Your licensed assistant is potentially one of the most powerful leveraging tools you will ever encounter as a team leader, and equally one of the least common. Their title is licensed assistant or licensed client care, but their role can change the way teams do business. Licensed assistants could be the difference between a job done and a client for life.
There are lots of questions surrounding the role and some confusion as to how they are effectively leveraged.
Before creating a role of licensed assistant for your team, there are a few key things to consider. The first is a personality profile; DISC is your ultimate guide in hiring. The DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston centres on four different personality traits, which are dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness.
Generalizing, team leaders are DC personalities – calculating and strong-willed. Agents can benefit from most combinations of the letters. For example, DIs are the agents who are nailing the negotiations, they’re talkative and domineering. The agents with an uncanny knack for finding the right house early in the game are SC. They are accommodating and analytical.
When you look for the licensed assistant though, you want SI. They are the people who get Christmas cards with a picture of the family from a client they met with eight years ago. And they love it, genuinely. They are lively, talkative and social while being gentle, accommodating and soft-hearted. You know an SI and you call them, “The nicest person you’ve ever met.” Getting that personality type is more important than their past experience. Everyone can point to a time when they called a customer care line and the person on the line did not care about them as a customer. They were not an SI.
Another important thing to consider is the division of tasks in the team. Yes, technically a licensed assistant is an assistant, but do you want them to also carry the role of administrative assistant, reordering the paper and answering general emails? Maybe that is what your team needs and that is the best division of work, but it’s important to know the role the licensed assistant will play. Leveraging the role can easily get to the point where they aren’t answering emails anymore, because they’re always on the road.
On the other hand, looking at the role as “licensed” means they are taking on some of the tasks that are generally handled by agents. This is a good thing. Look at it this way: agents are there for things that make money, licensed assistants are there for everything else. Agent: Three hours at a home inspection means three hours not making money. Licensed assistant: Three hours at a home inspection means three hours of rapport building. If that sounds like a nightmare, you aren’t an SI and therefore not meant to be a licensed assistant. Leverage.
Crucial to the success of the role of a licensed assistant is that it is not a stepping stone. You don’t take on someone new who wants to be a top-selling agent and tell them if they tick all of the boxes they will get out of the role to be able to sell. No. Licensed assistants aren’t punished agents. Licensed assistants are people who know their strengths and the value they present to the team and the client by simply being who they are. Though not something you might consider, your licensed assistant could come to you one day and ask for a budget for Tupperware parties, because years later, they are still getting invited. Those people are still one of the team’s clients. You have to pay your licensed assistant fairly. Their worth to the team will be evident and it should be accurately reflected by a dollar value.
A common misconception is that incorporating the licensed assistant when an agent has already made contact is nearly impossible or will be too awkward. This is not true. You just need to be upfront about it. There are plenty of roles across numerous professions that have people wearing different hats.
An easy example is a nurse and a surgeon. Neither is better than the other, they just have different roles in accomplishing the same task – making you well. The surgeon isn’t there to change your dressings after surgery, but she didn’t not do her job. The nurse didn’t transplant a valve in your heart, but he didn’t not do his job. It’s the same balance in real estate. Your agent lives and breathes the market; they will buy or sell the house, because that is their focus. Your licensed assistant will sit down with the client for coffee and talk with them about how their search is going, or about lowering the price on the house if it isn’t selling. Both of the roles have held up their side to see a successful result – a house was bought or sold and the client is happy.
Licensed assistants are a powerful leveraging tool and could be what your team needs to take the business to the next step. Be aware of the role you expect the licensed assistant to hold, the value you are ready to place on them and an understanding that they are on the same level as agents, just in a different capacity.
My firm created a program specializing in the training and incorporating of unlicensed and licensed assistants to growing successful teams, because it takes a team to reach the fullest potential. All teams require a unique strategy. For some an unlicensed assistant is the best first hire, but not for everyone.