OK Folks! Its time for another lesson in my Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Virtual Assistants Series. It’s been a while since I’ve put out another part to this, and long over due. I am seeing questions and mis-information pop up all over the place and I’d like to go back to REVAs 101.
Click below for Part 1 and Part 2 which are the Prerequisites to this series:)
Real Estate Virtual Assistants: The Ultimate Guide Part 1…What You NEED to Know About Professional VAs BEFORE you Take the Plunge!
Real Estate Virtual Assistants: The Ultimate Guide PART 2……Creating a Virtual Action Plan Before You Delegate!
Ok, have you read part 1 and 2..? Good, because reading those will tell you if you are ready work with a VA. It takes a certain mind-set to findthe right VA for you, and if you’ve done your homework, you are well on your way to a long and rewarding relationship. BUT, a word of caution. No relationship will work without communication, so be prepared to communicate.
TIPS FOR FINDING A VA
First Choice: Get a referral. If you know someone who has a great VA, ask to speak to them first. Or get on your real estate network and ask your colleagues if they know of one. However, if the VA works for your agent friend in the same local market, you may not have access to that VA due to confidentiality agreements and ethics in place by the VA. Its a common practice to be exclusive to only one agent per market. But they maybe able to help you find another suitable VA, and refer you to a high quality Associate.
Second: Place an RFP (Request for Proposal) on ActiveRain, network or organization that allows you place a job description, and requirements, so that you may receive applicants and set up consultations with the interested VA. Active Rain has a Find a VA RFP System to help you find a VA. Simply post your requirements, and field your responses. Others include the IREAA, Reva Professionals. Be specific with your job description. Are you looking for a Listing/Marketing Coordinator, Transaction Coordination, Lead/ Database/CRM manager or all?
Third: Internet Search Search for Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and you will see many websites from companies that specialize in real estate support. View the websites and contact the VAs by phone or email to set up a consultation.
TIPS FOR CONSULTING & HIRING A VA
By now you should have quite a few qualified candidates to interview. Have your job description, requirements any other questions ready. Set up your consultation appointments and get rolling. What do you say, talk about..?
1. Introduce yourself, and allow the VA to do the same. Briefly review your needs and goals, and ask the VA if they offer those services and what strengths do they have that would serve to be the most helpful to you. Check for your VAs response, level of communication and understanding of your goals. Ask if they have had clients facing similar challenges and what they have done to offer support.
2. Are they Compatible? Ask about their computer systems, hardware, & software compatibility. Ask them about specific vendors that you work with like Top Producer, Number 1 Expert, Point 2 or any other program you would like them to operate and manage for you. Are you willing to work with any learning curves..? Ask the VA if they charge you to learn a new product or tool, or if they do it on their own time? How vital is that to your success?
3. What is their Availability? If there is only one VA you will be working with, how do they handle their client load, and overload..? If there is a team of VAs, how is that work delegated and managed..? Discuss hours, rates and plans that are available.
4. How do they track the hours or time that they work, and is this time available to you at all times? The return on your investment is crucial, and VAs will probably vary on their speed and turn around times.
5. Conclude your consultation by allowing the VA to ask you questions about you, your business, and your work style. Make mental notes, on friendliness, enthusiasm, pro-activeness, and listening skills. Let them know if you have worked with a VA before, and how your experience was and wasn’t.
5 TIPS FOR KEEPING A HAPPY, PRODUCTIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH YOUR NEW VA
1. Create a clear job description. Start small if its hard for you to let go and delegate, it takes getting used to! Get systems in place, and communicate regularly. You can always add on later.
2. Establish clear lines of communication. Whether by email text message, phone or other means clarify what you prefer, what your VA prefers. Clarify that the VA confirms received emails etc.:)
3. Schedule Weekly and Bi-monthly update meetings. Keep your VA on track, stay on top of updates and continue to brainstorm new ideas. Your VA cannot read your mind, and may not know what challenges you a face daily or are in the pipeline. Build that rapport by sharing up- coming events so that your VA may prepare to support you when things get crazy. The more lead time we have the better;)
4. Create your goals and establish deadlines. Once you have your VA up and running on your systems and tasks, take this time to establish new goals for your business, set deadlines and share them with your new team member. If there are things you have been putting off, now is the time to move those BIG ROCKS.
5. Provide constructive feedback! Everyone loves to hear feedback. If there is something that is working well, and you are happy with, PLEASE share that with your partner. It helps the VA get to know you even better, and what your expectations are for accountability and progress. If something is not working out, see if there is a problem in communication, lack of knowledge, or a larger learning curve than expected. Work together to find solutions.
Working with a VA is an investment and not to be taken lightly, just like any assistant. But the rewards can be immense and long-term if done right and done well! Let your VA help you, and its a win win for everyone!
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