There comes a point in growing your business operations when you won’t be able to keep doing what you’re doing alone. Many successful entrepreneurs are now hiring their very own virtual assistant so that their business can keep going even when they’re not around, and they’re focusing on much more important tasks. Scott Carson is joined by Bob Lachance, the founder and CEO of REVA Global LLC, the premiere virtual assistant staffing company. Scott and Bob discuss some of the best practices in hiring and training a virtual assistant for your business. It’s been said that, “If you are not working to get your business or investing operations to run without you, you are thinking too small,” so make sure you can get your operations to that point with the help of a virtual assistant!
Listen to the podcast here:
Best Practices In Hiring And Training A Virtual Assistant With Bob Lachance
You are in for a treat with this guy who’s joined us. He was a guest in the Note Closers Show before. It has a tremendous number of downloads. I’ve got a lot of positive feedback from it. He is the cohost of the Friday Coffee Break with a couple of other friends of mine. He is the Founder and CEO of REVA Global LLC. He’s been a long-time real estate investor and mentor. He got started doing a lot of stuff with our friend, Patrick Precourt, doing short sales and investing all across the country. He’s got the scars to talk about. Hopefully, we don’t get back to those days of short sales again. He’s a former eight-year professional hockey player. He is a marketing and virtual assistant expert. First of all, why don’t you talk about how you got into it or you got in there already? You have a great background, coming in like a fish out of cold water, getting into investing, learning to do things, and how you’ve built REVA from your experience.
I started back in 2004 in real estate investing. You mentioned Pat Precourt. I was fortunate to meet him when I got into real estate. Prior to that, I played professional hockey for eight years, four years here in the US, and then four years in Europe. In 2004, I decided to retire from hockey. I left school early prior to that too back in 1996 because I got offered a professional contract, two classes short from getting a degree. I decided, “Either I take $110,000 signing bonus or finish school. I decided I was a young kid at that time. I took the money and I jumped into professional sports. Fast forward eight years, I decided either to go back to school and/or jump into an industry where you didn’t need a college degree.
I figured I would jump into real estate, which you do not need a college degree. Everybody knows it’s very easy to get into real estate investing, zero barriers of entry. At that time, I was fortunate. My first deal I did a flip. I was driving around neighborhood farming areas. I ended up making about $32,000. That’s when I met my friend, Pat Precourt, who ended up being my business partner for several years. Also one of my cohosts with Amy Ransdell of our Friday Coffee Break every Friday at 10:00 AM EST. From there, we started doing short sales. He and I did probably approximately over 700 short-sale transactions.
We also helped coordinate and start a mentor program that revolved around short sales. From that, we helped start another real estate education company. We’re focused on the fulfillment side, which is the coaching and mentoring side. From that, investing and also realizing a huge need working with over 20,000 students, not only in our own real estate business but also within investors around the world. We realized there’s a huge need for a hired help that is affordable. Pat and I were brainstorming the whole time.
We’re helping run the coaching program. We’re saying, “We need a service or some product that will help individuals, whether they’re brand new or they’re seasoned, do tasks in their business to help.” A lot of these individuals that were coaching students of ours either worked part-time or were hugely busy in their own real estate business. In 2013, I got introduced to the virtual assistant world. True disclosure, I never even knew what a virtual assistant was back in 2013. I saw a webinar on virtual assistants. I’m like, “This is exactly what I need.”
I tested my first virtual assistant. I went through the pains of trying to find one. In 2014, a light bulb went off and I said, “There’s a huge need out there. This is a great business model.” I had to figure out how to start a new virtual assistant company that was based out of an international company. My company is based out in the Philippines. We use all Philippine virtual assistants. I had to figure out how to run a global company. In 2014, I tested it for a year, two years. Proof of concept works. Fast forward a few years, it’s up and running and going very well.
Thank you for inviting me here, Scott. Scott asked me to join to put on a little training in reference to the keys to hiring and training virtual assistants. I get this question every day. I know Scott has gotten this question a lot so he figured, “Let’s get together and show everyone a number of things on where to find VAs, how to find VAs, and what to outsource first.” I’ll do an overview of this. The first question I get all the time is, what’s the first thing I do when I’m looking for a virtual assistant? I like breaking it down into the four Rs of hiring. For those of you who’ve ever known me, I’m very transparent on a lot of stuff.
I learned the four Rs of hiring. I did it a lot like this, but it wasn’t the four Rs of hiring. I did take a little bit of this from other people. I did get a lot of these ideas around on how to present this. The four Rs of hiring are role, responsibility, requirements and results. Whenever you’re looking for a virtual assistant, I’ll break it down and this is important. The first one is the roles. You have to make sure you know the exact role that you’re looking to bring somebody on for. Whether it’s somebody sitting in your office, whether it’s somebody virtual, whether it’s a virtual assistant from my company, wherever it is, we have to make sure that we know the exact role that you want to bring that person on for.
You may ask, “What do you mean by that?” If I’m looking at my business and I say, “I need a bookkeeper or I need a cold caller.” If you look at the exact role that you want in your business, be crystal clear on what that role is because bookkeeper and a cold caller are two different separate roles on the total opposite spectrum. The reason why I’m using those two as an example is because I’ve had clients come to me and say, “I need a cold caller,” and then all of a sudden, they started using the virtual assistant as well to do books. Those two things do not match. That’s two different types of personality skillsets with any individual. Make sure you’re crystal clear on what that role is. If it’s a cold caller, make sure it’s a cold caller. If you want someone to scrape leads online, they don’t have to talk on the phone, that’s somebody who’s going to scrape leads online, whether it’s Craigslist, Zillow, or for sale by owner.
