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How To Use A Virtual Assistant

08/12/2014
Michael Griffin, technology blog, real estate technology blog, ClientLook

You are a busy commercial real estate professional.Your time is very valuable. If you’re not careful about your technology and staffing choices, you could be wasting a big chunk of your earning potential every day.

Let’s see if you fit the profile.

Do you use a CRM? Do you update your listings online? Do you send out your own marketing emails? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s likely that you’re spending higher paying deal making time on lower paying administrative tasks. Not good.

Outsource those administrative tasks and see an immediate increase in your productivity and earning potential. How? Just delegate everything to an assistant. Easy, right? Not really. First you have to actually find an assistant. Then you have to train them. Good people aren’t cheap either, and don’t always stick around. That seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

So what do you do? Use a virtual assistant.

A virtual assistant is someone who works “virtually," which means they are not physically located at your office. They have remote access to your CRM, files and other web based tools. They are cost effective, highly skilled, reliable and easily accessible.They work for a company that ensures turnover doesn’t affect you.That’s important.

What’s all this cost? A whole lot less then you may think.The trick is choosing the right resource and the specific tasks you want to accomplish.

I have a “VA” (the trendy term for Virtual Assistant) who runs my ClientLook commercial real estate CRM. Here’s how we work together:

Getting started

I communicate with the VA team through voicemail and email.They remotely access ClientLook and literally hand transcribe data into my account based on my requests. There’s no voice recognition errors that come with automated systems.There’s no proof reading from business card scanners.These are real people, and they know how I work.

Set up my day

To clear my head each night, I leave the VA a rambling voicemail with a bunch of tasks that I want to accomplish over the next day or two.These get added to my CRM and associated to the appropriate contacts or deals. Did I call a deal by the wrong name? The VA is smart and figures it out. Everything syncs to my phone and tablet. I sleep well.

Nothing falls through the cracks

On the way to the office in the morning, I make some calls based on my task list. I dictate the outcome of these calls to my VA via voicemail and even specify follow-up dates.This information gets manually entered into the appropriate contacts. I’m ahead of the game and the day has just started. Nothing falls through the cracks.

Add business cards

After a networking lunch, I use my phone to photograph all of the business cards I collect. Normally, these pile up on my desk or end up in the trash. I email the photos to the VA. These get added to my CRM, including the personal details I wrote about my conversations. I usually add them to a new marketing group too. No more missed opportunities.

Mining my data

On the way to an afternoon meeting, I call the VA and request a report of all the contacts I know in the area of my appointment. I soon receive an email with the requested report attached. I’m in the zone and never have to stop for the necessary, but time wasting CRM maintenance. My nights and weekends are free now that I don’t have to log all this stuff. I end my day repeating the simple cycle.

Other uses

CRM is not the only application for a VA.You can hire good people for about $10/hour to do just about anything you want. I’ve heard great stories of VAs who pay bills, make travel arrangements, or even book dinner reservations. Do some research to fully understand what you’re getting.Try a Google search for “commercial real estate virtual assistant” or “virtual real estate for CRM” to see some targeted options to transform your business today.

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By: Michael Griffin

Chief Product Officer, Xceligent, Inc. 

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mgriffin

Find out more about ClientLook here: http://www.clientlook.com/

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