I Need an Assistant, But I Am Too Busy to Train Them. How do I start?
If the title of this article resonated with you, then it is likely that you know you need help to move your business to the next level, but you can’t find the time to make it happen.
One of the most basic starting blocks of running a business is determining “who” is going to do “what”. You will always be limited on the number of tasks you can complete and appointments you can attend by yourself and therefore, hiring an Assistant is the inevitable next step to take your business to the next level.
Before we can address the “how” for hiring and training an Assistant, we need to address the “why”. There are two reasons why you want to hire staff:
1. Get more clients to grow your business; and/or
2. Free up your time so that you can have a life
Although it seems basic, understanding these two points will give you clarity as to where to start with your first, or your next staff member. In the immediate future, are you looking to get more business, or are you on the edge of burnout and you need more time? These two points are not mutually exclusive, since freeing up your time can give you more opportunity to focus on growing your business.
Start with “What you want them to do”
You can’t hire someone without knowing what tasks you need them to do. Not having some idea of where you want to start will lead to frustration for everyone and a lot of wasted time and money spinning your tires.
The good news is that this list of tasks does not need to be fancy. Simply open a Note document on your phone and dictate a few points on what you want this person to accomplish on your behalf. What are the lower value tasks that are keeping you busy but are not direct income producing activities?
Once you have at least five points, you are ready to get started. Here are a few ideas:
· Assemble pre-appointment paperwork and process and submit completed paperwork to CIR REALTY
· Coordinate the listing marketing items and input the listing into MLS
· Schedule cuyer client showings
· Arrange buyer condition satisfaction items such as home inspections, condo document review, etc
· Coordinate pre-closing and closing items and client touches to arrange these
· Coordinate database marketing campaigns
Finding the Right Person
The next step in the process is finding the right person. There are two primary ways to find candidates for a position:
1. Reach out to your network on social media and via email
2. Post an ad online on a job site like Indeed.com
This will take a little bit of time to write the job description, but it doesn’t need to get that complex. All you need to say is:
“I am looking for an Administrative Assistant who is detail and customer service oriented.”
The tasks this person will be required to do are:
· Arranging paperwork
· Coordinating appointments and completing tasks for clients
· Implementing communication campaigns
· Other duties required to run the administration of a real estate business.
Strong computer skills are a must.
It should not take you more than 20 minutes to post something on social media and create a job posting.
Depending on the labor market, you could get dozens of resumes and applications. You will be easily able to scroll through and quickly identify those people with the basic skills required and who have presented themselves in an acceptable way.
Once you have 3 to 5 people who you think would be a good fit, shut off the ad, and send a quick email asking them for a 15 minute phone interview. Schedule these phone interviews in between appointments while you are driving in the car. You really don’t need to take notes, since you will get a good feel of who the top two candidates are.
Schedule a 30 to 45 minute coffee meeting with your top two candidates and make your selection.
Creating time for Onboarding and Training
Although creating free time right at this moment seems all but impossible, any time you spend today with your new Assistant will create more freedom in the very near future. Even with a super hectic schedule, there are a few things that you can do to make onboarding and training easier.
The first thing you will want to do is free up as much time as you possibly can. For the first 30 days, say “No” to all non-essential appointments. Also, refer out any new, cold buyer leads that come your way for the next 30 days as well. Buyers take considerably more time to work with than listings. Don’t worry, it’s only for 30 days. These two steps alone will give you back a few essential hours each week to work with your new hire.
Next, make a list based on the “What you want them to do” items above to prioritize your training. Start with one item, then move to the next. Consider having this person shadow you for the first week, then utilize your driving time and time in-between appointments to connect with your Assistant on the phone to talk through essential items and processes.
Training on one or two items per week will get you through all the essential items in no time.
Finally, teach your Assistant to use CIR REALTY and Board resources. Which training videos and courses are available for this person to take? Be sure they are set up with the proper Administrative Access for CIR’s and board systems. CIR Realty has lots of training videos accessible for Assistant to watch and learn the various aspects of the business and how to easily utilize the brokerage services.
A Summary List for Onboarding
Here is a list of things you can do to get your Assistant efficiently onboarded while still operating a busy real estate business.
1. Contact CIR REALTY and your real estate Board to ensure your Administrator is set up with the proper access to the systems they need.
2. Make sure they have a laptop to be able to take notes on the fly. This could be their own, or one that you have purchased for them. It does not need to be fancy, but should have Microsoft Suite (Excel, Word and PowerPoint) installed.
3. Renegotiate and cancel all non-essential appointments in the next 30 days.
4. For the next 30 days, refer out any new buyer clients to another Realtor. This will cost you a little bit of money in the short term, but you will have a huge gain in the long term.
5. Based on the “What you want them to do” list above, select one item to begin training on first.
6. Have the Assistant drive with you and shadow you everywhere for the first week. During this time, you will be talking through the various steps in the buying and selling process and what tasks they will be taking on. They could spend the first half of the day with you, then the second half working on their own.
7. For any appointments they cannot come on, or later in the day, have them watch the training videos from CIR REALTY on the paperwork process, brokerage services and contracts. Also, have them read the notes on the Selling and Buying process in the Bachelor and Masters Program. Finally, have them watch the training videos available through the local real estate Board on inputting listings and utilizing your MLS system, lock box system and showing services.
8. Notify your active clients to let them know that you have a new Administrative Assistant working with you and that they might hear from that person throughout the transaction as they get onboarded and integrated into your business.
9. Inform all new clients about your Assistant so they will be comfortable receiving communication from them.
10. Once the shadowing phase is complete, and assuming you still do not have time for daily training meetings (about an hour ideally), then schedule a morning and early afternoon call with the Assistant to focus on next action items and to keep moving their learning and the process moving forward. Calls can be done from your car while driving and broken up into shorter segments.
11. Begin having this person complete tasks on your behalf, starting with communicating with clients to assist with transaction related items.
12. Have your Assistant document the processes they are following.
13. Have your Assistant create email/letter templates for consistency and checklists to ensure that important steps are not missed through transactions or important tasks.
The Bottom Line…
The more time that you invest into this person, the more time you will free up for yourself in the future. Working with staff is the only proven way to create freedom in your business and allow you to increase not only your income, but also increase the amount of free time you have. The better you get at delegating lower value per hour tasks, the more you will see your business and life improve dramatically.