Agents often ask me what they can get their personal assistant to do. It’s a big question, with no direct answer.
The ideal PA is someone who complements your style and fills in those gaps where you need help. A personal assistant is there to make your work life easier so you can make more money, do the things you love and have the time to enjoy the fruits of your success.
The road to finding and keeping a great PA can be a challenging one. Make sure you take the time to find a skilled and competent PA. A big issue I see daily is trust – you can only build trust by showing your PA how you like things done through quality training, then allowing them to jump in, make mistakes and learn for the future. If you don’t show them how you like things done, they won’t understand what you want and you’ll never build that trust.
In sales there are really three types of personal assistants.
The starter role is an admin PA. This is the PA who handles all your paperwork and makes sure nothing slips through the cracks. They might take a few phone calls and schedule your diary appointments or make sure clients are happy during the sales service.
Ideal tasks for an office-based admin assistant include:
- Appraisal and presentation preparation
- Open home planning and coordination
- Preparing listing forms
- Processing sales files
- Talking to your clients
- Solving minor problems
- Marketing planning and implementation
- Non-verbal prospecting, such as letters
Gaining in popularity are sales or buyer’s agents. These assistants help you to meet more buyers, with the goal of bringing more sales into your business. In real estate, these assistants can help with:
- Buyer enquiries by phone and email
- Handling your phone when you’re busy or in appointments
- Buyer appointments and open homes
- Drafting offers
- Final inspections
- Client liaison
A 2IC or business-generation PA can be part of the evolution for larger teams that need help generating additional business, assisting with client appointments and general team leadership. This person needs to be an experienced salesperson who can handle and solve problems before they get to the team leader.
To make having a PA work within your business, make sure the PA has clearly defined roles and knowledge on how you want things done right from the start.
You can get your PA to do a lot of things, but these are my key things your PA should not be doing in your business:
- Speaking to your clients more often than you – you still need to be very visible in the whole process.
- Solving all the problems or going to clients with bad news. A lot of the time, the client wants to hear from the person they elected to use and just wants to know that it will be all right. The client trusts you more than they trust your help, so it’s crucial to be the person who calls or visits when’s there a major problem to say, “This has happened, but it’s going to be OK”.
- Calling themselves a PA. Go with the term ‘partner’ – it creates a lot more credibility and respect when dealing with clients and trying to solve smaller problems.
- Being overworked. If they wanted to be in your shoes, they would. Respect the fact that most PAs are just happy being a part of your team, helping you reach your goals – in the time constraints of a normal, nine-to-five workday. A lot of PAs will help out when needed, but don’t make it a regular event, as it will put pressure on the working relationship.
Having assistance in your business is the best way to take it to new heights and help ease the pressure on you. By getting an assistant, you are doubling your time and making sure you’re working on the most dollar-productive tasks and meeting more decision makers. It’s a business-changing decision for all the right reasons.
While other seven-year-olds were collecting basketball cards, young Trent was collecting cards of the local real estate agents. He got his big break at the age of 17 with one of Western Australia’s up-and-coming sales representatives. Trent is a career personal assistant and has set up offices, led large teams and also been the PA running the whole back end. Now, he uses that expertise providing invaluable business consultation to real estate firms and agents across Australia and New Zealand.