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VA’s Aren’t Just for Spreadsheets (Here’s How I Use Them To Bring Me Leads)

by Ken Corsini on December 19, 2013 · 10 comments

  
Virtual Assistants Real Estate

For years, I’ve used virtual assistants (VA’s) for small, mundane tasks that required very little skill. I imagine when most people think about using a VA in their business, it’s usually limited to very simple projects that don’t require much, if any training. While there is nothing wrong with this, I’ve recently become more attuned to the fact that there are many VA’s out there that can be given much more responsibility.

For those investors who haven’t ventured into the world of VA’s yet, what are you waiting for? Hiring capable labor for $3 dollars an hour is now at your fingertips via websites like Odesk and Elance (I also like Freelancer for more technical projects). I don’t care if you’re doing 10 deals a year or 100 …. there are always tasks that can be delegated off of your plate and and onto a VA’s for a third of what you might pay a part-time employee in the U.S.

Once you begin working VA’s and find one that you like, you’ll quickly discover that your level of confidence in what they can do will increase. The more familiar they become with you and your business, the more productive they become and the more responsibility you can give them. I find myself brainstorming with folks in my office about all of the different ways we can utilize our VA’s to help us find more properties.

Related: Using a Virtual Assistant in Your Real Estate Investing Business

Using VAs Vs. Telemarketers

As of right now, I’ve got multiple VA’s that spend close to 10 hours a day doing nothing but calling different lists to drum up potential motivated seller leads. With tools like Skype that enable anybody in the world to call a U.S. number, creating a telemarketer is easier than ever. In regards to what lists you want your VA’s to call through, the sky is the limit. I’ve got some calling through Craigslist ads, others calling expired listings, and some even researching and calling owners of vacant properties. They don’t have to speak perfect English, they just need to talk to somebody long enough to determine whether they have any interest in selling a property. Once the VA turns up a lead, we can then reach out to that lead and do the heavy lifting ourselves.

While creating a telemarketing team may sound intriguing, I’ve got a friend who has actually trained VA’s to run comps and make offers on properties for him. That’s right, his business has become so automated with VA’s, he’s almost completely hands off. While this may sound appealing, I can tell you from experience that hiring a VA is only going to be as good as the systems you put in place.

Related: 5 Marketing Tasks That Can Be Outsourced to Virtual Assistants (VAs)

Create Systems, Document, and Train

The trick to utilizing VA’s to the fullest extent is creating the system up front and the training around that system. If you take the time to document and implement your systems, your VA is going to be that much more productive. Teaching a VA to make phone calls is really not hard if you give them a clearly defined script to follow. Also, if you’ve done a good job documenting the training for the job, it’s much easier to add VA’s or replace a VA if the need arises. I suggest recording your training sessions in something like GoToWebinar so that you have a recorded copy to give to any new VA’s (without having to spend the time training them yourself all over again).

So what kinds of tasks do you do now that can be turned over to a VA? Or, even better, how much are you paying that assistant or part-time employee to do work that could probably be handled by a VA? If you haven’t taken the time to explore this cheap and very capable labor force, what are you waiting for?

Photo: kugel

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandon December 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Very interesting post, Ken! For a long time I viewed VA’s as sort of a trendy 4HWW thing that would potentially create a bunch of headaches. In the last few years we have been using them in our non-RE business with great success so I’ve changed my tune.

Curious — have you quantified your ROI and cost per lead (and, in the end, how much it costs you per deal)? What do you typically pay per hour for someone that can speak decent enough English to make calls?

Reply

Ken Corsini December 20, 2013 at 8:21 am

Great questions Brandon. I haven’t been working with VA’s long enough to put an ROI on it yet – give me about year. I’m spending 3 dollars an hour and using 4 full-time VA’s right now. It’s basically like getting 4 workers for the price of 1.

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Gerald Harris December 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Several Months ago I was turned on to Odesk. My first few experiences using a VA was not good. As time went on, I began to realize 2 things I was doing wrong. First, I did not have a set system or plan in place on how to use the VA. I would simply tell the VA to do something and they did it several times but was not consistent. Second, I went after the “Cheapest” priced VA who would respond to my ad. Huge Mistake. While going through the hiring process you want to make sure you check out the VA’s feedback and see if they have any kind of experience. Many will waste your time. I learned from my mistakes and have since had a great experience with a VA that has done wonders for my business. Great Article!

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Ken Corsini December 20, 2013 at 8:23 am

Gerald – you are spot on … there are definitely some VA’s that are better than others and it may mean trying out a few different ones before you find one that you like. Also, it is CRITICAL that they have very good instructions and a system to follow if you want to get the most out of them.

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Diana Cruz December 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Great Article on VA’s. A VA is a experience professional at there field of service and they to run a business. So I am happy to hear that you are giving your VA’s more responsibility with your businesses work load.

Thank you for promoting the Virtual Assistants of the world.

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Ken Corsini December 20, 2013 at 8:24 am

Thanks for the post Diana – glad you appreciate VA’s as much as I do :)

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Martin December 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Great post Ken.

Could you please elaborate on how your VA is able to uncover vacant properties within your geography?

Thank you!

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Susan Cain December 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I’d like to add another vote in favor of VAs. I initially hired a Fillippino VA to build a website. Three years later she manages 3 websites, handling all the SEO and FB for those sites. I do Linkedin myself. Unlike local VAs who thought they were smarter than I was, and insisted on doing it their own way, my wonderful VA, recognizes that we complement one another. Nothing goes on my website without my approval. However, the technical stuff is her domain. We have enjoyed an excellent relationship that works for us both.

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Shaun December 25, 2013 at 6:07 am

Great article.
One of my goals this year is to develop more defined and well documented systems so I can better delegate and outsource tasks.
Need to get on the VA train! :)

I appreciate the talk on some pitfalls of screening and finding good ones.

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Jeff January 20, 2014 at 11:58 pm

I have been using a VA for a couple of months now. His tasks are to email a script to all the fsbo’s on craigslist and other sites. I’ve tried using him to post ads all over cl but cl deletes them instantly and I haven’t figured out how to over come that. I would like to use him for other tasks that can generate leads from motivated sellers, can you share how or what kind of systems you use as mentioned above?

Thanks

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