Next is responsibilities. It has to do with the task from that role. Let’s go with a cold caller because that’s the most common one that we see a virtual assistant doing any type of phone work. First, my job description is going to be an individual who is on the phone all day long. Responsibility, what exactly does that mean? That means you’re going to have to write down and itemize every single task that you want your virtual assistant to do. If you want your virtual assistant to cold call, then you’re going to have to write out the tasks that you want them to do.
For instance, if you also want them to pull lists from your database, you want them to skip trace, you want them to upload that list to your phone system, and then you want them to start dialing every single day. Those would be the tasks that you’d want to write out step by step. I’ll give you an example. I’m going to go to PropStream and go into all of their leads lists. I’m going to click on out of state owners. I’m going to download that list and get it to skip trace. I’m going to take that list and export it. I’m going to formulate it into the right format and then upload it into my dialer. Some of you may be saying, “What kind of dialers do you use?” We have two different dialers I use in my office. One of them is Five9. I have an outbound dialer company called Deal Dialers that dial all day long. In-house, I have a dialer called smrtPhone. It works well. I use two different types of dialers if that’s what you’re thinking in your mind. The virtual assistant logs in, hit the dialer, and dials all day long. The idea is at that point, the virtual assistant is to get a warm lead on the phone. These are all cold calls.
When you’re writing out your responsibilities, it’s step by step. Once they get ahold of somebody and they determine the motivation, they’re going to fill out a form. As soon as it gets filled out, it automatically gets emailed over to me and my acquisition team. Those are the tasks and responsibilities that we’re talking about. Now requirements, what types of unique skillsets and knowledge do you want your cold caller to have? Do you want them to have call center experience? Do you want them to have a four-year college degree? Do you want them to have a neutral accent, English proficiency is very good, strong communication skills, etc.? Do you want them part-time, full-time? At that time, you’re going to lay out your requirements on what you want.
To reiterate that, we identify that we want a cold caller, then we identify the responsibilities, then we identify the requirements that are needed. Finally, you want to look at the results. What results do we expect from a cold caller? How many calls do you want them to call? How many connects do you want them to connect per day? How many leads do you want them to generate per day? To give you a rule of thumb, if you have a full-time virtual assistant, anyone, even an American virtual assistant, you’re going to get around the same numbers. I know people may debate me on this. I’ve tested it a lot. You’re going to get about 1 to 3 per day. At the end of the week, you could get at least five interested in sales is what we call them.
Our virtual assistants are hammering the phones all day long. As soon as they get someone that picks up their phone, that’s a connect rate. When they talk to them, they determine yes, are they open to entertaining an offer? That’s what we consider a warm lead, an ITS, an Interest To Sell lead. You will get anywhere from 5 to 15 per week from one virtual assistant. That’s going to be your range. I’m going to go off on a tangent here, Scott. It all depends too on the type of data that you have, the list that you’re hitting, and how good your phone numbers are.
The cleaner and the more accurate the list, the better the phone calls. The more specific in what you want them to do, the more success you’re going to have and the higher quality of a lead you’re going to have.
There are a lot of different skip trace services. There are ones that are not good. There are ones that are better than them. Just so everybody knows, what we do in our skip trace is we look for the highest probability phone number for that one contact. We don’t skip trace for ten numbers. It’s a mix of mobile phones and a mix of landline phones. That’s what you’re going to get there. That’s considered skip tracing if you’re thinking about what is skip tracing. That’s my definition of skip tracing. To reiterate this, you’ve got your roles, responsibilities, requirements, and results. That’s what you’re looking for when you’re looking to hire a virtual assistant.
I’m going to give you some tips on what we do in the backend because of the way we set up our process, you could use the same model. We have a sourcing and recruiting team in the Philippines that sources hundreds and hundreds of résumés on a monthly basis. What happens is once they source, they look at all the résumés, you’re going to have to do this yourself as well. Our team screens all of the résumés. It’s sourcing, screening, and then we have a two-step interview process. Three-step after that because you have the initial interview. We have a final interview and then we have what’s called a systems check.
This is where a lot of individuals make their mistakes because many individuals here that hire virtual assistants, they don’t check out what is going on with their operating system, with their system specs, with their speed test, with any of their back-ups. For instance, system check would be the processors, their RAM, disk space, disk capacity, and speed test is the download speeds, upload speeds, etc. Make sure they also have a backup. What that means, and not to confuse anybody, what you have to look at is the internet connection.
If somebody has backup inside their house, because in a lot of these countries they do have internet cafes, but you want to make sure that that is not their only backup. You want to make sure that they have a backup action in their house. Those are some tips that I want to make sure I give because they see some of those mistakes being made. That’s the feedback that we get. Make sure that when you’re doing this or if you decide to go out and try to do this on your own, those are some cool things to make sure that you’re looking for.
The last thing you want is a tsunami or a flood or an earthquake to interrupt your systems which we’ve all seen quite a bit here.
