Virtual Assistant For Real Estate Investors: This Best Practice Will Help You Successfully Manage a VA

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Do you know what needs to be done to grow and scale your business but JUST don’t have enough hours in the day?

Or maybe you’re spending your time getting lost in the mundane, day-to-day administrative tasks and it’s taking away from your ability to do the things that really matter in your business?

You know… like get on the phone and close deals.

A virtual assistant may be exactly what you need…

And there’s some good news for you!

In this post we’re going to be talking about how to successfully manage your virtual assistants. 

We’re going to be talking about some systems that you can build in your business to not only make the actual management and the execution of the tasks you need done more streamlined, but we’re also going to give you a little bit of transparency into the day-to-day activity of your virtual assistant for real estate investors. 

Our Marketing Director, Josh Arras, covered this topic in a training we hosted on our YouTube channel. 

You can watch the replay of the training below.

Watch this video to learn the best practices when working with a virtual assistant.

As mentioned, we’re going to be talking about building systems for successfully working with and managing virtual assistants. 

We’re going to be talking about some of the issues that people run into when trying to hire virtual assistants. 

If you’ve worked with VAs in the past, you may have some horror stories, and it’s not because virtual assistants are bad to work with. Usually, it’s because you, as the investor or the business owner, don’t have your house in order, and you’re not actually ready to bring on a virtual assistant.

This article is going to help you have more clarity on what you may actually need. It will help you put a process in place to find the perfect VA for that part of your business and then we’ll discuss how to build some systems for actually managing that. 

The Best Practice To Successfully Manage a Virtual Assistant For Real Estate Investors

The first thing we’re going to discuss is defining your roles and expectations.

A lot of times, people want to hire a virtual assistant to do four or five different things in their business, and you’re just setting yourself up for failure. There’s not many virtual assistants that’ll really be able to do that, and we’ll talk about why that is. 

The second thing we’re going to discuss is building the systems needed for the job.  

And number three is tracking success and managing access. If you’re using REI BlackBook you can easily do this, and some other systems probably allow you to do this as well. If they don’t, that’s an issue. But you should be able to control what part of your tools that your virtual assistants or any employees, for that matter, have access to, and we’ll talk about that.

1. Define Your Roles And Expectations For A Virtual Assistant

Let’s chat about some possible job rules for virtual assistants.

List of possible job roles for a virtual assistant for real estate investors
These are some possible job roles for a virtual assistant for real estate investors.

This is definitely not everything virtual assistants can do, but these are some of the most popular job roles and responsibilities that investors like to hire virtual assistants for. 

The first one is going to be inside sales. So this would be folks that are taking your inbound calls. They’re screening calls, and they are making sure that you only speak to qualified leads. 

Lead management, so after the lead comes in, you can manage the relationship with your leads.  So a virtual assistant can help you with follow-up, help you set appointments, things like that. 

Virtual assistants can help with general marketing. Some examples would be setting up your direct mail, managing the relationship with maybe some marketing vendors that you have, whether it be pay per click vendors or Facebook Ads. Maybe you’re using a direct mail house, but having somebody to manage your marketing to make sure it’s going out on time, cleaning up your lists, things like that. Virtual assistants are great for tasks like this.

Data entry, property research, so running comps and giving you high-level research on properties. If a lot of deals are coming across your desk, this can be a bottleneck. 

Skip tracing, bookkeeping, there’s some virtual bookkeeping services out there. You might not hire just a regular VA to run your books, but there are virtual bookkeeping services. 

And then property marketing and dispositions. So you could have a virtual assistant solely responsible for getting all the photos together, writing property descriptions, making sure that’s all added to your website, making sure your single property websites are up and running, making sure that property is being marketed to your cash buyer’s list or your tenant waiting list.

If you’re doing fix and flips, you’ve probably got some sort of a Facebook following or a website where you’re going to put your retail heavy properties,  or putting them up on the MLS if you’re a realtor and you have access to the MLS. Property marketing and disposition is a big bottleneck for a lot of investors at any sort of scale.

