How I Use Virtual Assistants to Help Manage a Successful Realty Firm
I was talking to a friend in the residential real estate business the other day, and we got to talking about one another’s successes over the past few years. To my surprise, my friend Dave, who’s a great talker and excellent salesperson; who brands himself with business apparel from Jos. A. Bank when meeting with clients; had been averaging less than a hundred-thousand a year in what has been and still is, a strong seller’s market for residential housing here in Wilmington where my business is located.
Too much work, not enough help
“I just can’t keep up with all the administrative work required, get all my marketing done, and field 100+ calls a day,” Dave told me. “There’s just so much required to beat other realtors to the really juicy listings, then run around to 20 or more showings scheduled all throughout the day and evening.”
It’s true, doing everything yourself like a one person army, just won’t cut it in any market; whether buyers or sellers. Clients eat up a lot of time, requiring multiple contact methods (ie., calls, texts, emails, chats, etc.) and most realtors I know have to make at least 3 calls to most people, clients and other realtors, before actually touching base.
When I told Dave how successful the last few years had been for my business, he nearly swallowed his tongue, incredulous that I appeared to be easily making high six-figures without a secretary or marketing team to assist me.
What he didn’t realize was that I did have a staff – a virtual assistant for my real estate business; they just can’t be seen without a webcam!
My VAs are like my right arm
I run my entire business using VAs that I hire from https://247virtualassistants.com to make my day easier, helping me to update the MLS, obtain and send documents, schedule appointments with buyers, scour listings in my area for hot properties, and most important: provide top-notch customer service.
Dave’s complaint about handling 100+ calls a day is a reality every successful realtor has to deal with. And most of those calls offer nothing more than mental clutter – meeting confirmations, last minute cancellations, inquiries about properties, etc. Things that any good assistant can handle while I take it easy (not!) I have two dedicated VAs specifically for keeping up with all incoming communications to my office.
They answer inquiries on my behalf while organizing those which need my attention based on priority, so I can focus on getting to showings and other meetings on time, and scouting for commercial properties; a side of the business I would never have been able to expand into without freeing up my time by hiring my online team.
The way I see it, my VAs help with 3 core areas of my business:
- Administration: The true bane to almost every entrepreneur I’ve met over the years. Administrative tasks suck the life and creativity out of you, often before the day begins if you know there’s an insurmountable amount of paperwork and data entry waiting for you at the office every morning! Judy, my administrative VA, helps with everything from setting up dinner meetings with clients (including making the restaurant reservations), entering listing info into the MLS, relaying bids between sellers and buyers, calling vendors to set up catering and staging services for open houses, and so much more that I can’t even remember. She even reminds me when close family members (including the wife) are having a birthday!
- Marketing tasks: I use the services of several VAs to keep my marketing efforts above and beyond that of the competition. You name it and they do it: Photoshopping pictures for my listings, mass emails, organizing social media blasts, creating flyers and other promotional materials. There are still some things that I just won’t allow any employee to do with regards to how my company and my listings are marketed. To this day, I still have complete creative control over every aspect of marketing, including information shared to my social media followers.
- Dedicated client support: While I wouldn’t say this is more important than the other 2 factors mentioned, it’s definitely another area of my business where quality virtual staff is essential. I can offer 24 hour support to my local clients here in the U.S. because I have VAs in other time zones, freshly rested and ready to give each client 100 percent of their attention. Not only do I have VAs specifically answering my phone to field inquiries and requests, I have a separate staff whose sole job is lead-gen to find new listings before they get on to the open market. I can’t state the importance of having this side of the business nailed down in order to be successful in the super competitive realty business.
I hope this advice comes in handy to other realtors who’re out there struggling to find more time, but hesitant to hire costly office staff to delegate to. The competition in this business is cut-throat. You can’t do it all yourself and expect to get the same return you would if working with a team. On average, my awesome virtual team members cost me an average of $5 – $10 each per hour.
You just can’t hire in-house staff for those kinds of prices…