The Virtual Assistant Advantage: Fuelling Consistency in your Real Estate Sales BusinessMay 18, 2023
Consistency is key when it comes to success in real estate sales. Applying consistent effort will yield more leads converting into listings, more successful deals closing, and more frequent commissions being earned. On the other hand, when the lack of consistency is present in your efforts in real estate sales, it will result in leads not converting to listings and money being left on the table. Deals won't come together, closings happen less regularly, and commissions become few and far between. A lack of consistency ignites and fuels the energy of feast and famine in your real estate sales career.
This truth is well-known to anyone in sales, requiring no further explanation. So why is inconsistency still prevalent in the industry, especially among real estate agents?
Several common reasons contribute to this issue, such as a lack of clear goals, poor time management, inadequate planning and organization, absence of accountability, and challenges with mindset and motivation.
One highly effective approach to combating inconsistency and revitalizing your real estate sales success is to hire a virtual assistant who can provide valuable support.
When implemented correctly in your business, this addition will enhance your productivity on high-value tasks and foster consistency across all areas of your real estate business. By intelligently delegating certain tasks to a qualified and effective virtual assistant, you can experience significant improvements in your real estate sales success.
Now, what exactly is a virtual assistant and how can they support you in building a fulfilling, financially abundant, and successful career in real estate sales?
A virtual assistant, commonly known as a VA, is a professional who remotely provides administrative, creative, technical, or specialized support to individuals, entrepreneurs, or businesses. Unlike traditional in-person assistants, virtual assistants work from their own office or home, utilizing technology to communicate and collaborate with their clients. They typically offer their services on a contractual or freelance basis, charging hourly rates, project-based fees, or retainers, depending on the nature of the work.
Let's discuss how to effectively utilize a virtual assistant in your real estate sales business so you can increase lead conversion, close more deals, and earn higher commissions. We will also cover common pitfalls to avoid.
An efficient virtual assistant should be capable of handling routine tasks, streamlining administrative processes, organizing documentation, managing emails and correspondence, scheduling open houses and buyer appointments, maintaining a clean and organized client database, assisting with social media management, profile and lead generation marketing activities, gathering CMA data for listing presentations, and supporting your business's lead generation requirements.
By effectively managing this significant workload, a virtual assistant offers two major benefits to your real estate business. Firstly, it frees up your time, allowing you to be more actively involved in the money-making activities of your business. Secondly, it brings consistency and professionalism to your operations.
Consistency is crucial in sales as it builds trust, establishes credibility, fosters customer relationships, provides predictability, helps achieve goals, and enables adaptability and improvement. By consistently delivering value and meeting customer expectations, you enhance your long-term success in real estate sales.
However, there is one critical element necessary to ensure the virtual assistant's success and productivity within your real estate business—the development of a clear onboarding process. This is an area that is often overlooked by small business owners and real estate agents, leading to disastrous outcomes and often completely distracting the real estate agent from the money-making tasks they should be focused on.
Here are some important reasons as to why you should create an induction program that any new virtual assistants joining your team can take:
- Smooth Onboarding: An induction program ensures a smooth onboarding process for the virtual assistant. It helps them understand the expectations, responsibilities, and procedures specific to the real estate agent's business. This reduces confusion and allows the virtual assistant to quickly get up to speed and start contributing effectively.
- Clear Communication: By establishing an induction program, the real estate agent can clearly communicate their goals, preferences, and working style to the virtual assistant. This clarity sets the foundation for a productive working relationship and avoids misunderstandings or assumptions.
- Alignment with Business Strategies: The induction program allows the real estate agent to align the virtual assistant's tasks and responsibilities with their overall business strategies. It ensures that the virtual assistant's efforts are focused on supporting the agent's specific objectives, whether it's lead generation support, client management, marketing support, or administrative tasks.
- Training and Skill Development: The induction program provides an opportunity for training and skill development. The real estate agent can provide guidance on industry-specific knowledge, tools, software, and processes. This enables the virtual assistant to enhance their skills and become more efficient and effective in their role.
- Consistency and Quality Assurance: By creating an induction program, the real estate agent can establish consistent processes and quality standards. The virtual assistant can be trained on specific workflows, templates, and guidelines to ensure that tasks are executed consistently and meet the agent's expectations.
- Increased Productivity: A well-structured induction program helps the virtual assistant become productive more quickly. They can understand the real estate agent's systems and procedures faster, which leads to efficient task completion and increased productivity overall.
- Long-term Collaboration: An induction program sets the stage for a successful long-term collaboration between the real estate agent and the virtual assistant. It fosters a sense of commitment, understanding, and mutual growth, leading to a stronger partnership and the potential for expanding the virtual assistant's role as the business grows.
Additionally, there is one more reason I would like to add to this: If, for whatever reason, a current virtual assistant does not work out, when you hire a replacement for them, the new assistant will more or less seamlessly slot into the role with minimal disruption to your real estate business, success, or operations.
Do not let the concept of creating an induction program overwhelm you. From a small business perspective, such as ours as real estate agents, it is actually much easier than you might think.