Another question that I get very often is, how do I determine what to outsource first? Here’s the way I look at it and it’s very simple. I would grab a pen and I would put a line right in the middle. There are going to be two different Ts that we’re going to make. One of them, I’ll put a T on the left side, a T on the right side. The T on the left side, I would put income-producing tasks on one side of the line and then non-income producing tasks on one side of the line. On your other T, you put things you love to do, on the other side, things you hate to do. For instance, income-producing tasks to me are talking to motivated sellers, talking to motivated buyers, talking to private money lenders, talking to hard money lenders, talking to attorneys, talking to bankers. Anything that I feel is going to put money in my pocket, those to me are income-producing tasks.
Non-income producing tasks are anything that does not put money in my pocket. I’ll give you an example. If I have to go to Craigslist every single day and scrape new leads, put them on a Google Sheet and then skip trace them. That’s not making me any money. It’s going to make me money in the future. Right then and there, those are tasks that are not income-producing. It’s the same thing with Zillow. If I’m going into Zillow every day and looking at all of the rentals because I’m looking for tired landlords, but I’m scraping all of those names, putting them on a spreadsheet, and then getting the phone numbers that are on Zillow and then putting them back into a spreadsheet. I’m going to start outbound dialing them. That to me are non-income producing tasks.
Those are stuff that I would start outsourcing immediately. On the love and hate side are the things that I love to hate. Typically, the love to hate are the tasks that suck your energy up. If you grab your phone and you look at your calendar and you say, “I’ve got to do this.” Those are the things that you have to start outsourcing. We’re in this business long-term. There’s no get rich quick anything in any business. Real estate is a long play. It’s a marathon. It’s a journey. If you start looking at all of those tasks each and every week, if they start draining you and you hate doing them, you will 100% stop doing them.
Once you stop doing them, you’ll realize that it will start hitting your bottom line. Those are the things that I would highly recommend moving over, pushing over, and outsourcing to a virtual assistant. Create a daily task timeline. It allows you to better understand how much of your time is spent on what tasks each day. Grab a calendar and look to see what you’re doing every second of the day. It’s almost like a time in motion. If anyone ever heard of a time in motion, that’s a great way to analyze anyone in your office. Let’s say your acquisition person closes a lot of deals one week, and then the next week he struggles. The week after that, he’s struggling.
A great thing to do is now do a time and motion. Have him grab a calendar and see exactly what he’s doing, what tasks he’s spending time on every single day. You start chunking it up. Those are the things that we do on a daily basis to make sure everybody is as efficient as they can be. When we talk about business growth, you start looking at the beginning of the year. Let’s say it’s January 1st. You have a New Year’s resolution. You start looking at, “I’m going to analyze my business.” There are three things that we all look to do. We want to become more efficient, we want to scale our business, and we want more time freedom in our lives and our days.
Those are the three things that anybody reading this will be looking at. I use the New Year’s resolution as an example. If we now take a step back and we look at where we are right now, those are mainly the three things that we want to accomplish or one of those things that we want to accomplish. Getting back to what we’re looking at, here’s an example of what you can do as a daily task timeline. At 8:00 AM, an hour and a half, you want to do marketing. Let’s say scraping leads on Zillow, Craigslist, for sale by owners. Go into any type of software and check out all of the leads inside the software. There are a lot of cool software out there.
The next would be lead generation. This is the time we start hammering the phones here on the lead generation side. Do that for two hours. At 10:30, for half an hour, you set appointments. You complete and file documents, take some lunch, start posting on social media. At 2:00, you start analyzing deals, running comps, etc. At 4:00, you start meeting clients. This is an example of a daily task list timeline that you could look at as a snapshot of what you want to do. That’s a quick how-to determine what to start outsourcing first. I would reiterate grabbing a piece of paper and going through that little overview and going through that little exercise because it helps me huge.
We have a lot of clients that are property managers, investors, and agents. We have some mortgage brokers as well. We also have a medical division. Each of those types of exercise will be a little different for the property manager, the agent, the investor, and the medical offices. All are a little different. You realize that it all boils down to the same three things: scaling, efficiency, and time freedom. Let’s ask ourselves three questions when it comes to outsourcing and what I should get off my plate.
Number one, am I procrastinating at this task? You know you’ve got to do it, but you wake up in the morning and you’re cringing. You want to take your phone. You want to throw it in the water. You don’t want to have to do it. Every time you look at your calendar, whoever uses Google understands it. It pops up on top of your screen. I use an Android. It pops up right there and I’ll stay right in front of me until I get it done or I swipe left. You find yourself consistently pushing off that paperwork that continues to pile up.
An appointment that you’re forgetting or posting on social media, that’s a big one. For those of you who can’t stand posting on social media or don’t have the time. Let’s say you take a social media class, you’re all ramped up. Sunday night you get done, you’re like, “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I have my plan. I’m going to post every morning at 8:00.” Monday goes, you post. Tuesday goes, you post. Wednesday, you post. Thursday, your friend calls you, he’s got a golf tournament. You’re like, “I know I need to post so let me just post.” You had a couple of drinks that day. You wake up Friday morning. You forget to post in the morning. You go back week after that, Monday.
