Thank you Sharon for stopping by The PREVA Report. I know my readers will find your answers to these questions very useful and informative; as I did.
1. Can you explain the concept behind the OIVAC and what your goals are for the convention?
The OIVAC was created to provide an informative yet informal venue where the entire international VA community, no matter where located, could participate in education, training and networking – without concern for costs, travel, leaving family or business. And since we are a virtual community, I thought – why not hold a virtual convention, using technologies we apply in our businesses and for our clients on a daily basis. Our goal is to provide an event where the entire VA community can come together, regardless of organizational affiliation, and share insights, educate, and network.
2. What would be your advice to a Virtual Assistant wanting to pursue Real Estate as their niche?
I advise VAs wanting to pursue Real Estate as their niche to become an expert or specialist in the area they select. Secondly, I suggest they connect with a mentor, or join a forum where they can ask questions from knowledgeable and experienced VAs. There are several VA organizations and training programs specifically created for virtual assistants interested in partnering with Realtors: International Real Estate Assistant Association (IREAA) and Real Estate Virtual Assistants Network (REVANetwork). Information about these organizations, RE niche training programs, and general topic VA forums can be found at the Alliance for Virtual Businesses, the online information portal to the virtual assistant industry.
3. Virtual Assistance is still fairly new to Realtors here in Canada. How do you think we can effectively educate agents here about the VA industry?
My suggestions would be to work from the top hierarchy of the industry down; when you have the support and endorsement of the leaders, more doors will open.
- Identify the most influential realtors. Usually they are well respected brokers, Realtors, and leaders of the local and national associations.
- Connect with these leaders and request an opportunity to make a presentation at a regularly scheduled meeting (10-15 minutes).
- Volunteer to write a productivity or tips column for the regularly published ezine/newsletter, etc.
- Submit articles for the national/local ezine/news bulletin, etc.
- Identify the influential real estate bloggers/podcasters and request to be a guest on their shows.
- Connect with the editor of the Real Estate section of the local Sunday newspaper to submit articles (case studies, etc.) regarding benefits of working with VAs or about a new technology that would be beneficial for Realtors.
- Partner with businesses that service the RE industry and host a networking event for Realtors in your local community. Set aside 30 minutes to introduce attendees to virtual assisting.
- Solicit support and testimonials from Realtors that have had positive experiences with virtual assisting and use those relationships as a springboard into their sphere of influence.
It takes time to make inroads into an industry; however each of these suggestions can produce great rewards. Select a few to focus on, create a plan of action, designate individuals to handle different tasks associated with the desired result and give it a shot!
4. In what ways can a Professional Real Estate Virtual Assistant (PREVA) assist Realtors?
This is such a broad question with so many ways to respond – I’ll just provide a short list as a start point.
- Transaction coordination
- Drip campaigns
- Internet marketing
- Creating and maintaining ezines, databases, postcard distribution
- Web site design, maintenance, management
- Branding & Logo design
- Bill paying, Appointment scheduling &Calendar maintenance
- Document processing
- Listings management
- Virtual tours
5. Blogging and Podcasting are extremely popular right now. How important do you think Blogging is for Realtors and their business right now?
Blogging can be a very important, effective yet inexpensive element of a Realtor’s online arsenal. Below are five reasons why Realtors should blog:
- Blogs offer a business owner a chance to share his expertise and knowledge with potential customers.
- Blogs positively impact search engine ranking.
- Increase in inbound links (generated by visitors linking back to the blogger’s post) contributes to a site’s popularity and indexing.
- Blogging creates a stronger personal connection with readers, which may influence their opinion about the writer’s services and ultimately generate referrals.
- Blogging helps develop a following of devoted readers, which impacts the Realtor’s image, increases prestige and business.
Jennifer, I really enjoy visiting niche blogs and today I’ve had a chance to concentrate on one element of the virtual assistant industry. Yesterday, I visited Anita Bruton, owner of Above and Beyond Administration and tomorrow I stop by Kelly McCausey’s Work At Home Moms Talk Radio show. We’re winding down with just over a week before we conclude the tour. If you haven’t been traveling along, it’s not too late to catch up. Today’s clue (#36) is dtisemrman. Don’t forget to tune in to Kelly’s internet radio show for another clue.
About Sharon Williams
Sharon is the Chairperson of the Alliance for Virtual Businesses and OIVAC, and president of The 24 Hour Secretary an administrative, secretarial and internet-based marketing support services company. She is the 2006 recipient of the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction Award and co-founder of Virtual Business University an e-learning environment for entrepreneurs ready to step towards their greatness.