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Hiring an assistant? These are the rules of engagement

By Kyle Robbins
13 February 2023 | 11 minute read
ryan thompson real estate brilliance reb ehuwgp

Expanding your real estate business isn’t always easy, but in today’s fiercely competitive market, you have to expand to prosper.

An agent came to me recently who had hired an assistant but was having some challenges.

Hiring an assistant is a luxury that can cost north of $100,000, which is why only a small percentage of agents take this step. If you do have a business that can afford an assistant, challenges can often arise from managing them. 

Many agents struggle to manage themselves, let alone another person. The reality is, when agents are busy prospecting, listing, and selling, they often don't have time to recruit, train, and manage an assistant too.

The agent that came to me had worked hard to build the income and momentum to be able to hire an assistant and had previously employed them part-time to build a task list and ensure they were the right fit. As their coach, I provided them with a framework and structure, as well as a job description to give them an idea of what tasks to delegate and what to keep for themselves.

So where was the frustration coming from? The main point of contention was that the assistant took all day to complete a task that would usually take the agent an hour or so. Not only did the task take an unexpectedly long time to complete, but the assistant also made mistakes along the way. This had them questioning whether they’d made the right decision in hiring an assistant and whether they should continue with the experiment.

Having seen this exact scenario play out on many occasions, I reassured the agent that it’s important to remember the reasons why they decided to hire an assistant in the first place. I asked if they remembered their end goal, and they said I’d previously told them to “fall in love with the process.” I also explained that focusing on the end goal and the process are not mutually exclusive.

We discussed that the reason for hiring an assistant was because they were feeling tired after 10 years in the business, and now with a family, they wanted to earn a higher income while also having more time with the kids. Additionally, they wanted to build a legacy for their family and ensure longevity in the business. They also felt they were getting bogged down in admin, which was taking away from the tasks that actually bring in money. 

So if you’re growing your real estate business and hiring an assistant, what are the rules of engagement?

  1. Create the system together - If you want your assistant to do something exactly how you do it, you have to show them exactly how you want it done. The easiest way to give them exact steps is by writing a list, creating a video, or conducting a tutorial. The goal is to train them so well, that they can then train someone else.
  2. Tolerance and patience – Creating systems with your assistant and handing it over to them is one thing, but it’s important to remember that this is the first time they’re doing many of these tasks and activities, and you’ve been doing them on autopilot for years. Be patient and tolerant, things take time to learn.
  3. Do the task with them - Once you’ve created the system, do the task or activity with them to make sure they do it the way you want it done and explain potential pitfalls you’ve encountered along the way.
  4. Let them do the task on their own - After you’ve shown them, let them do it themselves. Be there to support them, then check their work and talk about it.
  5. Set expectations - Agree on how long it should take them to complete a task and what can be measured and managed. If you’ve agreed on how long it should take, you can keep them accountable using that variable.
  6. Check-in - After a week, check the quality of their work and make sure you correct mistakes by showing and telling. Assure them they’re doing a great job and that you understand this is brand new. Remember, we all have to start somewhere.
  7. Appreciate them - When they do the job well, make sure you let them know their work is appreciated. This helps build confidence when completing the next task.

One of the most important things to remember is that the better you train your assistant, the fewer hassles you’ll have when you’re focusing on building your business and living your dream life.

The best advice I can give you is to focus on your desired goal or outcome and fall in love with creating the systems and processes around it. When you’re frustrated, remember the reasons you created the goal in the first place and focus on those to give you the tolerance, motivation, and persistence to see it through.

Ryan Thompson is the founder and CEO of Real Estate Brilliance.

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