7 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was Hired

You guys already know how much I love this job. Not every day is a walk in the park, but there’s something about the level of responsibility I’ve been given that appeals to me. I get excited when I look ahead and see where our team is going and how we are going to get there.

In the last 11 years I’ve learned a lot about myself so I hope knowing these 7 things will help you along your journey as well!

1. You don’t have to do everything right this moment.

I am hardwired to have a high sense of urgency. If someone hands me some paperwork to process, and I’m already in the middle of another project, the alarms start going off in my head. The panic sets in. I’m like a dog with two bones that can’t decide which one to chew.

Fact is, the new stuff can likely wait. Unless of course it can’t. How will you know the difference? You ask the person who handed it to you, “Is there anything in here that needs to be done right away?” If there is, do that one thing and nothing else. Don’t let new work interrupt existing work. Otherwise you’ll have a bunch of unfinished work.

2. Not everyone is cut out to be a salesperson.

At the end of 2006 the market took a turn for the worse. Around that time I decided to get my real estate license to make myself more marketable as an assistant. My lead agent at the time fell ill with cancer and it was unclear as to whether she would be able to continue to lead the team. With an uncertain future, I felt I had to make sure I could get hired by another agent if it came to that.

Fortunately, our buyer’s agent bought the team from the lead agent and I was able to continue working for the same team. However, times were tough and I wasn’t sure my new lead agent would be able to continue to pay my salary. So I kept the contract to close part of my assistant job and was paid per contract. I saw an opportunity with the number of buyer leads we had plus the number of homes on the market to work as a buyer’s agent for the team and make my money that way.

This is one of those, “What was I thinking?” moments. It did not go well for me. I didn’t realize that I had really gotten comfortable being an introvert. Working as an assistant full time meant I wasn’t in front of people for long periods of time. I communicated by email or phone, and sometimes met the clients to photograph their homes or chat with them for a couple minutes at their closing, but I had never spent HOURS with people before.

For me, those hours spent with people were excruciating. Like nails on a chalkboard. Working as a buyer’s agent was one of the worst decisions I had ever made. I stuck with it for eight long months. And because I wasn’t very good, I didn’t make much money. I depleted my savings account and I dreaded nearly every day.

Although that was a bad decision on my part, I’m kinda glad it happened. Now I will never wonder what it’s like to work as a salesperson. And the whole experience makes me appreciated my job as an assistant that much more.

3. You have to trust your agents.

My lead agent has a saying: “Everything works out in Ron Henderson World.”

Now that’s confidence! In my world, you have to worry about everything and doubt everything. You have to speculate and trivialize.

But time and time again, Ron has been proven right. It doesn’t matter if the house appraisal came in $20,000 under. He either gets the buyer to purchase the house anyway, or he gets the seller to come down in sales price. Worst case is, we put the house back on the market and he finds another buyer. This scenario has happened several times. It’s just not a big deal. Because everything works out in Ron Henderson World.

What a relief it is to know this! I’m the one with all the worries and it’s not even my business. There is no risk to me if things don’t work out. Ron has all the risk. So if he’s not worried then why am I?

I’ve learned to trust Ron. He hasn’t let me down.

4. Your relationship with your team members makes all the difference in how much you love this job.

The simple fact is, we work so closely with our team members that if you don’t have a good relationship with them, you won’t like your job.

I am very much a “put your head down and work” kind of person. I don’t like small talk. But the agents and the other members of the team are my work family. And it’s important that I have a relationship with them. It’s ok to tell funny stories and chit chat sometimes. That’s how we show each other we care.

That’s why I love coming to work every day. And I don’t just show up and work. I show up and I accomplish more. Because these people are my friends, and I want to help them succeed. And they want the same for me. That’s a good feeling!

5. This job requires creativity.

When I started, I thought the job entailed a bunch of paperwork. Maybe filling out some forms. Keeping a schedule.

I was completely unaware at how much creativity would be required of me. Creating flyers, writing copy, taking pictures, designing brochures and business cards. The list goes on and on.

This is the one area for me that I have discovered slows down time. When I’m writing or using Photoshop I find myself getting very involved in those activities. Any pressure or sense of urgency I was feeling completely goes away. I get into a state of flow.

And because the job requires creativity, I’ve gotten very good at Publisher, pretty decent at Photoshop, and I’m now learning Illustrator and InDesign. It’s fun being creative when you have tools you are comfortable with using!

6. This job requires you to be able to figure stuff out.

One of the first things I discovered is that it’s every man for himself. There is training for the agents on scripts and putting together listing presentations and that sort of thing. But there were no step by step classes on how to use Top Producer or how to use DotLoop when it first came out. When I first started as an assistant, if there was a new program I needed to learn, I just on my own.

I quickly learned that being able to figure stuff out was one of my greatest assets. So when eEdge rolled out, I soaked up all the online training I could find. I learned a bit of HTML code on my own. And then other agents wanted me to teach them to do what I was doing.

When my team needs new solutions to new problems,  they look to me to find those solutions. Once I find the solutions, I learn how the solutions work and then I teach them to the team.

As we all know, technology is constantly changing and being able to keep up and figure it out is what makes me invaluable to the team.

7. You will make mistakes that will cost your agent money.

No one likes to make mistakes, but it feels even worse when it costs the team money. Things like a $195 admin fee, a $499 home warranty, a refrigerator that was supposed to stay with the house. All things my agent had to pay for.

It’s going to happen. Hell, it happened to my agent before I even worked for him. Everyone makes mistakes. I am not expected to be perfect. I am expected to make mistakes, learn from them and move on.

What’s something you wish someone had told you when YOU were hired? Tell us in the comments. If you’d like to share your story with me, I’m always available at egilbert AT kw DOT com.


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