If there’s one thing that has served me well, it’s being able to anticipate the needs of my lead agent.
This one is a tricky skill to learn. First, it requires that your lead agent be somewhat predictable. And second, it requires you to have the confidence to take action without being asked.
As an example, my lead agent wrote a book that we are mailing to people.
First, I sent out an email to our database inviting them to fill out an online form to receive the book.
Second, I asked my lead agent, Ron, to select certain past clients to mail the book to.
Third, Ron decided to send the book to certain prospects whose business he was trying to secure.
I had created letters to put in the envelope with the book for the first two groups of people. And then when Ron started giving me prospects (people he had not met) he didn’t give me an indication that the names he was giving me were not past clients. He was just sending me people one or two at a time.
That’s when I was able to anticipate writing a different letter for the third group of people. He didn’t have to ask. I figured it out.
No matter what the name of the person, I looked them up in our database and figured out if they were a have met or a have not met. And this allowed me to determine what type of letter they needed.
So when Ron emails me and says, “I’m not sure what the letter says that you’re mailing with the book, but some of the ones I gave you yesterday were not past clients that I’ve worked with.”
I was able to respond with, “Yes, I created a new letter for ‘have not met.’ I got your back.”
I had to smile when he wrote back, “Yes you do. You’re always one step ahead of me.”
How to Stay One Step Ahead
I’m able to stay one step ahead because I’m constantly thinking about what comes next.
If we implement this plan, what comes next?
If we hire this person, what comes next?
It’s not necessarily being able to read your agent’s mind. (Although if you could, would you really want to? Ron often forgets people’s names and when we’re in a conversation I’ll often recall the name for him. It’s actually kinda creepy sometimes.)
It’s being able to think ahead about all the possibilities.
Then you must act on the next one. Bring it into being without hesitation.
Is your lead agent losing listing appointments to other agents? What does that mean and how can you solve the problem? Create the solution before your agent asks for it.
Are you keeping track of inventory? signs, lockboxes, listing materials, marketing materials? Order them before your agent tells you to.
Is your storage cabinet or closet a train wreck? Clean it up while she’s out on appointment.
Can you overhear your agent on the phone with a prospective seller and learn that he’s setting an appointment with them for tomorrow at noon? Start putting together everything he’ll need for the appointment and hand it to him when he comes to your desk to ask you to do it.
See what I mean? You just have to watch and listen and then take action.
Empathy and Anticipation
I particularly like this story from Stephen Covey:
I was once an administrative assistant to a very controlling and micromanaging president. One of his subordinates was an excellent example of empathy and anticipation. Every time he was asked a question or given an assignment he asked himself, “What is it that the boss is really trying to accomplish and why does he want this information?” He was so empathic that he delivered not only the request, but additional recommendations and analyses of the information. It was so well thought-out that the president immediately adopted it. The president’s confidence in him caused this person’s influence to grow to the point that his endorsement on projects became mandatory.
To empathize means to put yourself in your lead agent’s shoes and decide what to do based on his past needs. If you know he tends to fly off the handle whenever a deal falls through, you can now anticipate that and break the news to him when he’s in a good mood. (Or at least give him some good news first, and then break the bad news to him.)
I personally believe that it is this ability to anticipate which gives me my value to Ron. There are many projects that we have collaborated over where Ron will reiterate how my insight helps him get a clear picture of what he wants to accomplish. Because oftentimes he has a vision, and he doesn’t see how to get there. It’s when he asks for my input that I am able to anticipate where he wants to go with it (by asking a ton of questions!) and then map out a plan for arriving there.
Ron sees Disney World. I see flight numbers, rental car agreements, and hotel arrangements. Ron sees that I know how to get him to Disney World.
This ability to know what needs to be done combined with the assertiveness to get it done will take you very far in your career as a real estate assistant. And indeed, lead agents find this ability to be quite valuable.
What can I help you with? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org