Tenant screening and tenant servicing, so tenant screening on the front end, making sure that background checks are run. And then tenant servicing, managing inbound maintenance requests, rent payments, tasks like that.

The first mistake that a lot of investors make is they try to find one, maybe two virtual assistants that can do all of these jobs. You need to step back and realize that virtual assistants, while they don’t sit in your office, they are human beings. 

You would never hire somebody in your office to do all seven, eight, or nine of these things, so why would you think you’d be able to hire a virtual assistant to do it?

And we get it. You just think, “Well …” And a lot of times, virtual assistants will tell you, “Yeah, I can do this, this, this, and this.” But trying to put all of that on one person’s plate is really hard to do. 

A virtual assistant is not just somebody that sits overseas and helps you with your business. They’re a member of your team. They are either a full-time or part-time member of your team, and they should be treated like that.

How To Find The Right Virtual Assistant For The Job 

Another thing that you need to do is you need to define the role

So you need to say, “Okay, if I’m going to go out and find an inside sales rep, I need help with my inside sales and fielding all of these inbound calls. What does that look like?” So we’re going to talk about how to find the right VA for the job. 

This is really for anything, whether you’re hiring a virtual assistant or you’re going to hire somebody to actually sit in your office as a full-time, W-2 employee. You need to first sit down and define the role of the job. 

You then need to write a detailed job description and explain what a day in the life would look like for somebody in that position.

You want to make sure that you’re weeding out people. If you’re expecting them to make 100 dials a day, and you don’t tell them that upfront and they get there, and the first thing you tell them is, “Alright, get the phone, smile, and dial,” and they don’t want to do that, you’re going to have high turnover in that position. 

That takes a lot of time, and energy, and effort, and there’s a lot of opportunity cost there. So you want to make sure that you write a detailed description and explain what a day in the life is going to look like.

You also want to define what success will look like for that job role, for yourself, and for the person that you’re hiring. People like to know if they’re doing a good job. 

And you don’t have to necessarily put this in your job description, but you want to know before you hire somebody what success is going to look like. 

Is it talking to 20 sellers a day or 20 sellers a week? Is it helping book 10 appointments per week? It gives you a goal post and a checkpoint so you know that the person you hire is doing their job, and they know that they’re doing their job. 

And then, finally, you want to reach out to virtual assistant firms or post your job description on some VA job boards, and then conduct interviews and give test projects. Some virtual assistant hiring firms will allow you to give their virtual assistants a quick project to make sure that you’re going to work well together. 

If they allow you to do that, I would definitely take them up on that. The best way to see if somebody is going to fit in your business is to actually put them in your business, and put them to work, and see how they perform. 

2. Build The Systems Needed For The Job

What we want to talk about next is one of the requests we get most often. And that is talking about and helping our users, our investors, set up lead intake and management systems so they can then plug their virtual assistant or a call answering service into this system. 

In another blog post, we talked about how to work with call answering services. It’s very similar. And this is just an example of one function that you would hire a virtual assistant to do, and you would go through this same process for any position that you’re trying to hire.

So this would be somebody that you’re trying to hire that is going to be responsible for fielding all of your inbound inquiries, all of your inbound leads for motivated sellers.  The reason that you’d want to have somebody dedicated to doing this, and right now, if you’re doing this and you’re not doing it effectively, you’re 100% leaving money on the table because leads are falling through the cracks. 

Typically, you’re going to generate leads one of two ways, usually, either an inbound call or a website lead. Now you might be doing cold calling or cold texting, and that’s fine. People are still responding. 

They’re either answering the phone, or they’re responding to a text message, which is still a response. 

At the end of the day, what you’re trying to do is get somebody to do a qualifying sales call. Everything leads, no matter what marketing channel you’re doing, everything leads to a qualifying sales call. You want to have somebody there that can take that call within the first five minutes of somebody inquiring. 

