Setting Up Your Real Estate Virtual Assistant for Success
The key to getting the most of your virtual assistant experience is to set him or her up with the proper tools in the beginning and providing ongoing feedback (especially in the beginning of a new task).
The more work you do upfront in detailing and outlining tasks the better your assistant will understand exactly what you want and how you want it done. There is no avoiding spending the time upfront in order for these types of relationships to work for both of you.
Creating Procedures and Systems
As the business owner, you want to get the job done efficiently and correctly in a timely fashion. The person you hire needs to be absolutely clear about the exact steps they must to take to do a good job for you. Try to look at your task outline with fresh eyes so that you pinpoint even the tiniest of details that you may just take for granted. Even try giving your task outline to a friend or colleague for some constructive criticism. It’s important to keep drilling down the instructions until you get it right. The best part is that once this is done you have a system for your business.
On Creating a “Task Package” For Your Virtual Assistant
How To Make Sure Your Real Estate VA Does The Job The Way You Want!
A “task package” contains all of the information your virtual assistant will need for each individual job or task. Just be sure it is very detailed; remember that tasks needs to be broken down step by steps.
Here’s an example "Task Package" for the daily activities related to posting ads on Craigslist:
1. Start with an overview of things needed and training materials for an ongoing task.
This is where you write out what the work to be done is. For example, “Please post one ad on Craigslist every morning between 8:00 – 9:00 AM (EST). I would like you to keep a log of which ad and account were used for posting each day. I would like you to put a copy of that log into our shared Dropbox folder twice a month; once around the middle of the month and again on the last day of the month. I need to be able to track the ads to see how they are performing so I can tell if some are working better than others.
3. Craigslist rules overview.
Outline how Craigslist works with regard to placing daily ads so that your virtual assistant can perform the task without any snags. For example, “Craigslist is a simple site to use, but there are some rules. The main rule of concern is that “an ad must be off the site at least 48 hours before it can be reposted.” You can change the ad text but it must contain a different URL or link to a website. You will need to check the “delete” box for each ad after 48 hours to be sure we adhere to the site’s rules.”
4. Provide necessary login information.
Outline each account login and password. It also doesn’t hurt to ask that the information be kept private and not shared with anyone.
5. A sample posting schedule is helpful to show exactly how you want the task done.
Since there are multiple logins, ads and URL’s, providing a sample posting schedule makes it clear on how to perform your task within the rules of the Craigslist site.
6. Supply the list of ads.
Be sure each ad has a unique title. It’s a good idea to put everything into Dropbox in a shared folder. Any cloud storage site will work, but Dropbox has its advantages - it’s free and virtual assistants are familiar with this particular site.
7. Website and links to insert into ads should also be provided.
Be sure to request your virtual assistant check the links to make sure they work.
8. Provide any graphics to upload into Ads.
These are also best organized into the shared DropBox folder. Be sure to have enough so that the ads look fresh.
9. Training Video on How to Use Craigslist.
This may seem excessive, but the goal here is to provide your virtual assistant with as much upfront information as possible to get the task completed on time and correctly. By using a free site such as Screencast-O-Matic, you can record the steps necessary to perform any given task. Just go through the motions of the task we’ve been discussing and allow Screencast-O-Matic create a step-by-step tutorial. Since it only allows a 15 minute long recording, you may consider breaking the process down into several 5 minute videos (give or take). That way your virtual assistant can simply refer to the part of the demonstration he or she needs a refresher on a certain part of the process. Think long term and make sure you don’t omit any step in the process. You will be able to use this tutorial for years to come.
What If You're Hiring An Experienced Real Estate Virtual Assistant?
Should You Take Time On "Task Packages" For Someone Who Already Knows The Job?
All of the details above probably seem very basic ... to a real estate virtual assistant who has already spent some time working on similar projects. In fact, the overview above is far more rudimentary than our own company's Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for our VAs posting on Craigslist.
The question is, even if you are hiring real estate virtual assistants who have significant experience in their tasks (perhaps even more experience than you in some specific areas), does that mean the virtual assistants will consistently be completing certain objectives to your unique standards?
The answer, put simply, is YES!
That's because every business owner & manager has their own idea of what "right" looks like in the context of certain tasks ... and rarely will two have the same view on this. Even objective, factual information can be presented in different formats, as per your own preferences & requirements. There are basically an infinite number of variables involved, even in the most basic of tasks.
The good news is, by hiring established, experienced real estate virtual assistants, you are getting not only the work-force ... but also the proven processes & systems.
Real Life Example: Establishing Real Estate Virtual Assistant Processes
For instance, if you are hiring a company like Real Estate Virtual Assistant Services, we already have established SOPs for the majority of activities delegated to us by real estate companies. In fact, many of these Standard Operating Procedures have been developed by working with a wide array of other real estate professionals in a variety of markets ... distilling repetitive & commonly needed activities down to their universal task-lists.
Even in spite of the fact that we have our own internal SOPs for specific tasks, which we always share with clients ... these are rarely implemented "as is" without changes. At the end of the day, your real estate virtual assistants (and their task-lists) must be custom tailored, on a case-by-case basis.
In other words: it is very important for you to clearly dictate what your want your VAs to do... and leave as little to chance as is reasonably possible. By carefully establishing SOPs that both you, your VAs, and their managers can agree on, you can set your virtual assistants up for success and reap the benefits and peace of mind that highly systematized business processes bring. With thorough detail and communication, your virtual teams will be an essential component to your business success.