As I look back on my 37-year Real Estate career and really focus in on when I realized that I needed help in the office, several things come to mind as turning points for me. I think that the simple most important event if you will, that comes to mind, was that I was literally becoming tired of not having enough time to do everything, and more importantly, do it well.
I missed out on a business opportunity because I wasn’t able to get to it on that day. Please remember that this was in the mid-1990’s and we didn’t have advanced email or texting yet, and by the time I realized that I didn’t make that phone call, it was simply too late at night. I lost the deal, and I was devastated but learned my lesson right then.
It was a difficult economic time, but I really had no choice – I needed help. I split my first assistant with another agent and quickly learned that if I really wanted to have my own assistant, not a shared one, someone who could help me with everything, I had to somehow budget the money to make it happen. My first part-time assistant allowed me that opportunity because I was making more money, more than enough to pay for her services. I was working at what I enjoyed, meeting with Buyers and Sellers, and not doing too much clerical work anymore, which made me happy.
As time went by, I began to build my team, one person at a time. In order to build an eventual team, I needed to define the roles of the future assistants, create a budget for each position, determine a method of payment, and allow my budget based on the market and earnings to determine the quality of the eventual assistant, and when I was going to hire that person. I also needed to decide which role was most important in the hiring order. As my business grew, the roles became obvious.
My approach to assistants is simple but not a secret. The Real Estate business mirrors life very well – it’s about relationships and communication, good or bad, ownership of responsibilities, and most importantly, camaraderie and fun. If you communicate well including listening, no games, and use gentle control, your relationships in your business life should be good relationships and you and your team will flourish.
While you are building your team, think about all of the above. Take your time to hire, and make sure that you are all on the same page. You will be rewarded with generosity based on performance. If you’re looking for a bargain in an assistant, please remember that you always get what you pay for. Maybe you’ll get lucky like me and hit the jackpot.