed to yourself you need an assistant, it is time for phase 2. What are you supposed to look for when you start looking to hire?
The first thing you should be looking for is if they are detail and system oriented. In order to find someone who is, the best way is to make them follow multiple steps in the hiring process on the application. These can include: using a specific font size, only sending the application through a PDF, use a specific format, include this header and more. Now if they don’t follow the steps correctly you instantly know they are not good with following directions and are not detail oriented. In all, you are looking for a person who can get annoyed with a lack of order rather than too much detail or instruction.
The second thing you should be looking for is a naturally positive person. Now, this can be a little more difficult because in actuality, everyone is “nice” during their first interview. This is why you need to take it further and have multiple interviews in multiple settings. It is known miserable people can only act happy for so long until it takes one thing to take them over the edge. You need to be able to see how they act with more than one or two interactions with them to get their full personality and potential.
The third thing you should be looking for in a potential candidate is if they are self-driven. This person should be looking for ways to make your life easier. You want someone to anticipate everything so they can adapt to what is needed and what isn’t.
The fourth and final thing you should be looking for is someone that must be tech savvy and able to type. Now we’ve all seen how our grandparents and even sometimes our parents use a computer which is funny to us of course, but when it comes to hiring an assistant, it won’t be funny down the line when you are on a time crunch and they are still working on that first email. There are plenty of people in the world, especially nowadays with technology being as advanced as it is, that know how to use specific software and can adapt fast to new software.
Moving on to the 3rd and final phase, you should now have hired someone but you don’t exactly know what to do next…
The first thing you should do is either take the time to properly train them or take the time to redo their work. You need to set aside time to be able to train them respectively because the quicker you train them, the quicker you will improve your business and make money.
Secondly, you need to give them clear expectations of what you want from them. You only have one chance to create expectation so think carefully. You want to set expectations such as what time they need to be there, the kinds of activities you expect them to do, what they should be able to do in a specific amount of time, etc. Be very clear in what you want out of them so then everyone is on the same page.
Next thing you want to do is teach them a marketing strategy to implement immediately. This is because it will shortly after bring your business making not only you feel good, but making them feel good as well. Try to teach them how to do things such as saving a search in a MLS, emailing listings, saving listings and similar tasks. All in all, they are adding to your business this way and it can only lead to great things.
Lastly, do NOT micromanage them! Many agents respond to this by saying, “but what if they don’t do it right?” Well, it is not that they won’t do it “right” it is that they won’t do it YOUR way. You need to let go of what you’ve been doing in the past to make room for the new because clearly something needs to change. Additionally, in most cases, they often do it better than you which may catch you off guard at first but you need to remember it is only making you and your business greater. You need to give them the freedom to be the person you hired them to be and let them do their thing.
If you haven’t already realized, there are only positive outcomes that will happen if you were to hire an assistant. After going through these 3 phases, you should see a massive positive change in not only the business but with you as a realtor. Now start looking for that assistant before all the good ones are taken!
Strength and courage,