interview preparationThis month, the theme is ‘business expansion’. Listen up, you great agents (and you selling managers…). Are you driving yourself nuts trying to sell, follow up, market, support, etc.? You need to start building a team. Where do you start? With an assistant.

It’s been said that, when you clean your own house (even when you have another profession), you are a housekeeper. Fair enough. But, if you also sell real estate, wouldn’t your time be better spent finding, working with, and selling homes to clients than cleaning your home? It’s a pretty easy ‘sell’ for us salespeople to hire a housekeeper. It saves us time, energy, and frees us to do more sales or spend more time with our families. It’s a harder ‘sell’ for us to hire an assistant. Yet, it’s the same thought process, isn’t it?

I Might Be ‘Buying ‘Trouble’

Everyone tells us to hire an assistant (or several) to increase our income and buy time. Then, why don’t more agents hire assistants to leverage themselves?

1. Agents are afraid to take on more expenses
2. They’ve seen other agents hire assistants and create a ‘revolving door’ of failed assistants
3. They don’t have time or expertise to train them

Yet, if you could hire an assistant at $15 per hour, and do your $100 (or more) per hour work more frequently, that would be a good business decision, wouldn’t it?

How—and Why–Agents Make These Mistakes

When I was the vice-president of a large real estate company I created a series of courses in how to hire and train an assistant. As part of the course series, I invited top agents with assistants to be panel members. Boy, did I open a can of worms! I found that many agents belonged to the ‘assistant a month’ club! Well, it really wasn’t quite that bad, but, almost that bad. Here are the three major mistakes these agents made (and most agents make), resulting in a ‘revolving door’ of assistants:

1. Agents didn’t choose an assistant based on job description, job responsibilities, behavioral profile, or systematic selection approach. They just ‘winged it’.
2. Agents didn’t train the assistant; they expected the assistant to figure it out as they went. In many cases, the agents weren’t trained trainers or coaches themselves, so they had no skill in organizing and implementing a linear training program. They didn’t know how to consult an assistant to better performance and greater teamwork.
3. Agents didn’t have systems in place for the assistant to plug into; they expected the assistants to create the systems—to ‘organize’ the agents (in your dreams……..).

In my next blog, I’ll offer you a job description and ask you to make your own.

Right now: What systems and processes do you have in place to get ready to hire that assistant?

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