Team members are always asking you, “What should I do?” They only take a couple of steps towards solving a problem and don’t confirm an issue is resolved. You find that you are the bottleneck for making decisions to take care of things that are really administrative tasks in the process. Does this sound familiar?
These are all signs that you haven’t empowered your team yet. I see this happen all the time on real estate teams.
It’s easy as business owners to think that we have shared our vision for what we want to achieve and how we want to get there. The truth is that what we think may not be what we said, which is often not what people understood.
It is traditional for administrative professionals to have certain characteristics in common: they are compliant, steady, stable, and correct. These strengths are the perfect balance for hard-driving leaders who like to go fast and leave the details to others. At the same time, they are not necessarily the traits of someone who is decisive and action-oriented.
So how does a business owner and/or lead agent get their administrative team members to take action without asking for permission and direction each time? You must EMPOWER your real estate team.
To empower is to give power to someone. It is giving someone permission to take action. As the owner of the business, you may not realize how much power you have to exercise; it’s your business! Others do not have this same power by assumption; it must be granted.
Below you will find 3 specific ways to empower your real estate team members.
Empowerment allows your business and your team to provide continuity in the service standards you set with your clients. Once the listing agreement is signed, it is your responsibility to set the seller’s expectations for what will follow.
Explain to the seller who, on your team, is their point of contact. You would say, “Your point of contact is now Betty Lou Best. Betty Lou is available Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 with an hour for lunch. Are you wondering why the contact person is Betty Lou Best? It’s because MY #1 job is to find a buyer for your home … that is why you hired me isn’t it? And because we want you to feel waited on, rather than having to wait for me, Just call Betty Lou. She’s available to you Monday through Friday 8 to 5 with an hour for lunch.”
Let the seller know as well when they will be hearing directly from you. “I will call you every week. I make those calls on (give a day) between the hours of …(give a two-hour block of time). So if you have questions, or know of somebody who could benefit from the help of our professional real estate team, have that information ready, too. Oh, and by the way, who else do you know that might benefit from the service provided by a professional real estate team like ours?”
When you get back to the office, give everything to Betty Lou Best aka listing manager. Betty Lou’s first job is to call Mr. and Mrs. Seller and say, “Congratulations and thank you for the opportunity to work for you.” Next Betty Lou restates the process as outlined by the agent. “As mentioned by (their agent), I am your day-in and day-out point of contact. I am available Monday through Friday 8 to 5 with an hour for lunch. If you have any questions, pick up the phone and call me immediately I’m happy to help.” “As the agent said, he or she will be calling you every single week between the hours … (previous agreed upon time-frame).”
Then give the sellers an outline of what will happen in the next 3 to 5 days remembering to leave it a little bit vague so that just in case you don’t nail it nobody becomes upset. Then ask, “oh by the way, who else do you know that could benefit from the service provided by a professional real estate team like ours?”
Setting expectations about communication and service upfront with your clients allows your team members to step into the relationship naturally and seamlessly.
Empower your team members by according them the authority to take action as an Ambassador of your brand. Tell your admin, “I want you to take care of our clients. You have my permission to solve problems for our clients. Use ‘5 Star Customer Service’ as your guide for reviewing options for solutions. You may spend up to $200 to fix a problem if that provides the best service and resolves the issue. Ask good questions, be creative, take action to get a great result. Report back to me what happened and how you handled it so we can learn together to always provide ‘5 Star Service’ for our clients and our team.”
Now, your Admin can take the ball and run with it. They are empowered to be your Ambassador and think outside the box. Better yet, your admin can “zig and zag” through the sea of complexity that exists in the variety of real estate transactions in your business.
Empowered team members will take action that might not be exactly how you would do it. Sometimes they will pleasantly surprise you by solving a problem in a way you hadn’t even anticipated. Other times you may feel frustrated or disappointed by how they chose to resolve an issue.
What is most important is to see these moments as opportunities to learn together. These moments will show you what expectations you could be communicating more clearly to your team members and they, in turn, will learn that the world won’t end if they don’t do things exactly as you would. This will help them gain confidence in their ability to take decisive action and will encourage them to keep trying to get things right for you!
You have a real estate team to help you execute your exciting vision for the business and to provide exceptional customer service to your clients throughout the transaction. When you empower your team members to take action, you allow them to own their roles and act as confident ambassadors of your brand. When that happens, everyone wins!