Whether they’re calling in, and if you don’t answer, you can call them back. If they’re calling in, somebody should be there to answer your phone, but if not, you’re calling them back in five minutes or less.

If they go to your website and they submit a form, or they come in through a Facebook Lead Ad, somebody on your team, in this example, a virtual assistant, needs to be notified immediately so they can follow up with that person within five minutes. 

So again, this is just one way that you could work with a virtual assistant. 

This is an example. If there’s a different part of your business that you’d like virtual assistants to help with, you would still go through the same process. You would outline what you want the process to look like and then go find the perfect person for that process. 

A lot of times, people will just hire somebody, and they’ll work with their skillset. It’s like, “Well, they’re not really that good on the phone, but I need them to be good on the phone.”

Well, you hired the wrong person because all the processes weren’t properly defined. 

Where would a virtual assistant fit into this lead intake and management flow?

Diagram of lead intake and management process with arrows pointing to where you can plug a virtual assistant in for your real estate investing business.
The blue arrows indicate the places you can easily have a virtual assistant handle tasks.

A virtual assistant will fit into the flow everywhere there is a blue arrow in the graphic above.

They’ll fit in the “Missed Call” sequence. You can set up your system so when a missed call comes in your virtual assistant gets notified of the missed call, so they can call that person back immediately. 

They’re going to conduct the initial qualifying sales call, so this would just be them screening a call to say, “Hey, is this a legitimate lead or not?”. And then they’re going to fill out the intake form, and we discuss how to create an intake form in another blog post. So if you want to see how to do that, you can check out the blog post here.

With this intake form, you can have a drop-down based on the typical three to four scenarios that will happen. 

  • They’ve got a house to sell, but they’re just window shopping. 
  • They’ve got a house to sell, and they’re super motivated, and they need to sell right away.
  • They’ve got a house to sell, but maybe it’s going to take a little bit more convincing. 
  • Maybe they’re calling, and they’re telling you to take them off your list. 

You can  pre-build nurture sequences based on those different scenarios. 

If somebody calls in and they’re like, “Hey, I’m not ready, but you can follow up with me in six months,” well, then you can have a pre-built nurture sequence in place. And all your virtual assistant has to do is use that drop-down and say that this is a yellow lead. 

You would define your different scenarios ahead of time. So when your virtual assistant selects that scenario from the drop-down that lead is  going to automatically be put in that pre-built nurture sequence, and whenever they come back and they’re ready to talk, we get them back to your qualifying sales call. And now, hopefully, they’re actually ready.

3. Track Success And Manage Access For A Virtual Assistant 

A couple of other things that we get a lot of questions about is how do I track the performance of my virtual assistant? How do I know they’re actually doing their job? 

If you’re using REI BlackBook, again, some other systems may have this, there is a team portal built directly in, so you can add team members. 

If you were to hire a virtual assistant tomorrow, REI BlackBook would allow you to easily add them to your account. You can also how often they’re logging in, if they’re making outbound calls, or if they’re receiving inbound calls. 

The team portal allows you to go through their task list to see if they’re checking off their tasks. You can go and you can look at the notes that they’re creating inside of your contact records. You get total transparency into the performance of your team. 

Screenshot of the team portal inside REI BlackBook
REI BlackBook has a team portal so you can easily manage your team members.

It doesn’t matter if they’re a virtual assistant or if they’re a W-2 employee sitting in your office, you’re going to want to know that they’re doing their job.

You can track their performance, and you can also manage their access to the different tools that you have. 

In the graphic below, you can see this team member has access to contacts, but they can’t export contacts, and they can’t delete contacts. 

They can edit them to add notes or update email addresses, update phone numbers, they can do that. 

They can add contacts, they can import contacts, but they can’t take anything with them.

Screenshot of the permission settings  for team members inside REI BlackBook
REI BlackBook allows you to control the permissions of team members, so you can control what they have access to.