Now you’re posting at 9:00 because you forgot at 8:00. Tuesday pushes off to 10:00. Wednesday, you’re like, “Forget that,” and it rinses and repeats. Before you know it, all of that motivation upfront, you never post consistently anymore. We know in this business everything has to be done consistently. Real estate is a consistent business. It’s got to be done every single day. No matter what that task is, you set it up on a calendar. It’s got to get done. I know a lot of investors that start marketing, they’re all ramped up. All of a sudden, they get 2, 3 properties are working on and then they stop marketing.
Once these properties are done, they look at themselves in the mirror. They’re like, “What am I going to do now?” Please don’t do that. That has to do with procrastinating as well. Second one, am I good at doing this task? If we’re not good at performing a task, it takes a while to complete or you don’t do it. If you don’t do it or you don’t do it well, or you start getting frustrated, that’s a great time to outsource it. The last one, could someone else do this better? Many times, we find out that we’re not as good as to think we are. We always look at, “No one’s going to do it better than me or they’re not going to do it better than me.” When you test it and you realize that, is 80% good enough, 90% good enough, 70% good enough? You’ll realize done is better than perfect. Consistently done better is way better than perfect because if you do a perfect once a week, 70%, 80% done every day is ten times better than doing it once perfect. These are some of the things that you’ve got to ask yourself.
Here are some cool things for determining tasks to delegate. Number one, are they very tedious and mindless tasks that require no skill that can easily be outsourced? Teachable, any tasks that can be taught to a VA are incredible candidates to delegate. Time-sensitive, are these tasks that aren’t able to be completed by yourself by a certain time? That’s when you need help. A lot of times we put end times and end stamps on things that we need to get done. Do we find ourselves missing those completed times? That’s a perfect time to get some assistance. In the bottom, you’re terrible at it. If you perform certain tasks poorly compared to others, it’s best to pass those off. Time-consuming, we talk a little bit about income-producing tasks versus non-income producing tasks. Pass those off. Tiny, small tasks that don’t take a lot of time to complete but add up throughout the day. Those are things definitely to get off your plate, get them, outsource them. You make sure that you have a lot more time to do some income-producing tasks.
Set yourself up for success, working relationships. As soon as you decide to bring somebody on. We talked about what’s the role, what’s the responsibility, what are your requirements, and what are your results on how to bring on and hire a virtual assistant? We jumped to how do I determine what to outsource? Once you determine what to outsource, you decide I know the role. I know the responsibility and requirements, now I finally outsource and I’m going to pick exactly who I want. Let’s say you go through the sourcing, the screening, the initial interview, final interview, systems check, you got your person. You’re ready to rock and roll.
Now you’re at this step of the process. You’re going to set yourself up for a successful working relationship. This stuff is very important. You need to make sure that once you are working with a virtual assistant, you make them part of your team. This is something that I see that some individuals make a big mistake out of is that they don’t include them in their team meetings. They don’t meet with them. They don’t huddle with them like they do their onshore team. Look to see where we’re at right now. We’re in a virtual world. Communication is key.
Scott, you said this a little bit about we’re in a different time right now. It’s pretty interesting. The virtual world now is going to be something that’s going to be second nature. Working with a virtual assistant, whether they’re in another state, another country, somewhere around the world, it does not matter. We have to be very comfortable working remotely, working virtually. I saw you had a deal in California. I could promise you never flew to that house and knocked on the door and talked to the owner.
I don’t do that in 90% of the note deals we’ve got.
My point is it doesn’t matter. It’s all communication. It’s how we communicate and the expectations we set. Let’s fast forward. We now pick the virtual assistant. Here are exactly some of the things. I’m going to give you some very good tips on how to work with a VA. In our company, we go through a one-month worth of training with our virtual assistants on real estate tasks, but I like using the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule means, Scott, if I’m learning off your platform on notes and I’m one of your students. You have me, Pat, George, Amy, Jane, and Billy. We all meet in person. We go through your three-day training and then we all go back to our houses. We all learned off the same platform.
We’re all on the same level. However, when I go home, it’s the 80/20 rule. I’m going to tweak 20% of what you taught me. Pat’s going to tweet 20% of what he was taught to fit him. Amy, Jane, George, Jim are all going to do the same. It’s typically the 80/20 rule. I recommend documenting all of your processes. For me and the real estate investing space, I am doing a lot of wholesaling, some rehabbing and some buy and hold. Those are all different tasks than Amy does down in Atlanta. Amy is a high-end broker. She does some flipping. She does wholesaling but a little different than I do which fits her area. That’s 20%. What we do is some screen recording on exactly what the systems and processes are for that 20%.
Here’s some recording software, Screen-O-Matic to record your processes and narrate as long as you go for your VA to better understand. It’s extremely useful for virtual assistants because they can re-watch it. I’m creating a training platform. My virtual assistant, I had to train. Here in Connecticut, the length of foreclosures takes forever. It takes about ten-plus months for a bank to go through the foreclosure process and take a property back. At 120 days, they file lis pendens on the actual homeowner. We have our virtual assistant go in every single day into our judicial website because it’s online and scrape those leads. What we’re doing is they follow up every single day. They go through every record and every talent looking for who filed an appearance and who didn’t. What they do is they look to see if they file an appearance because if they did not file an appearance, that means they are not getting any more notification from the court.
