Is it time to hire an assistant for your real estate business?

The real estate business never stops, and now that listings can be seen online 24/7, many brokers like to say they are also available 24/7. As technology allows customers access to more information though syndication sites like Zillow and social media platforms, brokers find that their time working these channels cuts into time working with clients. Perhaps that’s why more than 80 percent of agents report using an assistant, many after only working 1-3 years in the real estate industry.  

Hiring an assistant can help to ease some of the day-to-day burdens you face, allowing you to work more efficiently and be more accessible to your clients. An assistant who is well trained can help you maintain your schedule, as well as assist with a number of other tasks:  

  • Marketing your services 
  • Marketing your listings 
  • Helping to build your brand  
  • Lead generation  
  • Managing your social media 
  • Utilizing technology to support your success 

In other words, they can quickly become an invaluable asset to your team, helping your business to grow and allowing you to reach your goals.  

Among those agents who don’t have an assistant, Chicago Agent Magazine reports that the top four reasons for not hiring an agent yet are:  

  1. I have no time to train or manage them 
  1. Too expensive (perception) 
  1. I don’t know where to find one 
  1. I’m not sure what I need them to do  

While the benefits of hiring an assistant are clear, it can still be difficult for many agents to make the jump from working alone to hiring an assistant to help lighten their load. And it’s even more difficult to find an assistant who already has training and experience in the real estate industry. Once you’ve hired an assistant, it’s crucial that you train him or her properly so that they can become an integral member of your team. Unfortunately, many agents report not having this necessary time to spend with their assistants — or they simply don’t know where to start in the training process.  

Which type of real estate assistant is right for you?  

There are typically three types of real estate assistants: licensed, unlicensed, and virtual. The type of assistant you will want to hire largely depends on your needs, what tasks you want completed, and what the license law requires in your particular state. Simply put, if you want your assistant to be able to do many of the listing and/or selling activities that you currently do, you will need to hire a licensed assistant.  

If you plan to have your assistant simply helping with administrative tasks and duties, such as maintaining your schedule, setting appointments, sending out prepared, placing ads, updating and maintaining your databases, and other general tasks, you probably don’t need a licensed assistant. Keep in mind that many states also allow unlicensed assistants to add or remove information from the MLS, access property lockboxes, place signs on properties, and deliver documents pertaining to listings.  

Virtual assistants are growing in popularity in many industries, including real estate. Virtual assistants are typically based out of their home or remote office and use technology to carry out many of the same tasks your in-person assistant would do. There are also benefits to hiring a virtual assistant, which includes more hiring options and reduced overhead costs.  If you’re wondering what kinds of things an assistant can take off your plate immediately, we can help with that.

Want to learn more?  

Once you’ve hired an assistant, the next step is proper onboarding and training. While an assistant’s tasks and daily workload are often determined by the needs of the employer and can vary widely, there are steps and systems that you can put into place to help your assistant succeed and thrive as part of your team.  

To learn more about developing your own onboarding and training program, sign up for the courses in our Assistants and Team Building tracks. If you’re looking for common leadership pitfalls to avoid, see our post on why real estate teams often fail.

AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. 

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For 18 years, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning. 

Oh No! I Got a Bad Yelp Review!

In today’s technology-driven world, broker reviews are easy to find. And although most brokers work hard to perform well for their clients, even the best brokers get a bad review once in a while. However, knowing how and when to respond can mitigate negative reviews and could even turn them into a positive for brokers. Whether good or bad, word of mouth recommendations carry a certain level of authority among consumers, with nearly 90 percent of consumers saying they trust online reviews as much as word of mouth recommendations.  If you want to know how to get more online reviews, we’ve got you covered.

While 17 percent of consumers say they would write a review after a positive experience with a brand, many reported that they would be more likely to write a review after a bad experience. Once something is posted online, it’s there forever; as a result, many agents worry that a bad review would be detrimental to their business. That’s one of the reasons why building a strong collection of online reviews is a smart way to set yourself up for long term success and part of this strategy is managing negative reviews by addressing them quickly.  

Responding to negative online reviews 

If you don’t regularly monitor and take care of your online reviews, you are risking sending a potential client straight to one of your competitors. But it’s not just the review itself that’s important — how you respond to that review is often just as important, if not more, than the review you received.  

And keep in mind that improperly responding to a negative review can often be just as detrimental as not responding at all. And just like the review, your response will live online for all to see — anyone who searches for you will likely come across your response, so always remember that there’s a huge audience for whatever you post.  

When it comes to responding to negative online reviews, a good rule of thumb is this: simply handle your response the same way you would in person. Even if the customer is in the wrong, begin your response with a sincere apology.  

Here are some other tips for responding to negative online reviews:  

  • Don’t let your ego or pride get in the way. 
  • Always keep your response professional — don’t be defensive and let your feelings take over or get the best of you.  
  • Be empathetic and try to imagine things from your client’s point of view. It can help to think of the client as a friend or relative — respond to the review as if you were talking to someone you care about.  
  • Do your best to try to resolve any issues and help the client — offer them an easy way to contact you directly to resolve any outstanding issues and to get the problem taken care of.  

Lastly, remember that people are looking at how you respond, so it’s always in your best interest to show that you are trying to be as understanding and helpful as possible.  

Using Yelp to Grow Your Real Estate Business 

For real estate agents, having a Yelp profile can give you the edge to help you get ahead of your competition. You may already have a strong online presence marketing your real estate business on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, but if you’re not actively promoting your business on Yelp, you may be missing out on a valuable source of referrals.  Starting a newsletter or blog is another great way to build your referral network.

Many agents are getting referrals and growing their business through Yelp. To learn more about how Yelp can work for real estate agents, how to set up your Yelp profile, how to regularly get reviews, and how to respond to negative reviews, sign up for our course Yelp for your Real Estate Business today.  

AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. 

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For 18 years, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.