If you’re like most agents, tasks like lead gen, answering phone calls, and responding to emails keep you more than busy. Sometimes, your to-do list can feel downright overwhelming. But you don’t have to – and you shouldn’t – go at it alone.
Leverage is key, and success comes when you focus your time appropriately to achieve the greatest impact, as outlined in Gary Keller’s The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. One way to free up valuable time is to hire a real estate virtual assistant. Unlike full-time admins who work on-site, virtual assistants are generally remote contractors and can be hired on a part-time basis.
When deciding on a new administrative hire, it is important to consider the needs of your business, as well as the ways in which you or your team operate best. If you prefer having team members be physically present in the space, and you are able to offer a full-time salary with benefits, an in-house admin is likely the right choice. But, if you prefer communicating virtually and are looking for someone to join the team on an as-needed basis, virtual assistants may be for you. Note that with advancements in technology and the rise of remote work, hiring a virtual assistant on a full-time basis with benefits is an option.
Craig Goodliffe, a KW agent and CEO of Cyberbacker, says that, for entrepreneurs, delegating can be hard at first. Yet this year, Goodliffe and his team grossed more than $20 million in sales with the help of virtual assistants. In fact, since 2012, the team’s admin support has been fully virtual.
“One of the big challenges a lot of us have, and especially if we’re entrepreneurial and business-minded, is thinking – I’m smart, I’m capable, I can do it,” Goodliffe says. “But for some things, I just recognize that other people are better at them than me.”
Goodliffe hired his first virtual assistant in 2012, and he hasn’t looked back. One of the first tasks he delegated was preparing his call list and schedule for the day. Offloading that work to a virtual assistant kept his energy up, leaving him more focused during phone calls. Now, he has his own personal virtual assistant, plus a team of six assistants that handle social media, emails, text messaging and answering phone calls 24/7.
Goodliffe offers agents the following five tips and advice for how to hire and work with a virtual assistant:
1) Make a not-to-do list. Before you start looking for a virtual assistant, make a list of tasks that you don’t want to do – functional tasks that don’t make you money or bring you joy. This might be answering your phone or responding to emails. These are the tasks you should delegate to your assistant. Revisit this list regularly.
2) Understand pay and benefits. Before making a hire, Goodliffe likes to research online and get a sense for current salaries for virtual assistant positions. If hiring an assistant outside the U.S., he recommends looking at the gross national income per capita of the country you’re hiring in. Then, scale up based on the complexity of the job. It’s also crucial to give assistants opportunities to learn and grow and connect them with resources to help. “Working at home, alone, it can get lonely,” he says. “Continue to pour into your talents and offer them the same benefits and perks anybody would want.”
3) Keep legal matters in mind. When hiring from any other country where you are unfamiliar with the business practices, Goodliffe suggests working with a professional who can help you ensure compliance with that country’s laws.
4) Interview well, and a lot. Take the time to write out a clear, detailed description of the tasks you want a virtual assistant to do, plus a set of criteria for the hire. Use that to guide your selection process. Don’t rush the process by interviewing just one or two candidates. Meet with a number of potential hires and conduct thorough interviews. For Keller Williams agents, Career Visioning is a valuable resource for identifying and hiring talent, including virtual assistants.
5) Build a reference library and request an end-of-day report. When you start working with your assistant, show them the exact tasks you want them to perform. You can either share your screen during a video call or record tasks as you do them. Then, the assistant can watch the recording later to learn how you want the task done. Also, ask them to compile an end-of-day report to keep track of what they’re working on. Just like with an in-person assistant, it’s important to connect with your virtual assistant.
6) Set goals with your assistant and hold them accountable. Make goals SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. Use a weekly 411 system to regularly check in with your assistant about their goals, progress, any obstacles, and what they need for success.
Finding the best assistant for your unique needs could take some trial and error, and that’s OK. “You’re looking for the absolute best of the best,” Goodliffe says. Be patient and thorough, and eventually you’ll find a virtual assistant that will help your business blossom. From the moment you decide it’s time to make a hire, to bringing in the leverage that will take your team to the next level, the Leverage Series is a great companion to become reacquainted with. This tool is free and available to Keller Williams agents.
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