When a foreclosure sale date hits, I’ll be one of the first people that know because my virtual assistant is following it through the process. We have a whole spreadsheet that she fills out and then she’ll skip trace them. She’ll text them and call them. How did she know how to do this? We had to screen record every step of the process. For our audience, you could do that in your state. I will highly recommend copy exactly what I said because it’s an incredible lead generator for you and your business. First and foremost, have your VA again help you document your processes. Virtual assistants are incredible at the documentation and help you exactly figure out. We’re not always the best at our documentation. One thing that we could do that works out very well is record your screen and then your virtual assistant could create a standard operating procedure in written format for you as well. It’s a very good thing. How do I know? That’s what they did for me.
The next one is training your virtual assistant according to your systems and processes. It’s paramount for a successful relationship. You get out what you put in. If you have a low commitment, you have low results. Look at a virtual assistant sitting right next to you. If I had an acquisition guy or girl sitting in my office and they’re sitting right across from me, but I didn’t teach them anything and I didn’t tell them anything, they would not be very good. It doesn’t matter if you live in America, Canada, the Philippines. You get out what you put in. Please identify that and make a virtual assistant part of your team.
We’re in a very interesting time in which Zoom is an incredible asset for every single one of our businesses. You have to do this anyway with your internal team, so you might as well include your virtual assistant. Make communication a priority. It’s crucial steps especially when you’re starting to work together. I know when I first hired somebody, if I did not keep communication with them, they didn’t have direction. That’s one of the things. Number one, I would highly recommend laying out exactly what your expectations are, but also go back and forth and make sure that you keep in constant communication with your team member.
Daily emails, calls, texts, go over assignments and goals, helps build a comfortable relationship with your VA. There are free Wi-Fi text and call apps such as WhatsApp, etc. Communication is key. Whether it’s here, in another state, in another county, it doesn’t matter. Communication is an absolute priority. Some of the cool things that you can do, you can have virtual lunches, which works out very well with your team. Send them a couple of bucks for lunch. You have a working lunch. You talk back and forth. You go over your day, how are you doing? How’s the family? Just some small little things again that you could do in the virtual space.
Create shared records. I have probably a billion Google Docs like many of you. We have our CRM but we do a lot of work on Google Docs. I love Google Docs. My pre-foreclosure campaign, my VA fills out every single thing. I could see in real-time her working while filling it out. It makes me feel good that I could see her work in real-time. That’s a little something about me. Create ongoing project lists as well where your VA can provide updates and feedback. Prepaid credit cards provided an extra added layer of protection for a VA who will be purchasing on your behalf. We have our virtual assistants purchase stuff on our behalf. We have a prepaid card that they pay for different types of things. They manage our marketing. They’re going to be downloading lists that cost money, etc. Make sure you put a cap on that in case there’s a mistake made. We encourage you to build trust. My virtual assistants are like my family members. They’re like my brothers. If I had a sister, they’d be like my sisters.
Bob, Nick asks a question, “How much do you fund for these cards?” What are you putting on the prepaid credit card on a regular basis?
I started with $100 and then it went to $200. Now it’s over $1,000.
They build trust with you over time. It costs you more for them to track you down and ask you versus taking care of it after a while.
Do I recommend ever giving my credit card to somebody that I met in one day? No, I don’t. If my brother introduced me to somebody, I would never give them my credit card that same day. It’s the same concept. Once you build a relationship over time, I feel comfortable quickly. You could probably tell I wear my heart in my sleeve. I trust people quickly sometimes to my detriment. You live and you learn. Scott, you’ve got to talk to Pat on this one. Back in 2005 in a knockdown rebuild that we got sold in on and we lost about $150,000. Don’t do that. That’s not too smart. That’s for another day. That story will haunt me forever. We can tell the story. I could tell you what not to do.
Nick asks the question, “Do you have them also analyze deals even if it’s a first cut analysis?”
I do. For me, we get a lot of leads coming in. They analyze the deals quickly. There are a lot of different ways. You could go to Zillow. You can go to PropStream. There’s a very quick analysis that you could get done and sent back to you. There are also platforms like Realeflow, Podio, different types of Podio software. I know there are a lot of companies that are building off of those platforms that have comps that you could run. That’s another way to do it as well. That virtual assistants can manage that for you. Let go without losing control. Here are some of the questions that we have to ask ourselves. Can your business run without you? Yes or no?
I know for me, when I first started working with virtual assistants, I was on vacation and my business couldn’t run without me because I had my phone sitting right next to me. We’re in Mexico, my phone is blowing up. I got my wife looking at me. I got my kids looking at me saying, “If you pick up that phone, I’m going to kill you.” They didn’t say that in wording, but their eyes said exactly what they were thinking. I’m answering that question. Can my business run without me? Yes. Before, no. Are you wearing every hat in your business? Are you in marketing, sales, bookkeeper, IT, human resource, acquisition, disposition? Are you everything?
That’s one of the things you have to look at because if you look at the wholesale business or any type of business rehab business, there are a lot of moving parts. You’ve got to work your butt on getting the deals in the door. You’ve got to acquire the property. You’ve got to negotiate the property and then you’ve got to sell the property on wholesaling. As a rehabber, you have to find the properties. You have to manage the construction if you’re not doing the work yourself. You’re back and forth the job site all the time. You’ve got to work on keeping that pipeline filled while also building private money, marketing, and trying to sell, etc. You have a lot of stuff going on in the real estate business. You can’t do all of these and be efficient.
