How To Use Workflows To Mitigate The Cost Of Hiring A Real Estate Assistant

This blog post is the 4th in a series of 5 articles demonstrating the impact templates and workflows can have on your real estate business.

When you hire your first assistant, you have to train them…

Even if you’re lucky enough to find someone with experience, we all do things differently, so you have to spend a significant amount of time showing them exactly what you expect of them. That is time that could have been spent performing income-generating activities. So this is where the extra costs come in. You will lose income as a direct result of hiring an assistant. It’s simply a matter of how much.

You can’t avoid that loss completely, but you can mitigate it to a very large degree by using workflows!

Read on to learn how.

1) Assign Activities to Job Positions

If you haven’t already built your workflows and you plan to hire an assistant someday, you’ll want to plan who will be “assigned” the activities in the workflows. If your CRM allows you to assign Activities to Job Positions versus individuals (as Realvolve does), it will save you a great deal of time when you bring on your assistant. Simply assign an Activity to “Assistant” instead of yourself. Then, when your new assistant starts a workflow, all they have to do is plug in their username when it asks who the Assistant is.

2) Build a Dynamic Operations Manual

When your new right hand starts, the first thing you’ll teach them is which workflows to start for which situations. Once they start a workflow, everything they’ll need to do for that listing/closing/event will be scheduled out for them.

It’s a beautiful thing, but there’s still some possibility for confusion. If you haven’t previously discussed exactly what they will be doing, notifications like “add contacts for the new parties to a transaction” won’t provide them with quite enough information to get the task done.

The solution is to have a Dynamic Operations Manual built right into your workflows. For each To-Do activity, add a note with instructions on how to accomplish the task. For the example above, your note might say: “Each Party Member you add must have at least their first and last name, email address, and phone number.”

 

If you’ve ever created an Operations Manual for your employees, you know how frustrating it can be when you finally finish and publish it…and your operating procedures change. When that happens, you have to reach out to everyone and tell them to read the changes. And since those changes may not be relevant to them at that time, they may be forgotten and never even read.

The great part about a dynamic operations manual—one that is built right into your workflows—is that if a process changes, all you have to do is change it there in the workflow note. It will then be seen when it is needed by the person who needs it, rather than being missed because it was irrelevant at the time.

A word of advice…

Creating workflows is time consuming. Rather than adding all of these instructions on the first pass when you’re creating the workflows, consider adding them afteryou’re done creating them. You’ll get your workflows done and ready to use much more quickly. Then you can go back and add the instructions, while enjoying the benefit of using them in the interim.

3) Measure accountability

If you’re not using workflows yet, how do you keep track of what your assistant is doing and whether they’re getting it done on time? And what if you have a bigger team? You have to ask each person for an update, right? That’s going to be very time consuming.

Workflows make it easier! You can just click a few buttons and view the status of each listing/closing/event. You can see what has been done, what needs to be done, who is doing what they need to be doing, and who is maybe behind on their list of tasks for the day.

Workflows allow you to more efficiently monitor the productivity of your new assistant (and everyone else on your team) so you can make sure they’re earning their keep.

4) Avoid interrupting your assistant

Are you killing your assistant’s productivity?

How many times a day do you text, email, or call your assistant to get a phone number, check on that mortgage commitment, or have them check to see if you can add something to your calendar? If you can set up your workflows do all of that automatically, you can stop bugging your assistant, and they will get much more done.


As you can see, workflows can significantly mitigate the costs associated with hiring an assistant for your real estate business. Workflows allow you to:

  • Automatically generate to-do lists for your new assistant
  • Provide up-to-the minute instructions for accomplishing those tasks
  • Measure accountability
  • Avoid interrupting them with quick questions

Ready to learn more about integrating workflows into your real estate business? Contact us or visit our website to find out more about Realvolve!

Gary David Hall Joins Realvolve as CCO

Here it is! The official announcement. I will be transitioning to Realvolve over the next few months. My affiliates have graciously agreed to allow me to continue to sell their products until then. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with this in the end, but I can tell you that after 16 years it’s one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.  One of my affiliates said “You’re going to leave a vacuum. There’s nothing else like your site on the internet.” I would never be able to give this up unless there were truly compelling reasons. It has been suggested to me many times over the years that because I know so much about Real Estate CRMs, that I should build one. I’ve even had investor offers. But it was just more of a project than I wanted to commit to. Then came Realvolve. When I first saw it I thought wow, this is different than anything I’ve ever seen. And that’s saying something 🙂  But it was absolutely no surprise because Mark Stepp is at the helm for the development. Joining Realvolve will enable me to put everything I’ve learned over the years to it’s highest and best use. Obviously I believe this to be an exceptional product, but even more exciting, we’re just getting started!