Having the ability to control the permissions of team members allows you to avoid having a disgruntled employee or a disgruntled virtual assistant going in and wreaking havoc inside of your account. 

In this example this team member doesn’t have access to web tools either. So they don’t have access to the website. You may think you’d want to allow a team member, employee or virtual assistant, to have access to make changes if needed, but we caution against giving them access. 

The last thing you want to happen is for them to get upset about something, and go in and delete your website. That would be really bad, so you’d want to turn that access off.

REI BlackBook allows you to have pretty deep granularity, so you can turn different parts of the tool on and off for team members. 

At this point, we’ve talked about how to really think about hiring a virtual assistant, how to make sure that you really define the role. 

Now, if you were going to go out and hire a virtual assistant, how would you actually add them to your account? 

How would you manage their day-to-day? 

In the training we hosted on this topic, Josh gets into REI BlackBook and shows you exactly how to do this. You can also learn how to do this by reviewing the My Team section in our support center.

Whatever software you are using should allow you to add them to your account, and manage their day-to-day fairly easily. 

This was a lot of information so to recap… 

We talked about making sure that you define your roles and set proper expectations. And it doesn’t really matter if this is a virtual assistant or a W-2 hire that sits in your office. You need to define the roles and set proper expectations to ensure that you get the right person.

If you define the role properly and you write the job description in the right way, the person that doesn’t fit that job is not going to apply. If it says you’re responsible for making 100 dials a day, somebody that does not want to get on the phone all day is not going to apply for that job. 

As a business owner, it takes a lot of time to interview and hire. It would be better to interview less people that are more qualified and not have to deal with turnover for that position. Instead of the opposite where you’re interviewing a bunch of different types of people because you didn’t properly define the job role.

Now you’ve got 25 people that replied to your job posting, and it’s like, “How do I filter through these?” 

At least if you’re super specific in your job’s description, you know people that are applying qualify. 

No, they might not have the background, but they, at least in their mind, are ready to do the job if they get it. 

Then you need to build systems. 

You really need to build the processes first, and then go in and build the systems to just plug a virtual assistant in.

Do you have a call system set up? All you then need to do is forward calls to the virtual assistant instead of having to build the system after they get hired. 

That makes onboarding really difficult, so you need to build the systems needed for the job.  ‘

And finally, you need to have processes and systems in place for checking success and managing the access to your business. Less is more in this case. They need access to complete the job they were hired to do, and that’s it. 

If you are interested in learning more about getting your systems dialed in, so you can just plug a virtual assistant into your business check out The Seller Acquisition Workflow Map. It’s a free training that is very similar to the lead intake and management process discussed earlier in this post. And it will show you how to build a predictable process and a system for converting more of your leads into deals.

And after reading this article if you still think having a virtual assistant isn’t necessary or you can’t afford one, we ask you to think about it this way…

If one call goes unanswered, and that call would have led to a deal… How much is your average deal worth, $5,000, $10,000, $15,000? One extra deal can pay for a virtual assistant or a service like PATLive for six months to a year, to two years, depending on how much you’re paying for that service. 

And it takes that burden off your plate and frees you up to do what you’re best at. Which is probably negotiating with sellers, structuring deals, and sourcing capital for your business, so you can reach the financial freedom that you’ve been working so hard for!

Kelsey Beckering

Kelsey Beckering

Kelsey Beckering is the Community Manager at REI BlackBook. She started off on the Customer Service team and took a special interest in the Facebook group, so she was given a chance to make some changes, and it paid off. There is more energy, more help, more inspiration, and more learning happening in the group every single day. Outside of her role as the Community Manager, Kelsey is continuing to grow her role in the marketing department, writing articles just like the one your reading now. When she’s not working Kelsey enjoys taking her dog, Tyson, for hikes in her free time. She also enjoys a good Netflix binge every now and then.