Selling mortgages is not rocket science: Need help? Consider an assistant Dave Hershmansynergy, marketing, priorities, management
One of the most important rules of synergy marketing is to
determine which tools are more effective than others. An assistant
can certainly be considered a tool. You may have the best marketing
plan in the world, but if you are spending your day stuffing
envelopes and do not have the time to speak to customers as a
result, you are unlikely to achieve your goals.
How can you tell if you need an
If too much of your time is spent on tasks not directly related to
the development of new business, you are a candidate for
considering an assistant. For example, if you have been meaning to
keep in touch with previous customers and cannot, this is a major
indication of need. Try making a list of your most important
priorities. How much time are you spending addressing these
priorities as opposed to keeping your head above water?
On the other hand, the need for an assistant may show up in
other areas of your business. Have a marketing or technology
project you have been meaning to undertake for years, but never get
around to it? Perhaps you need to automate your office or build
your database. Or, perhaps you are looking to break into a new
market. If you have a goal to grow your business, but never seem to
find the time to implement the activities to reach this goal, you
may very well need an assistant. You can understand that the most
successful businesses put systems and people in place to assure the
achievement of goals. It is no secret as to why top producers have
assistants - not because their production requires such, but
because they think like successful business people. Many times the
assistant is hired before the production comes.
Does having an assistant make you a
If you work for a large company, your assistant may not even
report directly to you. While this may seem like a drawback, it is
likely that the company has systems in place that will help support
an assistant. On the other hand, if you are a self-employed real
estate or insurance agent, your assistant may be your direct
employee or an independent contractor who works with you. In either
type of situation, it is imperative to develop a recruitment plan
and job description for your assistant before you take the
initiative to hire one. If you don't know what he is going to be
required to accomplish, it will be much harder to find the right
one, and much more difficult to implement your long-term plans.
Do you have to hire someone to have an
The answer is no. You may hire an individual or you might
subcontract with a company to accomplish certain tasks. For
example, instead of stuffing envelopes, you might hire a mail house
to accomplish this task. Instead of delivering flyers to offices,
you might hire a flyer-delivery firm. Or, you might contract with a
company to automate your office and then maintain these systems. As
an example, this company may be responsible for setting up and
maintaining your contact management systems.
The important thing to determine is what tasks and functions can
be best accomplished by someone other than you and the most
economical and effective way to accomplish these activities from
that standpoint, while conserving your most precious resources of
time, energy and money. If hiring and supervising an assistant
utilizes more resources than the additional benefits he is adding,
then the exercise will not help.
How do you determine your goals with regard to your
First, we should return to the aforementioned priority list. Where
are you falling short? What areas can be most effectively improved
upon? For example, if you are worried about paying for an
assistant, there may be low-hanging fruit out there for the taking.
Unfortunately, you are too busy to pick this fruit. Your assistant
should be required to go do some "picking" or should free up your
time to reach these opportunities. If you are successful, then your
income should rise to help you accommodate the extra expense. On
the other hand, don't get the impression that an assistant is
always about more marketing. Sometimes the assistant is there to
help you decrease your stress levels and/or to give you quality
time with your family. The important thing is to determine your
How do I go about hiring an assistant?
First, we need to determine what the assistant is going to be
doing. This should be determined by a close look at your priorities
as well as a look in the mirror. For example, in the accomplishment
of your job, what do you like to do and what don't you like to do?
What are you good at accomplishing and what is not your "cup of
tea"? You should be hiring to complement your skill-set instead of
duplicating it. For example, if "technology" is a foreign word to
you, then your assistant should have a strong technology
background. If you don't like handling customer service calls, then
your assistant should be good over the phone.
It is the determination of this necessary set of skills that
will help you become more adept at hiring the right match. All too
often we hire someone who is familiar but not a great match, even
if they are a great worker.
The mirror exercise will also help you develop the list of
responsibilities for the assistant. When you are recruiting, this
list will not only help you find the right person, it will help
that person determine whether the job is right for them. All too
often we hire people and then they are disappointed with the
position. This puts us into a cycle turnover that will assure us
the position of assistant will not help us reach our long-term
Where do I look for an assistant?
The first place to look is right around you. Your potential
assistant may be or come from the family or sphere of a previous
customer, vendor, referral sources or a co-worker. It may even come
from the competition. The same exercise that is required for
building, marketing your sphere and for a great marketing plan is
required for recruiting an assistant. Look at all your personal
resources. Only if these are completely exhausted should you try
the route of advertising.
What can I delegate to my assistant?
The exercises you went through to determine whether you need an
assistant, and what set of skills to go after, will help you
tremendously with the issue of delegation. Basically, what you may
delegate will vary depending upon your needs as well as the rules
of your industry. Licensing regulations may limit the activities of
Beyond the legalities, it is a good idea to determine what
actions yield the greatest benefits in terms of the achievement of
your long-term goals. In other words, what can the assistant
undertake to free your time for more productive or even pleasurable
activities? As we discussed earlier, the assistant may also help
you within areas in which you are not proficient or just do not
prefer to undertake. Whatever you decide to delegate, you must
spend the time making sure the assistant knows what is expected
(put it in writing) and is trained sufficiently to accomplish the
task. When these two requirements are met, you should completely
delegate and not stand over his shoulders and micro-manage his
every move. Make sure delegation is accomplished completely and
How can I use synergy?
There are many ways of integrating synergy into your plans for an
assistant. The company or person you hire has a sphere of influence
- can you exploit such to increase your own sphere? How can you set
up the compensation schedule to reflect this goal? Perhaps you are
a loan officer agent and you work closely with an accountant. Can
you share mailing lists and the expenses necessary to subcontract
the work? This may not only lower your costs, but also make you
more aware of opportunities to add synergy to your present
In fact, finding an assistant from within your sphere may
actually solidify and strengthen an existing referral relationship.
Synergy rule number one states: "Every action should have another
objective." Opening your eyes wider to opportunities in this manner
will help you assess additional ways in which an assistant can
contribute to your long-term success.
Dave Hershman is a top speaker and leading author in the
mortgage industry with eight books - including two best sellers for
the Mortgage Bankers Association of
America. His mortgage school is the only comprehensive advanced
curriculum in the industry. For a schedule of classes, free
marketing samples, speaking information and articles by Dave, call
(800) 581-5678, e-mail [email protected]