So you’re a new agent—or maybe a veteran—but you’re doing it solo. If you’re brand-new to the real estate world, this is how most agents start. If you’re a veteran, chances are that you’ve realized that sometimes it’s okay to ask for help. That’s where building a team comes in.
Real estate agents are entrepreneurs, and with that comes the often-typical feelings of being cash-strapped or control-heavy—”I am better off alone.”
But I’m here to tell you that it’s time to let go of that power and relinquish it to a well-placed sidekick. Why should an administrative assistant be your first hire? Here are some reasons to consider:
- An assistant will give you time to work on your business, not just in it. Sure, you’re still the one to negotiate contracts, but do you need to be taking photos or scheduling photographers, stagers and contractors? Do you need to be following up on repairs? Consider all of these “agent” tasks that an assistant who’s paid less than you can help you with:
- Follow up on listing paperwork, seller’s disclosures, etc.
- Enter all the details in the MLS
- Measure rooms and write descriptions
- Schedule photographers, stylists, contractors
- Enter leads in your CRM database
- Be your “concierge” for your clients. (Their first stop should be your assistant most of the time, allowing you to focus on the next clients.)
- Pay bills (or at least make sure the bills are getting paid)
- Create simple spreadsheets to keep track of expenses, or if your business is more advanced, communicate directly with your bookkeeper, prepare invoices, track down receipts, etc.
- Hire and train (Your business is going to grow, believe it or not.)
- Plan events and help you stay in touch with your best clients
What’s your time worth? How much time will you get back in your day if you are delegating these tasks and many others? That time is valuable, allowing you to be doing what you do best: prospecting for new clients and listings and negotiating deals.
- An assistant can be the first stop for client calls—a concierge of sorts. Forward your phone to your assistant during your office hours and enjoy listening to him or her getting to know your clients by phone. Your clients will be impressed that someone else can help them and that your business is busy enough to support administrative help—and your assistant will learn to be empowered to make decisions in your place, which leads to the important No. 3….
- Someone will have your back. We all need a trusted advisor (probably more than one). A great administrative assistant (or operations manager, as you grow) will be your partner, helping you make decisions about hiring and firing, training, business planning, and so much more. The right assistant will grow to be an invaluable part of your team (perhaps the most important person). Pass off some control and see your life come back to you in free time, whether this be calendar space or mind space. Both are equally valuable. Having a partner who envisions growth and helps to execute that plan will also help you to achieve your dreams for your business and your life.
- You’ll be able to take a vacation. A well-trained administrative assistant will be able to manage the office and recognize the priorities while you are away. Forward your phone and email, and see your assistant thrive in the knowledge that he or she is managing a business in your absence. This will be an asset to you and a privilege to her.
- What about the cost, you ask? Think in terms of 90 days, not 360. Have him or her prove their worth during those first few months. By the third month, the additional business you’re able to get by getting your time back should more than pay for the salary of your new assistant. In hiring, don’t discount such tools as DISC profiling and reference-checking. Hire slowly and carefully and you’ll have your powerful sidekick envisioning business expansion before you know it.
Sarah Bernard came to real estate from a career in corporate marketing and property management. Licensed in 2014, Bernard sold $6 million in properties with 12 transactions in her first year and was Rookie of the Year. Five years later, she has grown a team that includes three buyer agents and support staff. She is committed to learning and improving her team management every day. For more information, please visit www.workmansuccesssystems.com.