Two years ago, with a full-time transaction coordinator, one showing assistant, a buyer agent and a listing agent, The Incorvaia Team was looking for options to help them with the day-to-day upkeep of their real estate business. Then they heard about virtual assistants at Keller Williams Realty’s Family Reunion. “It was a huge ‘aha’ moment for us,” says Mike Incorvaia Jr. whose mother, Sylvia Incorvaia, and father, Mike Incorvaia, lead their real estate team. “The moment we got back home, we hired our first VA.”
We asked Mike to share his insights on using a Virtual Assistant to get more done, buy back time and grow their team.
KW Blog: How did you find your virtual assistant?
Mike Incorvaia Jr.: During Family Reunion several panelists recommended virtual assistant companies. We chose MyOutDesk.
KWB: How many hours per week does your Virtual Assistant work?
MIJ: We started out with 10-to-15 hours. We are now at 25 and are considering moving to 30-40 per week.
KWB: What type of services does your Virtual Assistant handle for your team?
MIJ: Our Virtual Assistant services run the gamut. She writes SEO-optimized blog posts on real estate which includes local events that have given us first-page positioning on Google. She created an amazing listing presentation for our iPads, posts on Craigslist through eEdge with Market Leader Professional Edition, has made fantastic updates on our WordPress site and generates most of our fliers, as well as promotional and marketing materials. We were excited when we found out that she could create custom designed backdrops for our Twitter, YouTube and Facebook pages. She also handles database entry and management.
KWB: How do you communicate with her?
KWB: You’re outsourcing very specific activities. What is your team now capable of accomplishing?
MIJ: Marketing materials and Website updates that would have taken a person in our office one to two weeks now takes our Virtual Assistant four hours. From a growth standpoint, we’ve been able to attract mega agents to our team because our Virtual Assistant is there to help them get their Website and database up-and-running immediately. That adds tremendous value to our team.
KWB: How do you hold your virtual assistant accountable?
MIJ: I have a weekly set of tasks assigned for each day for her to follow to meet our team's needs. She has never missed a deadline or not completed a project to our satisfaction.
KWB: How many assistants do you need on a real estate team?
MIJ: If you have a large team, you need three: a great executive assistant, a part-time administrative assistant and a VA for the tasks that don’t necessarily have to be done in the office.
KWB: What advice would you give a solo agent interested in hiring a virtual assistant?
MIJ: Get one if you have the means to! Have a plan laid out that incorporates your vision, your long-term strategy, and the results you seek to gain with her help. If you merely tell them what to do day-by-day, they will run out of tasks.
KWB: How do you compensate her?
MIJ: We pay her weekly through PayPal at $7 per hour. I have seen Virtual Assistants range from $4-$7 per hour.
KWB: What is the return on investment for a Virtual Assistant?
MIJ: This has been one of the best moves we have ever made! The Incorvaia Team finished 2011 with more than 121 units and $17.8 million in volume. Our VA and our Internet strategy combined with team building and social media have taken us to a new level.