Hiring a virtual assistant – 5 things to consider

For every successful, income-generating activity in the real estate world, there are a hundred mundane, repetitive tasks. If you’re juggling all this work alone you can quickly start to feel like an admin worker. And if you’re spending a disproportionate amount of time on admin tasks, you might be right.

What can you do to shift the focus of your day back to sales? How do you ensure the lion’s share of your energy and time are spent on profitable actions?

A virtual assistants could be the answer. Virtual assistant are self-employed workers who provide administrative, technical or creative support to clients remotely. If you’re thinking of employing one, here are five things to consider:

1. Your virtual assistant will do a better job

The thing about routine, humdrum tasks is they still need to be done well. Take managing your prospective clients. A study by the National Association of Realtors® found that 80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact with a client. This means that after meeting a potential lead, you then have to follow up with a phone call, then a postcard, then your monthly newsletter, maybe free tickets to that Home Exhibition show downtown, and so on. You have to make contact up to 12 times before that potential lead is converted into a sale. That’s a lot of time and effort.

Now imagine you have a VA who makes those calls, carefully words that postcard, sorts out the Exhibition tickets. Who is going to do a better job at nurturing that prospective client? You or your VA? If you answered the VA then you win all prizes. Your core competency is sales, play to your strengths and let somebody else play to theirs.

2. Evolving from salesperson to business person

Employing support staff doesn’t mean dumping a pile of work on somebody and assuming it will get done. It means understanding that your role has now advanced from salesperson to business person. Your responsibilities have changed. To get the best out of your VA you will have to craft a detailed job description, hire the right person, understand your own expectations and turn them into quarterly goals, coach your assistant through the goals so they attain the level of competency you require. The better you train your assistant, the more valuable they will be to you and the more autonomous in their work. You are no longer simply selling but now leading and managing.

3. Using your virtual assistant strategically

If your goal is to reduce your workload and focus on sales, there are three key places to target your VA’s efforts. They are: admin, sales support and marketing.

Admin: your VA can review and proof documents, make appointments, filter your emails and respond to the less sensitive queries.

Sales support: can include making calls and talking to clients, researching data on properties to be added to listings, updating the MLS on your behalf, setting up viewings.

Marketing: managing your social media accounts, building newsletters for your clients and distributing them, updating your website and monitoring your competitors online.

Once you develop a good working relationship with your VA there’s no limit to the ways you can utilise them.

4. Finding a virtual assistant

There are numerous agencies that offer virtual assistants. Agencies like Realtorsassistant.com and Myoutdesk.com actually specialise in real estate. The options range from high end agencies whose assistants are well-versed in real estate, to agencies that outsource the work to foreign countries and in doing so keep the costs competitively low. A side benefit is agencies will handle employee-related taxes, insurance and benefits so you only need to worry about the per-hour fee.

Alternatively, you could bypass the agencies and opt for someone local. Why not employ a local student or the child of a fellow realtor? Or maybe you only want an assistant for bigger projects. You could hire a VA for a week at a time. The key is to know what you want and do your homework before you hire.

5. Increasing your profits

Freeing yourself from mundane tasks has two benefits:

(1) you are no longer paying a talented salesperson (you) top dollar to do admin work with amateur results

(2) you can now focus on your core skills. Selling properties. That is a recipe for increased profitability.

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Hiring a virtual assistant – 5 things to consider