If you’re doing well handling all the responsibilities of a real estate agent, can you imagine how much better your business would be if you learned to delegate? Let’s face it. With everything you need to do as an agent, you will not be able to maximize productivity if you have to attend to every single item in the agenda. Instead of the business running you, you should be running the business by delegating tasks to a real estate VA.
A VA or Virtual Assistant is a person who works online from a remote location and is contracted to handle specific tasks of a business. You can find a Virtual Assistant with the requisite skill set for every industry. In real estate, you need to find a VA who can help you in 5 key areas of responsibility:
- Administrative – E-mail filtering, calendar management, appointment setting, preparation of presentation materials, contracts and reports.
- Marketing – Social media, blogging and e-mail marketing.
- Sales – Trial closing, generating referrals or repeat business.
- Customer Support – Inbound calling, e-mail and chat support.
- Back Office – Accounting, IT and Human Resources
Of course, it will not be realistic to expect one VA to be able to manage all of these key areas of responsibilities. If you overwhelm your VA with too many tasks, the business will run her to the ground and you will not be productive.
Here are tips on how to delegate your tasks to a real estate virtual assistant:
1. Study Your Current Business Model
Before you hire a Virtual Assistant, you have to find out what your business needs. You should study your current business model and identify the following:
- Which tasks directly relate to the main core enterprise of my business?
- Which tasks are more supportive or administrative in nature?
- Are there tasks that require specialized skills?
The first question refers to the functions that you should focus your time and energy on because these directly contribute to your bottom- line. The second and third questions identify the functions that you should outsource to a Virtual Assistant.
Administrative or supportive tasks are oftentimes referred to as “non- essential” or “non- core”. But accomplishing them on a consistent basis will keep your business running more efficiently.
Specialized skills may be required for work that is more technical in nature. These include website management, social media management and SEO. Even if you have the expertise, it would always be better to delegate them to a VA so you can allocate more time to the core functions of the business.
Again, you should not overload the VA with too much work. As talented as virtual assistants are, they are only human. Piling one activity on top of another will result in diminishing returns.
Prioritize the tasks in order of importance or volume or work. You may also want to consider hiring 2 virtual assistants; one for administrative work and another one for specialized tasks.
2. Create a Summary of All Tasks
When you have identified the tasks to be delegated, summarize them as a formal document and discuss its contents in detail with the Virtual Assistant.
Even if you hire a VA with 5 years of experience in the real estate industry, you should not expect them to know what to do right away. You could be targeting a market that is vastly different from the VA’s previous client. Your business goals, objectives, standards, expectations, systems and processes will certainly be different.
Take the time to make sure you and the real estate VA are on the same page. She should work according to the guidelines you have set.
3. Start Out the VA Slowly
It is a good idea to start out your real estate VA slowly by delegating simple administrative tasks first.
For example, if a typical day for you means going through hundreds of e-mails every morning, delegate this task to your VA so you can get a head start on the more important activities.
You can also delegate phone handling to your VA. This way all calls that you receive will be forwarded to the VA for preliminary screening.
If you are in a meeting, you will not be distracted by incoming calls. The VA can always inform you via text message or e-mail of all the important calls that require an immediate call- back.
4. Request Feedback
Never assume that your real estate VA understood your instructions. She could nod “Yes” but it is highly possible that there are parts of her job that remain unclear.
Instead of asking your VA, “Did you understand my instructions?”, request feedback. After running through the set of instructions, tell her, “Okay, can you please take me through the process I just discussed with you?”
Feedback will force the VA to articulate her thoughts and feed back the instructions as she understood it. Your job would be to guide her and make corrections as necessary.
Do not wait for the time that you think you need help before you hire a real estate VA. By then it might be too late.
The reality of running a business is that you cannot and should not do everything yourself. The more non-essential tasks you delegate to your VA, the greater the productivity you generate for your business.