A little Robert Kiyosaki quote, “If you are not working to get your business or investing operation to operate without you, you are thinking too small. Think team and systems.” I know you said that before. Scott, I grew up in a hockey locker room. Everything that I’ve learned growing up had to do with team. I’m working my butt off for this person. I’m working my butt off for that person and we’re winning together. It’s the same thing in business. I like working with a team if it’s the right team. I like working with a team of A-players because now I can rely on them if I outsource a task. It’s like my virtual assistants, I know exactly every single day I am going to have a list of leads coming in from Craigslist, Zillow, pre-foreclosure as an example.
I also have a team of virtual assistants that cold calls. I know I’m going to have some interest to sells coming into my office every single day. That’s a very good thing. I need a team to do that because if I’m relying on myself to cold call every single day, I will stop doing that. When I first started real estate, I would knock on doors from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. When I got home, all of those doors that I door-knocked, because I would have a list of pre-foreclosures, I would also skip trace them and I’d outbound dial them.
My outbound dial script was, “I knocked on your door. I left you a leave behind packet. I’m looking to see if you’re interested in working with me. We have some solutions.” I was running ragged. After a year, I was beat up. I will tell you one thing. I am very happy that I did that. All the technology that we have now, we didn’t have back then. I do highly recommend if you can and you have the opportunity to door knock once this craze slows down a little bit. I would highly recommend you do it because you can learn a lot.
Let go without losing control, limiting mindset is not scalable, keeping yourself in your genius zone. This is a very good quote, “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.” The best automation, in my opinion, I’ve gone through a lot. I’ve hired an in-house employee costing me a ton of money. For me, when I look at dollars and cents and I look at the investment in somebody that has a four-year college degree. I pulled some stats. Someone coming out of school with a four-year college degree, they’re demanding about $48,000 a year, which means that’s $4,000 per month.
You’ve got to add on a lot of stuff on top of that. You’ve got unemployment, taxes, insurance, benefits. It keeps going on and on. You’ve got to add on another 12% different states, but you add another 12% on top of that. You could hire 2, 3 virtual assistants for that. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. This for me is the best way to do it. Not only, I have a virtual assistant company, but I’ve also used my virtual assistants in every aspect of my business. I would recommend it. Scott, you teach the business and you do the business. I love that. Every time I look at somebody and I think about, “Am I going to use their service or product?” I look to see first if they are also active in the business.
There are too many people that have done it from 2, 3, 4 years ago, not doing it now. We all know the market’s changed. Every day it’s evolving. Keep your nose to the grindstone.
A couple of things, reward the skills you value. This happens to do with your teammates. It’s not necessarily on bonuses but keep VAs motivated to work hard and build relationships. I would highly recommend you do reward your VAs, your team, whether they’re virtual assistants or in-house. It doesn’t matter. Make sure we always reward our team members. It doesn’t have to be money. It could be anything. It could be recognition. Everybody loves recognition. It doesn’t always have to be dollars and cents. Any type of recognition, you could send them edible arrangements, flowers, whatever it is. It could be gift cards, etc. It shows that you value them as an actual team member. A virtual lunch will be great. Pay for lunch, it’s very inexpensive. It’s an appreciation.
Highlight them on your website. It’s another great thing to do. Always remember this, whether it’s virtual assistance or anything, make sure that we look at that stuff and reward the skills that you value. Having the right tools as well. Provide necessary tools to set your VA up for success and maximize productivity. When you’re getting set up with the right tools, whether it’s a dialer or a phone system, whatever it is, make sure we help them get set up. Provide CRM access, any type of communication platform, access to social media accounts, emails, any other ways to reach them. We use Glip RingCentral. I also have Viber. I also have WhatsApp. I have a lot of different things going on. I want to make sure that I have a number of ways to get ahold of my team all the time.
They also manage my CRM as well, which is very important. I had one of my virtual assistants build a buyers list. They’re focusing on property managers. They did a great job. We’ve got another property manager. We’re not looking for them to manage our property, Scott. We’re looking for them to bring their buyers to us because we get a lot of properties. They could allow their buyers to buy our product. We have a way to offload and disposition our wholesale properties to them. It’s a win-win. That’s another good little nugget that you can go after property managers.
Interviewing, thoroughly interview. Send them through the initial interview, final interview, look for limited accent, English proficiency, any communication skills. One of the things that I do think is very helpful, I got this from John Maxwell’s book, Leadershift. It talks about seven types of capacity. Its energy capacity and that’s the ability to push on physically. I always look at when I’m bringing somebody on, do they have enough energy for that role? For instance, if they’re a cold caller, they’re on the phone all day long, they better have enough energy. The next one is emotional capacity. Are they able to manage their emotions? Are they an emotional wreck or could they stay non-emotional in what they’re doing on a daily basis?
The next one is thinking capacity. Do they think effectively? This is important. For me personally, it has a lot to do with communication. When I say something, do they understand what I’m saying? Do they think the right way? Do they not think the right way? Next is people’s capacity. Do they have the ability to build relationships? That is important if you have a virtual assistant on the phone. If you have a virtual assistant to do an admin, people’s capacity is not a big deal. The next one is a creative capacity. Do they have the ability to see options and find answers? Are they a problem solver?
