Every real estate executive assistant I know is responsible for creating an operations manual.
Intellectually, I know this document is important because it’s a record of how every system in the business works. But for many years I resisted it because it was too overwhelming. Technology changes so quickly that as soon I as I would document how to enter a contact into our CRM, something on the input screen would change, and I would have to update the operations manual. Then I would procrastinate it to the point where I essentially just needed to create an all-new operation manual. (Or so it felt like that anyway!)
And then I heard about the idea of creating a playbook. Which I love!
It’s so funny how the words we use can deter or inspire us. To me, “operations manual” is boring and tedious and no one wants to open it. But a playbook is exciting! It’s the process by which we succeed.
A while back I had our team invest in G Suite. It’s all of Google’s apps, but it’s practically unlimited and I have total control over adding and deleting team members.
Because of this, I created an online training and resource library stored in Drive.
I created a folder and named it “.RHA Resource and Training Library”. I put the period at the beginning so it would rise to the top of all the other folders in my Drive.
Then I created sub-folders with the following categories. I’d like to thank Linzee Ciprani for this because I mostly followed her example. Using the numbers in front of each sub-folder title is important because it allows you to arrange your folders as you desire rather than letting Drive sort them alphabetically.
- 01 Company Organization and Position Responsibilities
- 02 Professional Standards
- 03 Lead Management
- 04 Sales
- 05 Operations
- 06 Meetings and Events
- 07 Reports
- 08 Systems
- 09 Leadership
Now, whenever we have a system for something, we create a playbook.
One of the most recent playbooks we created was for our Thanksgiving pie event. This was the first time we held this event, so I wanted to document everything we did. Once I had that all down, my mega and I met to discuss what went well and what we would change. At that point, we looked at the calendar for next year and decided when each step needed to take place. So everything is all ready to go in advance for next year.
So what does that playbook look like?
In reality, it’s a folder that holds everything I’ll need to re-create the event. My folder contains:
- the images I used on Facebook and in the email invite
- the sign-up form I sent to people to reserve a pie
- a Google Doc with step-by-step instructions about what is needed (appropriately named “Pie Playbook”)
What I love about this, is the multi-media aspect of it. In any given folder, I can store images and documents, but I can also store raw video. Due to the unlimited storage, I can record a video of anything and store the raw mp4 file directly into the folder. When someone wants to view the video, it will play right from Drive. I don’t have to upload the video to YouTube although that’s still an option if I want to link to the video inside a Google Doc.
For screen capture with a voice-over, I purchased Movavi Video Suite. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not too bad. It’s quite useful if you plan to make videos demonstrating how to use particular software or websites.
When creating a playbook, your goal is to get everything out of your head and into the playbook. You want to make it so that someone else who has never worked on your team or even in real estate can take your playbook and execute the system or standard or script.
Each playbook should include three sections:
- Procedures – How to. Use text, screen-shots, or video, or a combination of all three!
- References – Include links or contact information to the resources that may be needed.
- Templates – Such as phone scripts, email templates, text message templates, forms, contracts, etc.
Some areas where you may want to create a playbook for:
- CRM standards**
- standards for agents
- standards for admin
- new agent orientation
- new admin orientation
- business tracking
- travel preferences
- open houses
- online lead follow-up
- 36 to Convert
- creating a business plan
- creating an organization chart
- team communication
- client communication
- listing system
- contract to close system
- weekly team meetings
- daily team huddle
*I recommend including in this category the scripts your agents use with leads, clients, sphere of influence, and past clients, as well as documenting if/then scenarios. For instance, if a seller client says he wants to be home while the buyer conducts inspections, then what is the exact script the admin can use with the seller client in that particular situation?
**I don’t recommend documenting how to use your CRM. The CRM you use likely has how-to training videos that you can link to in a Google Doc. What you really want to document is your standard for the variables within the system. So, for instance, what tags or contact types are you using within the CRM and what do you use them for? Something we have documented is a tag we use called “Mailing List”. It’s funny how our agents like to use this tag because they think a new lead needs to be on the mailing list, but there’s no address for the lead! Hence, it’s important to document what each tag means and when to use them (not necessarily how to assign the tag to the contact).
Your playbooks have extraordinary value. They help you do thing the same every time. Making decisions about how to handle things takes a lot of energy. So once you’ve decided something, it’s much easier to document those decisions so you don’t have spend time on them again. If your goal is run a business that operates like a well-oiled machine (or you want someone new to the business to look like they know what they’re doing!) then it’s best practice to document everything. Then, you can flip a switch, put the plan into place, and execute at a high level.