In commercial real estate brokerage the use of sales ‘assistants’ really works however they are a cost the business process and that cost needs to be recovered from the incoming commissions. In effect assistants are a support service so the broker and agent can get out into the market and connect with the right people to find and build the business. That observation may be contrary to the reality of some situations where poorly performing agents use the assistant as a ‘dumping ground’.
So let’s assume that you can afford a ‘sales assistant’ and that you want to set some guidelines to the duties that they should control. Top brokers and agents use assistants most of the time to help with all types of business activity; that being said there are still rules to the process.
The basic rule to employing a person in this role is that they have the personal skill and intelligence to do the job well. Communication, organisation, and documentary skills are critical to making things work well.
Here is a list of typical tasks that you would direct to your new ‘sales assistant’:
- Processing marketing
- Generation of listing paperwork
- Updating listing documentation
- Website property listing
- Blog entries and updates
- Social media updates
- Press releases and media updates
- Presentation packet compilation
- Comparable listing reports for the region
- Outbound letters and correspondence
- Client weekly report compilation
- Database updates
- Taking inbound enquiries when the agent is absent
- Email vetting
- Telephone answering
- Diary organisation
The skill mix in this list is significant. Many potential ‘assistants’ will not have the full skill set to make things work well. They should be ‘self-starters’ that do not rely on prompting to get the job done well. Intelligence and business skills are all part of the role.
It can also be argued that a person in this role should be paid a good salary for the quality of work that they bring to the broker. Someone has said a long time ago that if you ‘pay peanuts’ you get ‘monkeys’. I guess the observation rings true. Top professional support cost money and that will require balance against commissions incoming.
Presuming that you find the right person for the role, create an induction process covering critical issues; the new person can be taken through the critical functions of the business in preparation for adding value to the role and actions of the broker or agent that they serve.