Hiring a virtual assistant doesn’t have to break the bank

The market has been fast and furious, and in order to stay productive, the need for efficient time management is at an all-time high. Attempting to do it all just doesn’t work, and you can easily burn out if you don’t find ways to delegate some of the workload. Hand off the mundane tasks so that you have more time to focus on your clients, build your business and have some personal time.

Time to go virtual

Consider hiring virtual assistance — and do not fear! Our world has become so accustomed to working remotely, and technology has kept up with it. This isn’t just for mega-agents or teams. If you are new or only completing a couple of transactions per month, there are affordable plans that will suit your needs. The virtual real estate assistants come already trained and ready to work for you. Going virtual could be perfect for the agents who are too busy to keep up but not busy enough to afford traditional assistants.

Cons for the traditional way

Traditional assistants can be hard to find — especially in this employee drought. They are expensive and may require another desk at an office that we really don’t spend much time at. Training can take valuable time away from you cultivating your business just to get them up to speed. Worse yet is when you have invested that time to get them to a certain level only to find out that the relationship isn’t going to work out. With a virtual assistant, you can switch out easily if things aren’t gelling well without wasting valuable time.

What do virtual assistants do?

Everything a traditional assistant does, just not face to face. Whether it is simple database upkeep, scheduling, prospecting, marketing or full-on transaction management, these companies offer virtual assistants who can do it all — some include social media management and even video editing! Most are already trained in e-signature software such as Dotloop, DocuSign and several CRM platforms, but they will work for you and integrate into whatever you are currently using. Think of it as Uber for your real estate needs, from full-on to a la carte.

Know what your needs are

If you are looking to go big for a “right hand” that can also double as your backbone as a part- or full-time executive assistant, then you can look at MyOutDesk, Virtudesk, Virtual VA Solutions, Zirtual, Ossisto or ShoreAgents, to name a few. Some offer by-the-hour or monthly plans, whether it’s part-time or full-time, and the rates range from $8.60 an hour and up to $1,800-plus per month for full-time. Some, but not all, source their talent from the Philippines, but they work in your time zone and have trustworthy skills and extensive training in our U.S. software systems.

Go basic to get started

If you are on your own or have a small team and just need some transaction management assistance, then Transactly may be the way to go. Why? Because you only pay when the deal closes — they don’t earn it until you do! And their fee is only $125 to $350 per transaction. If you do not currently have transaction management software in place, they can provide theirs to you free of charge. It can be customized to suit your workflow and comes with beautiful email templates that can be integrated with your brand as you keep your clients up to date throughout the process. But if you already have a system in place, they will adapt to your customized workflow.

Transactly claims that they can automate roughly 91% of the transaction tasks, and you can designate what you want them to do and what you will do to get the transaction to a smooth close. They are U.S.-based and bilingual and operate in all 50 states, plus Australia and Canada. It’s important to note that they are not virtual assistants at your beck and call. They are purely transaction coordinators and work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week but promise a 24-hour turnaround time on all communications. You are assigned a primary coordinator, so you will be dealing with the same person for each transaction, but they will also be managing other clients. They also offer listing management services as a separate item.

Balancing work-life while growing your business

Be open-minded and take advantage of the opportunities these virtual assistant companies have to offer. Research what is right for you, and take some of the weight off your shoulders with these cost-effective virtual assistance opportunities. This will not only enhance your business and bring you a better bottom line, but, more importantly, provide you with more personal time to balance your life and avoid burnout.

Anne Ewasko is a veteran Realtor in the Chicago area and a longtime techie. Visit her at anne.luxhomechicago.com.

Supercharge relationship-building by mastering your CRM

By Marki Lemons-Ryhal

As real estate professionals who spend A LOT of time having conversations and building relationships, there’s no way we can remember all the details we accumulate without a little extra help. So, is there a simple way to keep track of everyone we connect with?

Yes, a customer relationship management system (CRM) allows us to do all this and more. Why is a good CRM so necessary? How can we use the information we have to make us unforgettable?

Build rapport by identifying the F.O.R.D. of your ideal client. F.O.R.D. is an acronym for family, occupation, recreation and dreams.

Every day people share their F.O.R.D. with the world via social media, email and text messaging.

The key to growing your real estate business is understanding your clients’ pain points and desires. Successful marketers don’t have to tell us what they’re doing. Instead, the results they get in business are evidence of a foundation of value, systems and intention.

Add each person’s F.O.R.D. to your customer relationship management system daily.

Idea: On Facebook and LinkedIn, spend one hour Monday through Friday identifying each person’s birthday, promotions, accomplishments and favorite activities. Implement an 8 x 8 campaign where you make eight people feel special by 8 a.m. daily via email, messaging or mailing them something special.

To earn $100,000 per year, you need to add 2,880 contacts to your customer relationship management system if your average price point is $250,000. These actions statistically will net you 20 closed real estate transactions. In real estate, it’s so easy to get bogged down by distractions, inefficiency and a lack of boundaries. When we’re not getting the results we want, our daily work routine is the first area we need to examine.

To accomplish your six-figure earning goals, you need to add eight new contacts to your CRM or connect in a meaningful way to the contacts that are already in your system daily. Separate the essentials from what’s not moving the business forward to become effective and unstoppable.

Every time you generate a new lead or communicate in a meaningful way one-on-one with a contact, add or update the contact in your CRM and place a check mark in the box below that corresponds with the week and day of the month.

Many real estate agents believe that they have to be open 24/7 to succeed in our profession. They’ve bought into the lie that building a competitive business requires agents to give up all their time. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be true for us.

It’s possible to have a thriving business without 80-hour weeks and burnout by choosing to work by relationship and referral. Agents who grow by nurturing their database dictate their schedule, work manageable hours and are better equipped for market shifts.

  • Why your social circle isn’t doing business with you

If we want our friends and family to do business with us or refer people to us, we have to get them to see us in a real estate context.

  • How to choose the right CRM

You need a place for your information to live so you can take care of your people; it doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

  • The limiting belief agents have to overcome

We don’t have to be available 24/7 to make our clients feel like we’re doing a good job. But if we prove ourselves to be valuable, people will respect the schedules we set.

Marki Lemons-Ryhal, the owner of ReMarkitable LLC, is a licensed managing broker, best-selling author and inducted into the REBAC Hall of Fame. She holds a Bachelor of Science in management from Chicago State University, a Master of Business Administration from Saint Xavier University and 64 real estate-related licenses, certifications and designations.