That’s where we started when we posed some questions to Heather Wilches-Brooks, a sales and client services expert.
At what point in a real estate professional’s career is the best time to add an assistant – virtual or actual?
Every professional reaches a point in their career – whether they are just beginning or have been in business for 20 years – when they need help. While some of us are “type A” personalities, it’s essential to know and realize that we can’t do it alone. Having an in-house or virtual assistant depends on the preference of each professional, and so is releasing some of the duties associated with running your business.
Having an assistant allows each professional more time to focus on what they do best – build their business, sell, list, etc., instead of scrambling through papers that never get filed, getting frustrated and losing out on potential business.
How does an agent actually work with a Virtual Assistant? What are the advantages of a Virtual Assistant versus an assistant who sits in your office?
Working with a VA or as I call us, VA Specialists (VA that specializes in specific niche), is quite simple and there are many benefits. I would never discourage any professional from having an in-house assistant because each business is different. However, having a VA on your team has an added benefit.
In-house assistants commonly get pulled from one task to another. They are great for putting out “fires,” but much of their work gets set aside. It’s not their fault since it is more advantageous to pull them off one project because they are right there. I know this from experience.
So in truth, having a VA can save you both time and money because he or she will complete your projects more efficiently. In addition, instead of paying a VA to work in your office as you would an in-house assistant, you only pay for the time spent on your tasks/projects. You also eliminate the need for benefits such as medical, vacation and sick pay; and VAs don’t spend money on office products.
What are the most common items a VA can handle that are the most high-value items for an agent?
Lead generation and follow up. I have met so many professionals who have these great systems in place. They spend their money every month; they generate great-quality leads but don’t have time to follow up with them. A VA can take this task and actually start breathing fresh air back into leads, recapture them, and build the rapport stronger than ever. All an agent has to do is close them – help them and guide them. How much value would you put on a lead? Any particular one could refer 10 others to you and if you never follow up, you could lose out – more than you really think. Besides, our businesses are referral-based and without referrals, we have no business.
What should an agent look for in hiring a VA?
1) Reputation and personality – everyone has a reputation whether they are just starting out in business or have been for years. Personality is a must: some of us want suggestions on how to run our businesses. Some just want a VA to take care of a task a specific way, and if they can’t or won’t do it our way, there would be a conflict. For instance, you wouldn’t want someone with a dull voice contacting your leads over the phone, would you?
2) Vocabulary – I don’t talk like a dictionary but my vocabulary is fluent and precise.
3) Most importantly, diversity – do they know and comprehend the programs you use to run your business?
Heather Wilches-Brooks has more than 20 years of using her skills in interpersonal communication and client care to help businesses and individuals. Her virtual business support company, VA Specialist, assists clients worldwide while creating solutions and strategies adding to their bottom line. Wilches-Brooks is the VA for real estate speaker/trainer extraordinaire Allen F. Hainge. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.