Different roles that you need in your business may require them to be creative. Do they look at things as a problem or only a challenge where they have the ability to find answers? The last two, one of them is production capacity, the ability to accomplish your results. For instance, if you set goals for an individual like cold calling, “You’ve got to call 200 phone numbers every single day.” Did they accomplish that? Do they have production capacity? Do they have the ability to accomplish that or do they not? The last one is leadership capacity. That’s the ability to lift and lead others.
These are all capacities I would highly recommend taking and using whether it’s looking for a virtual assistant or anyone in your office or anyone in your business. If you’re looking to build your business right now, please write those seven capacities down because that’s very important for all of us. That thoroughly interviews. Ensure they fit within your business culture. I should highlight this in whatever boldest color you have out there. Culture is at the top of the list. You have to make sure they ooze and feel what your culture is. Do they have ethics and integrity, loyalty and trust, team, servant leadership? Those are our core values. Do they fit within your core values and mesh well with you?
Only hire a true match for the position you need. Their personality and skill should align with the tasks being done. For instance, if you’re looking for someone over the phone, make sure that they have very good personality skills. Make sure they have people skills, make sure they have their thinking skills, emotional skills, emotional capacity, those types of things. Do you want them to do admin work? Make sure they’re very good at admin. They know how to do work off Google Sheets. They know how to scrape leads. They know how to skip trace, things like that.
We’ve got a couple of questions here. Nick asked the question. He goes, “What skillset can you bundle with the same person in your experience?”
Anything, if you’re doing outbound dialing, they could also take inbound calls as an example. Which role, are you talking about real estate investing, real estate agent, or property manager? I should state that.
Could you be able to combine probably outbound calling with admin or social media aspects of things?
You can do that, but if it’s not on the creative side. What I mean by that, if you’re not creating the content, then the answer is yes. Think about yourself, think about me, on the marketing side, on the cold calling side, and the admin side, if I look at me being a bookkeeper and me being a cold caller, I’m way better at cold calling. If I had to go back to bookkeeping, it’s very difficult. As you can tell, I have a lot of energy and I’m going 100 miles an hour. For me to slow down and do bookkeeping, I would make a lot of mistakes. In your example, can you do social media posting and do cold calling? 100%. A lot of times, when we look at all the tasks we do, especially when you’re doing phone work, over time, it gets monotonous. That’s a great task to take a step away from the phone and start doing. When you’re talking about phone work and bookkeeping though, that’s on a total opposite side of the spectrum.
Nick asked a question, “Would you mind providing a list of your best tools?”
Which type of tools are you talking about? Phone tools? Are you talking about Google Docs? Those are all tools.
The biggest question Nick is asking and others are asking on here too is, sometimes it’s overwhelmingly daunting to figure out what I can outsource, what I can or can’t do. You’ve got a list or something like that you’ve put together on what the top things that people can outsource.
I have 100 task lists that I could send you. You can write my email down. It’s Bob@REVAGlobal.com and I’ll answer any question that you need. You could go to FridayCoffeeBreak.com. On Friday, we do a podcast or a series at 10:00 AM. We answer all questions live as well. Either email me, get on that call or ask me the questions. I’ll answer some of the tools questions. For outbound dialing with my dialing team, we have about twenty outbound dialers and they’re using Five9 as a system. That’s the one we use for our mass. We have a lot of clients that use that system. Our one-on-one, I use smrtPhone.com.
There are a lot of different list providers out there. Realeflow has an AI product inside their software that I pull their leads from. That’s one of them. US Lead List is very good. There are some probate lists that we pull locally. We have someone go down to the town hall. I know there are other probate lists. When we do a lot of non-owner occupied, we use Realeflow lists. We have a CRM that we use. We use Realeflow analysis. We also use a Podio-based type of CRM as well. I use two of them. We use Google Docs a lot.
There’s a lot, depending on what they’re going for. The best thing to do would be to schedule a phone call there. I have some weird questions here from Thomas. He asked the question, “Is there a much difference in the effectiveness of cold callers when they are US-based versus Philippines-based?”
I have not found there to be a big difference. I use US-based and I’ve used virtual assistants in the Philippines. I go to a virtual assistant in the Philippines because it costs a heck of a lot less. How I use virtual assistants, cold calling, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a cold call. They’re hammering the phones every single day to gauge seller motivation. The only thing I’m looking for is someone to raise their hand that says, “Yes, I am willing to entertain an offer. It’s up to me to turn that into money.” There are different products out there, but that’s how I use it. That’s how I define cold calling.
Jonathan asked, “What if we don’t want to jump through all the hoops of trying to hire, do you help people with hiring VAs?”
We offer trained real estate virtual assistants. In the Philippines, I have a recruiting, sourcing department, training department, placement department that will place the top VA with you. You send over all the skills, exactly what you’re looking for and all of our VA’s that go through our pool, we match up the perfect fit for you. It’s like a Match.com in the virtual assistant space.
This thing is what drives me bonkers. I’ve had VAs and I have people work remotely. I need to talk to you because I need to hire a couple of VAs. We’re going to speed up our outbound phone calls. I made four hours of phone calls to 50 people. It’s a great thing to show people how to do it. It doesn’t mean I want to do it three days a week. I still want to outsource it and handle those are going on. When people think about this, the biggest thing, “My budget’s a little tight or I’ve been laid off from my full-time gig.” What hours and things do they start budgeting to bring somebody on a part-time basis, Bob?