Thank you all for your patronage over the years. I’ll still be here for a while so if you need any help, by all means, give me a call.

And now the official announcement:

Realvolve, LLC, a leading CRM software serving the Real Estate Industry, announced today the addition of internationally recognized Real Estate CRM guru Gary David Hall. Mr. Hall has been hired as Chief Customer Officer and will be responsible for education, community building, sales, and marketing.

Mr. Hall started in Real Estate Sales in 1987 and quickly became a top producing agent. In 1999 Mr. Hall founded GaryDavidHall.com which is considered to be the industry’s most comprehensive and well known resource for “All Things Real Estate CRM”. Mr. Hall has spent the last 16 years teaching thousands of agents and brokers all over the world how to select and integrate CRM into their business operations. He brings a long history of experience of what real estate agents need and want in a CRM.

“After 25+ years of selling, studying, and implementing over 50 Real Estate CRMs, Realvolve is the one that has intrigued me like no other. This is the one in which I wanted to play a role. A distinct advantage for me about choosing Realvolve is having the opportunity to work with the developer, Mark Stepp, for whose superlative work I have had great admiration for many years, and from whom I know great things will come”, Hall said.

“Gary brings depth and a breadth of wisdom that is unique in the CRM industry. As a company our objective is to not only out-product…we want to out-teach and help our customers build businesses that are fundamentally better and stronger. We look forward to Gary’s insights to ensure learning and using Realvolve is the best overall experience possible”, said Dave Crumby, CEO/Founder of Realvolve.

IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM Review

I’m working on all my favorites first and IXACT Contact is right up there. With the addition of free responsive WordPress web sites on top of some of their other popular features, they’re without doubt one of the best values out there. Check out my new video review!

 

If you’re interested in trialing IXACT Contact I offer an extended 60 day trial. Just click here.

Realvolve Real Estate CRM Review – Part 2

Realvolve Real estate CRM Review – Part Two – Yesterday was Part One and here’s part two. Part Three should be coming tomorrow. I’ll post it here.

 

 

Top Producer Adds Export Features

OK not earth shattering news but for those of you using Top Producer and not noticing it, here are a couple changes made recently. Apparently ther users have been asking for some additional export options so they added them. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Top Producer export-contacts

 

Another sensible change. The Follow-Up Coach has been changed such that “Everyone Else” no longer includes Inactive Contacts.

Top Producer follow-up-coach1

 

And lastly, they’ve added Inactive to the Pipeline Report.

Top Producer pipeline-report

 

If you’re considering trialing or purchasing Top Producer or would like to learn more, just click here!

WiseAgent – LES is More

OK I made up the acronym but it wasn’t too difficult. LES – Lead Enhancement System. How often does a lead come in with the only information being an email address? Or maybe you get a name too. But those bare minimum amount of information leads can be a pain. Not too long ago WiseAgent added the ability to find any social media related data to automatically add to their contact record. Now they’ve set it up to happen automatically when a new lead comes in. Very nice! I’ll let them explain it:

“How valuable are the current internet leads you are purchasing? Would it make a difference if the leads had a full name, picture, and even interests and favorite sports teams listed when they come in? How about links to all of their social media?

Wise Agent is very excited to announce the release of our new lead enhancement system. Now as soon as your leads automatically drop into Wise Agent from any source, our lead system immediately scours the internet in search of any social media linked to the lead’s primary email address. Many times, the search will return full names, company, job title, photos, social profile links, and more. You may have paid for a partial lead, but because you are a Wise Agent member, we turn your partial lead into a full lead with this new technology. This makes it much easier for you to turn that lead into a relationship.

Check out this video demonstrating how it works.

You can enhance any existing contact as well, from the Social Media tab at the bottom of the Contact Summary page.  You can enhance the first hundred contacts for free, and if you want to enhance more you must purchase more credits.  The more you buy, the cheaper they are!”

If you would like to trial or purchase WiseAgent, I offer my Trans-Plans Emails free when you do it through my site here.

New Affiliate! Referral Maker Real Estate CRM

I am proud to announce that I am the first reseller for Referral Maker CRM from Buffini & Company. They have been using and marketing it primarily to their existing coaching clients for a couple years but now they are ready to let everyone take advantage of their unique CRM.Referral Maker Desktop

You can tell from the start that Referral Maker is different. They don’t call them contacts. They call them relationships. Referral Maker is all about knowing your contacts inside and out and working them to increase referrals. Or you can just hope for new business all the time, something Buffini refers to as Transactional. Which one is more desirable? It goes well beyond categorizing people as buyers, sellers, prospects, suspects, past clients, etc. You rate their propensity to refer you. You can record their hobbies, favorite restaurants, sports teams and many other data points that enable you to do much more personalized marketing than just sending out another email drip campaign.

