Sometimes there are just things that you do as a real estate agent that would be better off for you not to do. Things that could free up your time so that you can do more bottom-line effective activities. That’s where virtual assistants come into play. Virtual assistants are pay-as-you-go helpers that perform the work that supports your business but that takes up precious resources from your real estate business.
So what kind of activities could a virtual assistant do for you?
- Loading listings
- Closing files
- Monthly marketing (direct mailing, social media, etc.)
- Feature sheets
- Cleaning up your database
- Monthly market stats for promoting house values
- Lead follow ups (not necessarily calling but setting it up)
- Ad calls and follow-ups
- Business cards collected
- Conference notes
- Save contracts and client files
- Setting up new buyer alerts
- Open house registrations
- Even website designing
These days, a number of websites exist to connect you to virtual assistants. Fiverr.com is a fantastic site that provides virtual assistants from all over the world and even right here in the U.S. and Canada. Each profile comes with ratings and examples of work so that you can see the quality of a virtual assistant prior to hiring them. It may take a little time to vet them, but once you find a virtual assistant or even a few that do good work, it’s easy to return to them and to pay them as you need them. Fiverr.com is great because work is doled out in increments of just $5 each. Don’t be fooled, however – you will have to give pretty clear instructions to ensure that your virtual assistant does what you need him or her to do. Bullet points and examples are the best route to go from the beginning of a project, so be detailed with what you want.
To begin, make a list of all the things that you a) don’t want to do, b) can’t do well and c) can do and can do well but don’t have time to do. Each task shouldn’t last more than 15 to 20 minutes to perform. It’s best not to overwhelm your virtual assistants so that you can manage the work they do one project at a time. Then prioritize the work and set clear deadlines. You may have to work with your virtual assistant along the way at first to do a temp check or to assess the work being done. Remember – it’s like working with someone in person, so it may require some back-and-forth until you receive the work product that you want.
On the same token, it’s important to know when to let go. If someone just is not working out, you shouldn’t waste more than a two or three exchanges correcting it. Gently thank them for the effort and move on. You can always cancel the project as your fee is held in escrow until the work is either delivered and accepted by you or canceled.
If you need your virtual assistant to send out emails (not follow-ups – those are best left under your care), set up an assistant@[yourcompanyurl].com email and have it also forwarded to your inbox. That way you can keep track of any replies. Setting up a template for specific types of emails will ensure that you have the correct wording and grammar you need for specific communications.
Time is a precious commodity in the real estate business, so having a virtual assistant or two can be a worthwhile investment. Don’t feel as if you need to outsource a ton of your work. Start slow and build your way up to a solid list of items and a team of virtual assistants that can take the load off of your shoulders. It’s a great feeling when you realize just how much more you can get done and how much your business will grow!