One simple approach is to break down all the tasks you want the virtual assistant to handle. Create bullet points detailing how each task should be carried out. Then, use Zoom to record yourself explaining the task and the associated bullet points. You can also use the screen-sharing feature in Zoom to provide examples for the virtual assistant's reference. Afterward, save the Zoom videos and task lists in a shareable folder accessible to any virtual assistant who joins your team.
Based on my experience, you can expect to spend no more than one to two weeks creating a well-thought-out and purposeful induction program for any virtual assistant joining your team.
Now, let's discuss how to avoid some common pitfalls that many real estate agents experience when hiring virtual assistants.
There are often misconceptions about what you can expect from a virtual assistant, which can lead to undesirable outcomes. These pitfalls can cause frustration and distractions while managing a virtual assistant who is not aligned with your business goals. Additionally, they can create an unprofessional image in the marketplace, hindering your desired result of building a fulfilling, financially abundant, and rewarding career in real estate sales.
Pitfall number one, is instructing your virtual assistant to handle prospecting calls. Virtual assistants are not salespeople. If they possessed the skills to effectively make prospecting calls, they would likely be pursuing a successful sales career themselves.
Their services are meant to free you from mundane administrative tasks, allowing you more time, energy, and focus to make those money-making prospecting calls. It's important to clarify that virtual assistants can assist with lead generation by gathering lists and details for you to call.
However, I do not recommend having them make calls on your behalf.
If you require this service, you should consider hiring an outsourced telesales team member who is qualified and trained in salesmanship and sales techniques, rather than administrative tasks. Although this member may cost more, they will provide the expertise needed for successful sales endeavors.
Pitfall number two, is expecting your virtual assistant to be a social media genius and graphic designer.
Virtual assistants are not social media managers, and if they were qualified in that field, they would likely pursue a career as social media managers. However, in todays world, with that being said, they should have a good understanding of social media and be able to support your social media presence and activities.
If you aim to take your real estate business to the next level through social media, I recommend outsourcing a dedicated social media manager. This individual can develop and implement you’re a strategic social media strategy.
Then, your virtual assistant can carry out the specific activities instructed by the social media manager. This approach ensures that you have the expertise and specialization required for effective social media marketing while utilizing your virtual assistant for execution and support.
Finally, pitfall number three, pertains to how you should approach hiring a virtual assistant.
Based on my own experience of approximately 13 years in hiring virtual assistants, I strongly believe that for smaller businesses like us as real estate agents, it is more beneficial to hire directly rather than going through virtual assistant agencies.
In my experience, hiring through agencies often results in higher costs due to additional agency fees on top of contractor fees. Additionally, assistants assigned by agencies can be overworked, handling multiple clients simultaneously, which can impact the quality and efficiency of their work.
Agencies may also lack flexibility and sometimes restrict direct communication between agents and assistants, limiting the effectiveness of collaboration. Moreover, the selection process of the assistant may be constrained, leaving you with less control over choosing the best fit for your specific requirements.
On the other hand, there are several reasons why hiring a virtual assistant directly through platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, OnlineJobs.ph, and Hubstaff Talent is far more advantageous for us smaller businesses as real estate agents, including:
- Cost-effectiveness: Hiring through platforms like these, allows you to set your own budget and negotiate rates directly with the virtual assistant. This gives you more control over costs and can often be more affordable than working with agencies that may have higher overhead expenses.
- Wide talent pool: Platforms like these have a vast pool of virtual assistants from around the world, offering diverse skill sets and experiences. You have the freedom to browse through profiles, review ratings and reviews, and select a virtual assistant who matches your specific requirements.
- Flexibility and scalability: Hiring directly through platforms provides greater flexibility. You can hire a virtual assistant for a specific project or task and easily scale up or down as needed. This flexibility is especially beneficial for small businesses that may have fluctuating workloads.
- Transparent communication: Direct communication with the virtual assistant fosters a clearer understanding of expectations, deadlines, and project details. You can establish a direct line of communication, ensuring that instructions are effectively conveyed, and any questions or concerns are addressed promptly.
- Access to reviews and ratings: Platforms typically offer reviews and ratings from previous clients, giving you valuable insights into a virtual assistant's performance and reliability. This information can help you make an informed decision and select a highly-rated professional for your specific needs.
- Reduced administrative burden: Platforms often handle administrative tasks such as time tracking, invoicing, and dispute resolution. This streamlines the hiring process and saves you time and effort compared to managing these aspects independently or through an agency.
In conclusion, consistency is the cornerstone of success in real estate sales. By applying consistent effort and leveraging the support of a virtual assistant, you can increase lead conversion, close more deals, and earn higher commissions. Remember, a virtual assistant can handle routine tasks, streamline administrative processes, and bring professionalism and consistency to your operations. To ensure a successful partnership, it's crucial to develop a clear onboarding process that aligns the virtual assistant's tasks with your business strategies. Additionally, be cautious of common pitfalls such as assigning prospecting calls to a virtual assistant or expecting them to be social media experts. By hiring a virtual assistant directly through platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, you can access cost-effective talent, wide skill sets, and flexible scalability. So, take the leap, embrace consistency, and empower your real estate business with the invaluable support of a virtual assistant.