What can I ask them to do?
Busy agents can delegate many tasks to a virtual assistant: filtering and sorting emails, confirming appointments, following up with leads, editing MLS listings, updating your contacts database, preparing paperwork, researching trends, etc. And because they’re paid by the hour, virtual assistants can help you organize your personal life, too! Want to take your family to the game next weekend but can’t find the time to purchase tickets? Need to buy a birthday gift online for a friend or relative? Enlist your virtual assistant to help!
What should I look for?
Virtual assistant providers are designed to make your life easier. They should be accurate, receptive to coaching, trustworthy, self-motivated, highly organized, tech savvy, with serious attention to detail and effective communication skills. You want to see a return on your investment in a virtual assistant, so don’t be afraid to shop around for the right one for you! Some virtual assistants, like those provided by MyOutDesk and AdminOutsource, are based in the Philippines or other foreign countries. Thanks to time zone differences, that means they’re working while you and your clients are sleeping! If you prefer to work with a U.S.-based virtual assistant, check out Time etc.
What are the risks?
Before hiring a virtual assistant for your business, familiarize yourself with state and federal laws regarding the tasks they can legally perform for you. Some real estate tasks—like soliciting buyers or sellers, negotiating transaction terms, or even answering certain questions—require a license in many states, and you could be liable if a virtual assistant you’ve hired breaks any laws. To mitigate risk, legislative liaison at the California Bureau of Real Estate Tom Pool recommends agents train their virtual assistants to say “I’ll have the agent/broker get back to you” in response to any real estate-related questions from prospects.
What if I only need minimal help?
Not ready to completely hand the reigns over to a virtual assistant? Services like Phone Animal or Lead Connect 365 can handle prospecting and manage your sales pipeline through lead generation and conversion.
Whether you’re taking the plunge headfirst or just dipping your toe in the water, outsourcing your “grunt work” to a virtual assistant can be a great way to save you time, help you gain a competitive advantage, and boost your business.