Back in 1901, Ransom E. Olds created the assembly line. Soon after that, Henry Ford and his employees took the concept to the next level by creating the moving assembly line with the use of conveyor belts and by pushing for the standardization of parts.
Since I hail from Michigan, I figured I would apply these same concepts to selling houses. Instead of doing all of the work myself, from meeting with buyers and sellers to actually filling out all of the paperwork required for closing, I would create a system in which I did what I was good at (selling houses), and outsource the rest of the work to people who could do it better, faster and for less money than I could do it myself.
My decision to apply the assembly line concept to the process of selling houses resulted in phenomenal success. I began selling 10 times as many homes annually as I was previously selling by doing everything myself, and the amount I paid assistants to take on the additional work was almost negligible. I made far more in increased commissions than I needed to pay my capable assistants.
In addition, I was now much happier. I was doing what I loved to do, and someone else was taking care of everything I had hated about my job. Now, as soon as I sell a house, I simply call back to the office, and someone starts preparing the paperwork. I have applied this concept time after time to expand my business by adding new divisions. I highly recommend this approach to anyone seeking success when selling just about anything.
Assembly line selling is a systems-based approach. You create a system that covers every step in the process, break the system into a collection of procedures, break the procedures into task, break the tasks into steps, hire personnel, and then start delegating procedures.
The first step is to identify procedures, such as:
- Sending out a marketing packet
- Sending out a pre-listing packet
- Color-coding files
- Following up with clients
- Processing transactions
- Developing a sales presentation to deliver to sellers
- Developing a sales presentation to deliver to buyers
- Assembling a pre-closing packet
Your goal is to make each procedure as easy to accomplish as possible, so you do not have to answer questions or show a new hire what to do. You simply show the person where the procedures manuals and any required tools and supplies are located. The new employee or team member can then follow the required steps.
Breaking procedures into tasks
Once you have a set of procedures, break each procedure into a series of tasks. For example, sending out a marketing packet to a prospective client may include:
- Writing a personalized letter to the client
- Gathering the latest marketing materials
- Dropping the packet off at the prospective client’s home
- Breaking tasks into steps
Every tasks consists of a series of steps, so break each task into steps. You may even want to illustrate the steps. For example, you may include in your training manual one or two sample letters to clients, so a new hire has a model letter for guidance.
After you have a system in place, you can begin to hire assistants to perform the procedures that you haven’t the time, expertise, or desire to perform yourself. You may even consider grouping the procedures based on job title.
Keep in mind that assistants can be visual or virtual. A visual assistant is one who is physically present-an in-house staff member. A virtual assistant is a freelancer-a self-employed business owner who conducts business primarily over the Internet. You can use both types of assistants to increase your office productivity.
Delegating the work
Once your procedures are in place and you have one or more assistants, you can start focusing on what you do best and delegating the rest. Delegating becomes a matter of simply finding something that needs to be done and handing it off to the person most qualified to accomplish the task.
Now, you have no excuse for not having enough time to “get around to it.” Do it, delegate it, or ditch it.