Often a real estate agent who is doing well for themselves will hire an executive assistant to do all the things the agent doesn’t want to do: paperwork, monitoring deadlines and details, putting up and taking down signs and lockboxes, etc.
I think it’s a mistake if the agent conveys that thought to their assistant. I think it feels like passing on negativity. Like, “Here, you do this grunt work I hate doing.”
Of course, it isn’t said in those specific words, but it is certainly implied.
And I know admin are picking up on this attitude because in describing what they do, I’ve heard them say, “I do all things my agent doesn’t like doing.”
I think that’s a huge mistake in how an executive assistant sees themselves, and I think it’s a huge mistake for real estate agents to go on letting their assistant think that.
The work that a real estate executive assistant does actually helps grow the business. A truly talented executive assistant doesn’t just process paperwork.
If an agent’s job is to lead generate, it’s an assistant’s job to idea generate. Lead generation is the what. Idea generation is the how. These things go hand in hand.
You see, the how is systems.
Agents typically operate by doing whatever comes naturally to them. They don’t really have a system they use repeatedly. Quite typically, they are reactive rather than proactive. And that gets them enough business that need an executive assistant.
So when the executive assistant comes on board, the agent shows them everything they’ve been doing and expects their assistant to just take over those things they don’t like doing.
What I want to convey here is that the executive assistant’s job is so much more than that.
Yes, the assistant will do paperwork. And yes, the assistant will build out systems that will allow the agent to lead generation with intention. And yes, the assistant will implement marketing and follow-up plans that attract business.
But there’s one thing an executive assistant does that’s probably not written into any job description.
I call it mental leverage.
You see, agents have really good intentions. They intend to lead generate for three hours every weekday morning. They intend to call their sphere regularly. They intend to interact on social media. They intend to follow up with leads generated by your marketing efforts.
And yes, with all these good intentions, they don’t always hit the mark. They forget. They get distracted. They decide that something else is more important in the moment rather than be uncomfortable when following through with their good intentions.
As an executive assistant, you can’t let them forget. You have to remind them. You have to be their back-up brain.
I think this is one of the most valuable things you have to offer your agent. It’s not taking the paperwork off their hands; it’s providing accountability.
And quite frankly, it’s self-preservation. If your agent doesn’t lead generate, there’s not going to be enough business coming in, and you’re going to be out of a job.
When I’m holding my agents accountable, it usually starts when I see them doing something that goes against what they said they wanted. In those instances, I ask, “I thought you said you wanted x, but I see you doing y. So you don’t want to do x anymore?”
We decided that as a team, we were all going to adhere to “study hall.” This is a time block in the morning where we all do our most important work. For the agents it’s lead generation. For the admin staff, it’s typically a project that gets done faster when we don’t have interruptions. I’ve used study hall time to switch CRM’s, write systems playbooks, and write an employee handbook. These things are just easier to do when I have a large chunk of time to focus without interruptions.
The rule of our study hall is that you can ask another team member for something in Slack with the knowledge that they may not answer. But you’re not allowed to interrupt another team member otherwise.
The agents have a really hard time with this. Our study hall starts at 9:00 AM, but I often hear the agents engaged in conversation. So I have to remind them we’re in study hall.
To their credit, they are always appreciative, and never complain that they don’t like study hall. They just forget or they get distracted. So I keep them on track.
This is the sort of mental leverage I’m talking about. I got their backs. I’m not going to let them forget.
Holding your agent accountable simply means that you remind them about what they want. I know it can be difficult to speak up and call someone out on their behavior, but that’s exactly what I want you to do. And even if your agent doesn’t admit it, that’s exactly what they want you do to too.