So this CRM is geared towards capitalizing on your existing relationships vs focusing on Internet leads. So if you are very much into the latter, this one may not be for you. It is also not, currently, for someone who wants to use their CRM for transaction management in great detail. I often have agents tell me that they really just want their CRM to track their people and keep them following up in an organized way. That’s this one to a “T”.

There used to be a few software applications whose only objective was to help you set goals and track them. Referral Maker ties that kind of thinking into a CRM to actually track and prompt those goals you have set. If you need a CRM and you like goal setting, Referral Maker is unique in its approach and should definitely be on your short list, at the top.

Around June 2015 I contacted the Buffini organization to inquire about affiliating with them to re-sell Referral Maker. It was a pleasant surprise when I eventually ended up talking to Brian Wildermuth who is now their VP of Business Development. I know Brian from 2008 when he owned Sharper Agent and we were affiliated for resales. Brian suggested I join them in Philly for the Success Tour last week and I’m very glad he did.

I started in real estate in 1987. There was no internet that provided a plethora of free training information like there is now, so I spent a small fortune on seminars, books, tapes and more. I read so many books and listened to hundreds of hours of Tommy Hopkins, Denis Waitley, Steve Stewart, Zig Ziglar and so many more. I even did the Firewalk with Tony Robbins. That was something I’ll never forget!

But yesterday I witnessed first hand why I have heard so many positive comments over the years for Buffini and Company. Wow what an impressive production and just a great overall experience. I now have a much better perspective with which to view their Referral Maker CRM.

Buffini made some great points in the context of Internet Leads versus nurturing your database for referrals. If you’re like me, if you haven’t experienced it yourself you’ve heard many disparaging words about internet leads. Namely, that they are either bad leads, or that there are too many, with few that result in a closing. Buffini’s teaching is that it is far less time consuming and much less expensive to work your database than it is to always go after new business using lead generation solutions and social media. And that is the thought behind the CRM. It’s about nurturing your database and that’s how it is set up.

But what makes it unique is that with all the other CRMs, you are pretty much on your own unless you want to pay someone like me to coach you how to best take advantage of your CRM. With Referral Maker, you can buy just the CRM, or you can buy into a whole philosophy and be coached all along the way to make the best use of it. If you have been trying to use a CRM but keep failing, this may be an alternative worth considering.

For more information, a trial, or to purchase referral Maker, please click here.

Realvolve. The new Dashboard is Live!

It’s here! Time will tell but it looks like Realvolve may have one of, if not the most intelligent/informative dashboards in the industry. I received an email today telling me that my dashboard will be different. It said:

“When you login to your Realvolve account today you will notice the dashboard has changed. There will be a few widgets and gadgets to show information…. Hang tight… It’s learning… We’ve started the process of analyzing the explicit data in your database so it can extract out the implicit data “intelligent” data. It will be in a learning mode for a couple weeks and the more it grows in knowledge, the more information will be available.

We will also be holding a training on it next week (email to follow). “

New Realvolve dashboard

 

Just the fact that it will be learning is something I have never seen before. Is it just marketing? It doesn’t look like it. It looks like something that can actually help you run your business like a business and be more intelligent about how you run it.

Unfortunately my account is not in actual use so I won’t be able to see how it works. I have a request for those of you who are using it. Will you let me know how you like it? Reply here or better yet – on the forum I have for them here.

For more information or to trial orpurchase Realvolve, click here. By the way – you get my Trans-Plans Emails for free when you sign up here!

New Affiliate! LockedOn for Australians

This one is strictly for agents in Australia because much of the terminology is unique to Australia and North American agents would not find it comfortable for them. The process is pretty much the same but the terminology is all different. The first step in getting a listing is getting an appraisal which we would call doing a CMA. Customers are called vendors. There are always attorneys involved which are referred to as solicitors. I’m not saying that a North American agent could not use it. I’m just saying that others are better suited to our needs.

That said, Australian agents, I really like the way this is laid out. It’s very process oriented with specific follow-up plans for each step of the listing, closing, and post closing. It has a unique look which is readily seen on the home page/desktop.

But more than anything, it’s very simple to use.

If you’re in Australia and you’ve been looking at all these CRMs for Europe and North America, I would strongly recommend you take a look at this one here.

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