It’s no secret that prior to joining Inman News, my company assisted agents and brokers throughout the country; virtually. It was challenging. The lifestyle of today’s agent is mobile, technology-centric, and moving faster than ever. Many of you work from home, your car, or Starbucks, and are on demand by tech-savvy buyers and sellers. From maintaining websites, blogs, creating video, email marketing, listings and closings, and social media, at some point the crucial decision needs to be made. Where do add in the leverage you need to get it all done?
One option: Virtual assistants for real estate.
Virtual assistants have exploded in popularity. From VA entrepreneurs to off-shore VAs and VA staffing companies, there are many choices to fit to your business. With a little homework, preparation, and organization, a virtual assistant can be the key partner that drives your business to the next level.
What are the benefits of using a virtual assistant?
Below are some of the benefits that can distinguish the difference between an in-office assistant and a virtual one.
- The VA is an independent contractor, not an employee, so there is no need to figure out IRS issues or employee hassles
- VA’s work remotely in fully-equipped offices that the VA maintains so you won’t have to worry about space or equipment
- VA’s are familiar with real estate specific software, apps, so no training is necessary unless you work with proprietary systems
- VA’s are tech-driven, mobile professionals and know their way around computers and other high tech devices and apps
- VA’s can work part-time, full-time, per project, on retainer, or on an as-needed basis
What can you delegate to a virtual assistant?
Set some time aside to look at your business goals, and find the area that is zapping most of your income-producing time. Is it lead generation, contact management, marketing, listing coordination, or another area? What tasks, or series of tasks, do you feel comfortable delegating to an experienced VA? Go through on paper, your day to day duties, and decide what to delegate, how much to delegate, and what you could delegate later once your partnership is well underway.
Below are some sample tasks that are frequently delegated to real estate virtual assistants.
- Manage and optimize your Listing Coordination/Marketing on all your online sites, making sure to maximize features like number of photos, Open Home announcements and virtual tours
- Assist with seller reports, market reports and market data
- Assist in content creation ideas and research for your blog and social media marketing sites
- Execute the posting and management of your content on your sites
- Monitor and edit your profiles and pages on social media sites
- Assist in Transaction Management; keeping your inspections, appointments and documents organized for you
- Design, manage and maintain your website and/or blog
- Create, manage and maintain your email marketing, email lists, and subscribers
- Design and create your offline marketing collateral like postcards, flyers and brochures
- Manage the vendors and various accounts to streamline costs, renewals, and shop for the best service professionals
- Arrange travel and conference attendance, and assist in debriefing you of all the new ideas you would like to implement
1. Create a clear job description. Start small if its hard for you to let go and delegate, it takes getting used to! Get systems in place, and communicate regularly. You can always add on later.
2. Establish clear lines of communication. Whether by email text message, phone or other means clarify what you prefer, what your VA prefers. Clarify that the VA confirms received emails etc.:)
3. Schedule Weekly and Bi-monthly update meetings. Keep your VA on track, stay on top of updates and continue to brainstorm new ideas. Your VA cannot read your mind, and may not know what challenges you a face daily or are in the pipeline. Build that rapport by sharing up- coming events so that your VA may prepare to support you when things get crazy. The more lead time, the better;)
4. Create your goals and establish deadlines. Once you have your VA up and running on your systems and tasks, take this time to establish new goals for your business, set deadlines and share them with your new team member.
5. Provide constructive feedback! Everyone loves to hear feedback. If there is something that is working well, and you are happy with, PLEASE share that with your partner. It helps the VA get to know you even better, and what your expectations are for accountability and progress. If something is not working out, see if there is a problem in communication, lack of knowledge, or a larger learning curve than expected. Work together to find solutions.
Working with a VA is an investment and not to be taken lightly, just like any assistant. But the rewards can be immense and long-term if done right and done well.
If you’d like some more info, or would like to know where to find a VA, drop your name and comment below, and I’ll steer you in the right direction!