I spend a lot of time talking about the different types of activities you can outsource to your real estate VAs... but I was thinking today that I don't spend enough time talking about what NOT to outsource to your real estate virtual assistants.
Because, while there are plenty of tasks that are no-brainers for outsourcing... the types of tasks that you & you local teams should never do ... there are also tasks that you should avoid outsourcing at all costs.
Here's what I like to tell people:
Think of your Virtual Assistants like human computer programs.
While they are indeed human beings, with feelings & habits, hopes & fears, and decision making & problem solving skills, your Virtual Assistants do not fully understand your business. While they spend all day every day doing similar tasks for similar real estate companies, they're just following a script, an SOP, a manual. They don't see the big picture of what you're doing, and they never will.
With the right standardized, systematic processes, they can all work together as a well oiled machine, achieving results at a cost that would be unheard of with an all-local staff.
However, I hope this hints at the other side of the equation: there are certain tasks your VAs absolutely should not do! Here's a list...
Tasks You Should Not Outsource To A Virtual Assistant
- High level sales tasks.
Any activities that require fast thinking, excellent communication, competent negotiation skills, and/or that could make or break a sale based on a single interaction should be kept in-house and NOT assigned to a VA.
- Outbound marketing strategy.
While it's a great idea to outsource the leg-work of your marketing efforts (like social media, emailing, cold calling, mail campaigns, and classified posting)... when it comes to the strategic vision, and core brand messages of your company, these must come from your top decision makers, not your Virtual Assistants.
- Complex customer service roles.
VAs are great for answering the phones, directing calls, following up on messages & emails, taking notes, and fact finding... but when it comes to providing specialized answers to complex, detail oriented questions, they will always need to defer to you or someone more experienced & qualified.
- Management / leadership.
We already have at least 1 layer of management & quality control between you and the VAs. This is to make your life easier, so you don't have to keep track of things like hours logged, sick days, or whether your back-office team is properly trained. However, this added bureaucracy makes it nearly impossible to use VAs for management of your local teams other than in very superficial ways (like keeping project management software up-to-date). Management & leadership needs to emanate from your central HQ, with your offshore back-office merely following clear-cut directions & SOPs.
In all likelihood, these are mostly obvious to you.
However, I do occasionally get questions asking "Should I use my real estate virtual assistants for [x]?" or "I was thinking about using a VA for [y], but I'm a little worried... do you think it's a good idea?"
Basically, I think you should see your VAs like cogs in a machine (or like a human computer). They are great at repetitive tasks. But...
Your local staff needs to take the roles that involve fast thinking, strategic vision, and critical communications. Your VAs need to be strictly on a support role, doing the menial duties, leg work, and day-to-day time consumers.
If you keep that in mind, you will definitely find a positive ROI in your outsourcing Virtual Assistant campaigns.
Let me know if you have any questions.