Michael Russer, a.k.a. Mr. Internet®, is CEO of Russer Communications. He is a leading speaker and author in the real estate industry and has been writing about Internet marketing and virtual outsourcing since the dawn of the commercial Internet.
Earn More, Work Less With Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants can help you increase your productivity, freeing up your time to focus more on what you love to do.
August 1, 2010
The vast majority of real estate sales professionals have a "job" they work for rather than a business that serves them. Sound familiar? It's a huge distinction that's lost even on some of the industry's top producers.
One of the biggest factors that holds sales associates back from truly having a business that serves them is how they handle the myriad details that need to be done outside of their selling activities.
Virtual assistants — a personal assistant who works remotely on any number of tasks from assisting with your Web site to closing a transaction — may be your answer to ramping up productivity and keep your business thriving. It’s a solution that I’ve used in my business for 15 years.
The 3 Most Expensive Ways to Get Things Done
Every successful business focuses on three phases: Lead generation, lead conversion, and business support. While all three are critical to your business success, have you considered your business support lately? How do you juggle all the many tasks in your real estate business?
Many real estate professionals handle the details outside their selling activities in the following ways (listed in order of the most expensive on down):
1. Not doing it at all. In their well-intentioned attempts to do everything themselves, they become so overwhelmed that the detailed items start falling through the cracks and their lead generation and closing activities ultimately suffer.
2. Doing it all themselves. One of the biggest limiting beliefs in real estate sales is that if you want to have "total control" and have things done right, you have to do it yourself. Just for laughs, tell that to CEOs of successful companies and see their reaction. Remember, any time you do something outside of your core competency, you end up paying top dollar for amateur results.
3. Hiring an onsite assistant. This actually may work if you are a naturally gifted manager and motivator of people (which, unfortunately, most salespeople are not). However, you are still paying way too much for what you need done.
Virtual Outsourcing: Business Support on Call
Instead, imagine being able to hire talent to accomplish nearly anything you need done, without having to train or motivate your assistant, or even provide office space, equipment, or benefits. Also, you only need to pay for the services that you use.
That is the payoff of using virtual assistants and consultants.
Over the years, I’ve taught thousands of other real estate professionals how to use virtual outsourcing to their best advantage. I've found it to be the best solution to address the business support phase of the business cycle in a practical and profitable way. Plus, it’s accessible to every real estate salesperson, regardless of experience level.
However, working with virtual assistants and consultants is not at all like working with a traditional on-site assistant. In fact, if you treat them that way it’s almost guaranteed to fail. The process of finding, evaluating, hiring, and working profitably with virtual assistants and consultants can be a bit daunting. Download PDF resource guides on this for more information.
A virtual assistant, or VA, can be hired for one project — such as to help with a transaction or even something as simple as ordering a closing gift — or you can hire a VA for a specified number of hours per week or month. They can handle everything from Web site design to transaction management to writing ads to coordinating your marketing.
How Others Have Gone Virtual
You can get ideas on how to use a virtual assistant in your business from your peers. Here are a few examples of real estate professionals who have successfully incorporated virtual outsourcing into various aspects of their business.
- Dave Fletcher, The Fletcher Group, uses a virtual transaction coordinator to handle closings. The best part: The transaction coordinator charges Fletcher only if the deal closes!
- Chris Coveny, Royal LePage Performance Realty, found a skilled virtual writer to research and post on his blog for a fraction of what his time is worth.
- Roman Pavlik, Pavlik Luxury Real Estate, found several VAs to keep his listings up-to-date on his Web site on a daily basis.
- Sven Andersen, The Andersen Team, uses a team of VAs to handle every aspect of his listing marketing coordination, which frees him up to bring in as many new listings as he wants without breaking a sweat.
As these and other real estate pros have found, if you truly want to have a business where you can earn more, work less, and enjoy life, focus on what you do best — and virtually outsource the rest.