Episode 402: How to Hire the Right Real Estate Virtual Assistants 2023

Episode Timeline

On the 402nd episode of Mail-Right Show, Jonathan Denwood and Robert Newman discussed hiring virtual assistants for real estate agents and the tools they can theoretically utilize. The episode also shared tips on how to assess and identify the right people for the job and ensure seamless integration into the team. Robert Newman is the founder and CEO of Inbound REM, an inbound marketing agency, and has over a decade of experience in the real estate SEO industry. On the other hand, Jonathan Denwood is the creator and CEO of Mail Right, a platform that offers CRM and IDX Websites that get you more quality leads.

Searching and Writing a Job Description For Virtual Assistant

There are many places where you can hire an incredibly proactive, dedicated, and talented virtual assistant for five or six dollars. These virtual assistants can edit, tag, or post all your pictures for you. In some cases, you can hire a decent video editor for under $8 an hour, which is $50 or $60 an hour in the United States.

When looking for a virtual assistant, you should be clear on what you are looking for and your priorities, and you must have an onboarding process; otherwise, problems may occur.

You should put an effort into the job description before searching for people to hire. If you are going to post a job hiring ad, write it like what you would do in the U.S. with a very detailed job description and hourly rate.

To get an idea of how to write a detailed job description, you can look at how other people write their job descriptions on Upwork and similar platforms. You can also use AI to help you write it. If you can’t write a decent job description, you will be in trouble because it might not work well.

Suppose you want to hire someone overseas with a five-star rating. In that case, you can put on the job description you are looking for, such as someone who speaks fluently in English and has a solid track record.

When you write a job description, use bullet points and clearly state that they will do the who, what, when, why, and where of the position. Job descriptions should be direct, detailed, and broken up into bullet points.

It’s also beneficial to invest time in building a solid online profile on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork when looking for staff. With five-star ratings and people looking for your company, people will die to work for you at whatever rate you tell them.

Hiring Process For Virtual Assistant

Instead of putting the job out for people to come to you, you can reach out to them and go for the upper level of Upwork. Go for someone who got between four to five stars and has actual written reviews that don’t seem to be made up.
Reading every review and taking time for an interview will help you during your hiring process. When reading reviews online, be cautious if all the reviews are perfect. It’s better to see some slightly negative feedback, as this can provide a more realistic review. If they had a disagreement and handled it well, that’s a good sign. It’s more informative to see how they respond to a not-so-great review than just a bunch of five-star ratings.

It’s also beneficial to invest time in building a solid online profile on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork when looking for staff. With five-star ratings and people looking for your company, people will die to work for you at whatever rate you tell them.

When you find someone to hire, do an initial Zoom meeting with them. Some people will rip you off, so it is suggested that you look for quality people and make them step through the multistep interview process. Towards the second or third steps, you can tell them you want them to learn something and will test them.

When you take somebody on board, tell them upfront that you will try them for the work for a week to see their performance. Pay them for the learning and pay them as well for the test. Tell them it is paid, but they need to understand that you are looking and examining their work, and if it does not measure up, you will not keep them. Another way is to let them do the task and pay them half for the first month upfront, then pay the half at the end of the month. But remember that you should also be reasonably generous, as some of the resources you will get are from third-world countries that rely on your income.

One thing to point out is that the warning signs are there from the first interaction during the interview. Many things can make a person appealing. But in most cases, unless the person is a total sociopath, an expert liar, or a narcissist, the person’s true nature is usually quite evident. It’s just that the observer may choose not to see it. If you have experience hiring people, you become better at spotting these traits.

Once people join your team, you can give them a detailed step-by-step video of their tasks. The people you hire can watch the videos, and they will be generally properly trained. They can also reach out to your people for direct input through Slack, and often, there are rarely any questions. When you provide new hires with direct and detailed information, they often offer competitive quotes.

Project Management Tools

When hiring virtual assistants, what project management tools would you give them to manage tasks? If you hire a virtual assistant, be ready and aware that you should be able to hire them with project management tools. You must describe the task, and that you have done the task at least once, so you know what you want it to be done. The very minute you start telling anybody at any price what you think you want done, but you have no idea how to do it, you’re in trouble.

The three management tools many use are Notion, Monday, and ClickUp. Notion is an extremely popular management tool, and you can do many different things, but it can be complicated to understand.

Other management tools are FreedCamp, BaseCamp, and Team Projects. Base Camp is a good project management tool. Team Projects, on the other hand, is a higher-level tool that extends deeper into the area of organization. It’s navigatable and clickable but has a complicated dashboard.

Choosing a project management tool will depend on your circumstances. You can choose to use Slack or email, but if you’re going to be serious about using some project management tool, you need something a bit more than an email.

Prospecting and Time-Saving

Prospecting and tasks that are time-saving are two different buckets, and they attract two types of people, whether you search for them domestically or offshore. It’s essential to recognize that they belong to separate categories and shouldn’t be mixed too much. But if you want someone who can do both, you need someone with experience, and you must be ready to pay them more.
Sometimes, you will find that some resources have multiple skill sets. For example, Robert Newnan’s head of overseas operations started as a lead chaser for him. He began in Boundary, calling the 800 contacts from Robert’s real estate marketing and sales and account executive work for over seven years. After weeks, he started to ask Rober if he could do other stuff. This implies how important it is to figure out every single task you can offload to somebody who’s a much less expensive resource, images, video editing, or anything related to a transaction that’s not critical.

If someone else can do a task for you, it’s a good idea to have them do it, but you might not always find one person who can do everything you need. Reading and editing emails are perfectly possible from people from other countries, but maybe not the same person who will be the salesperson following up with your leads, like calling, like an ISA. However, if ever you find a resource that tells you they can and then starts to step up, don’t slow them down just because you think that they can do one bucket’s worth of stuff. Try them out and see because some people can do many things.

Final Thoughts

When hiring new team members, whether it’s you or someone on your team making the decision, it’s a big commitment. Over time, their value to the company should be tenfold what you invest in them.

However, when bringing in new talent, it’s crucial to ensure their work meets the desired quality and effort standards. For instance, there was a situation when a company hired a promising coder from Pakistan. At first, he appeared to be a great addition to the team, impressing both the company’s leader and the lead developer. However, it was later discovered that a significant portion of his work, around 80%, was done using an auto-clicker on his keyboard. He wasn’t accurately tracking his time, and upon closer examination, it became evident that he relied on the auto-clicker because he didn’t possess the skills to complete the tasks manually. This example highlights the importance of thorough evaluation when bringing new team members on board.

If you have specific processes you want to do, it is crucial to provide videos and notes to give to people you will hire. Many agents hire both domestic and virtual assistants. However, they often run into problems because they don’t provide any guidance or training. This can lead to issues and mistakes. It’s crucial to remember that the quality of results will be based on the quality of your input at the beginning of the process.

Doing all this work upfront absolutely saves time in the long run, improves the quality of my results, makes people stick with me longer, and does everything that you want.

It would help if you did the same for your real estate business, whether it’s chasing leads, publishing images, handling communication like standard mundane day-to-day communication with clients, arranging your appointments, managing your calendar. If you aren’t thinking of a way you can use a virtual assistant, you need to think harder.

Suppose you’re starting to get traction as a real estate agent. In that case, you should hire a virtual assistant earlier than later and find one who can work with you to build some relationships since you could find yourself later on with so many clients that you’re not sure how to handle them all.