We have part-time, full-time, which is 20 hours a week, 40 hours a week. Ours is $10.60 an hour for part-time and $9.60 an hour for full-time. I can’t get that in Connecticut, not even close. No hidden fees, nothing.
That’s the thing I look at here before the Corona. You’re like, “$15 a flip burgers.” Someone coming in said like, “I want to make $20, $25 an hour.” I’m like, “Do you have any experience?” “No.” That’s not feasible for a lot of people to start with. When you add all the other things you talked about to begin with, bring in somebody who’s qualified, who’s trained up to a certain point that you’ve still got to spend the time coaching them and train them exactly for what you’re looking for.
It’s the 80/20 rule we went over because everyone has 20% that is specific to them.
I’m a big believer guy. Schedule a strategy session at REVAStrategySession.com. What length of time does a strategy session takes, for the most part?
It takes about 15 to 30 minutes. I highly recommend do it. Any questions you have, you could email me directly. It’s Bob@REVAGlobal.com. You can find me anywhere. On Friday Coffee Break, you could find me. You can find me directly on my website and I’m all over the internet. Anywhere you need me, you’ve got my direct contact info.
Nick asks you a question, “Are there any legal or payment nuances working with the Philippines or other non-US areas?”
No, there’s not. We don’t hold you with no contract for six months. I’ve always been brought up where if I don’t do good service, then you should be able to cut me any time. There was a dialing company that did that to me said, “You have to pay for the next month.” I’m like, “I didn’t use the service.” “You signed this contract.” To me, that’s not the right way to run a business. Some people do and we don’t hold you in any contract. If you don’t like us, that’s your choice. It’s our choice. It should be anyone’s choice that way.
For those of you that are out there thinking about the note space of things, Bob talked about some different lead gen stuff. There are some very simple things you’ll be doing. Making contact with the bank asset managers, reaching out on LinkedIn. I’m a big proponent of raising the capital, of using a VA to go to the county records to scrape up self-directed IRA investors. Pull in that information so that you can then put it in a list and then have them scrub it or do direct mail out to them or in your local area to do that concept there too. Those are very profitable tasks for your VA’s right off the bat that could have an immediate bang for your buck out there to put some deal flow in. Jason asks the question, “Why did you choose Five9 tools or Mojo Dialer?”
There are two of them. I have a company called Deal Dialers as well. That’s attached to REVA Global. That is a group of my virtual assistants and that was the best software at the time to set it up to handle multiple clients at once. That’s the only reason why. I would not recommend it if you have a one-on-one VA. It’s expensive and it’s confusing as heck. That is fine, but it is robust. You do not need that. I would look at any of the tools that you said XenCALL. I use smrtPhone in my one-on-one VA that does calling. I also use it myself because we want to make sure that we record all of our recorded calls when we’re calling sellers back. I had to call Penske, a moving truck because we have a client that we are pre-paying for the moving truck so then they could go. They say, “Could you give me $5,000 first?” I’m like, “No, I’m not giving you $5,000 first.” The reason why I wanted to use smrtPhone to record that is because I know next time my VA is going to do that for me, now we have a recording. They know how to handle that call.
That’s critical too especially if you’re reaching out to borrowers or buyers or people that are distressed, stuff like that. They want $5,000 upfront and then they’re not going to leave.
I’ve $10,000 for me. If I don’t do that now, I’m screwed. We’ve got a nice Zillow wholesale deal coming up so that’s good.
What’s the weirdest task anybody that you had a VA do something for that you can talk about?
We had an individual in the borrower scene. He was making relationships online with other borrowers to make sure that they could co-promote each other. That was probably one of the most unique things.
Best email Bob@REVAGlobal.com and Bit.ly/NoteCloserVA to be able to download that 100-point checklist and be able to connect and schedule. It’s is a great brainstorming thing. If you can’t think about what you can outsource, what you can have them do or start doing for you, if you find yourself doing these things, you’re not so good. A lot of you could probably hire a marketing VA right off the bat to help with your social media or your direct mail campaigns or even your email campaigns at the asset managers or your investor’s database. Those are some of the most important things that we see done. Take advantage of this great stuff. Bob did a great job. Bob, thanks for coming on. I appreciate it so much.
I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Take advantage of that. If you have any questions, feel free to email Bob or email me directly. I’m glad to put you in touch with him to get rocking and rolling. One of the most important things I can tell you if you want to go from where you’re making so much money to six figures, adding your first assistant, whether it’s virtual or in-person will help you add $100,000 to your bottom line. As long as you’re using them on a regular basis to outsource the crap that you don’t need to spend your time with. That’s why I brought Bob on here. You may not be able to hire somebody locally, but you can hire somebody that has experience as doing amazing things like Bob is, for investors, not only here in his area, and use the VAs for his business, but helping investors all across the country as well. Take action and we’ll see all the top.
- Note Closers Show – previous episode with Bob Lachance
- Friday Coffee Break – Podcast
- REVA Global LLC
- Patrick Precourt
- Amy Ransdell
- Deal Dialers
- Glip RingCentral
- US Lead List
- Mojo Dialer
About Bob Lachance
Bob Lachance is the founder and CEO of the premiere Virtual Assistant staffing company REVA Global LLC. Bob specializes in helping customers automate their business through the use of trained real estate Virtual Assistants.
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