By Dave Robison
All the top producers have something in common. Yes, they all have something other agents want, such as higher sales, more disposable income, and more free time. But how do they achieve this? It’s not by buying an iPad or iPhone. Can you guess what it is they have in common?
NAR reports 87 percent of agents don’t have assistants.
An agent recently asked how I came to the decision to hired an assistant. This agent is excited to grow their business and take the next step into creating a sales team. After thinking about it, I realized how my business expanded due to having assistants, and how my lifestyle is more enjoyable. Here is my advice for agents who are considering hiring an assistant:
When do you hire an assistant? There are two main, simple steps. Whenever I hire a new assistant, I do it after analyzing what I’m doing with my time. My first step is figuring out how much time I’m spending in each area of my business. My second step is deciding if there is a certain area I could focus more time, and whether that time would produce a large enough return for my bottom line while paying a new assistant.
For example, recently I realized I’m spending a ton of time on e-mails, answering simple questions from my clients and other agents. I have a transaction coordinator who I keep busy with 20 to 30 deals under contract at one time. She is already very busy, so I couldn’t add more to her plate. I figured if I can have a licensed assistant take care of all the routine e-mail and simple calls all day for me, then I could spend more time getting more listings. Now it’s time to do it. I hired my second assistant so I could focus on increasing sales.
How do you hire your assistant? The first step is identifying the natural talent your new assistant must possess in order to accomplish your tasks. I had a manager tell me about how tired he is having talks with one of his assistants about poor customer service. After questioning the manager, I found out the assistant keeps the workplace spotless. Everything in their office is totally organized. I further inquired about other employees. We found an employee who is awesome at sales. We went over choices and he said it was more important to have higher sales than it was to have a clean office. So he changed his assistant, and after a couple months he said to me, “Sales are up!” It’s awesome! I asked him how the office was. He said it’s a mess, but sales are up!
You have to decide what tasks and results you want first. Once you know what is most important to you, then you are ready for the next step. The second step is finding someone with the talent to bring the results you want. Many people use Myers Briggs, color, or disc tests when hiring a new employee. I use a test that evaluates people’s conative skill first. It’s called Kolbe. Conative tests are important because you can’t tell a person’s conative talent by their personality or resume. You can only tell by how they work. The problem is, if you hire them and then find out how they work…it’s too late. We always use the Kolbe test upfront. It has helped me double an agent’s productivity, and helped my sales grow 50 percent when the market tanked 25 percent.
These two important items to understand if you are looking at growing your business. If you are only selling five homes a year, you may need to focus on getting busier before you hire assistant. Good luck!
Dave Robison, known as “Utah Dave,” is a broker/owner of Robison & Company Real Estate.