In this episode of Company Spotlight, we feature SIG Property Management, and Kyle shares with us about his company and how they are using virtual staff.

 Feel free to book an appointment with me today so I can help you strategize all throughout the process!  

TRANSCRIPT:

Anne: Good morning everybody, and HighSmart VAs, potential clients, as well as clients. I want to introduce you to Kyle Scott. He's the operation manager at SIG Property Management, which was founded in 1991 with the intent of becoming a provider of world class service in property management. I love that he's in our industry, and I love that they've been a client for a while. Part of what their innovative business model integrates customer service, which management disciplines. So we're gonna talk a little bit about that; Kyle's going to give us a little insight. Really what does that mean? He's gonna pull back the curtain a little bit. One of the things that I love about SIG Property Management is that they have kind of a goal to give their owners and residents the ultimate property management experience. I want to talk about what does that mean. What is that ultimate experience, and how do they do that? I always ask this question in anybody that I interview, because I always think it's so super important. But when I ask Kyle to tell me what were they most proud of, or what was it that that kind of was the hallmark of SIG Property Management, he had said to gain as an active member of the community that they serve. So they obviously give back to the community. Then they have 800 doors and they're growing like weeds, so I love that. So Kyle, welcome. Thank you so much for being here. Why don't you just go ahead and do a little bit more of an introduction or kind of explain some of what I talked about.

Kyle: Yeah, no, absolutely. You mentioned that we were growing, and we definitely are. We just actually passed 800 doors. We definitely are proud of being a very local resource for local landowners. We basically have been, like you said, in Glendale since 1981, so that's 28 years. We're very proud of our local presence. We're members or affiliates of all the local Chambers of Commerce, all the different local chapters of NARPM and associations like that. We have a standing booth at our local Oktoberfest every year. We pride ourselves in being able to be members of the community and then being experts in the industry in the areas that we service as well.

Anne: You said you were a member of NARPM, because some of our clients may not be NARPM members. What has been the value of being an NARPM member to your organization?

Kyle: The biggest thing about NARPM is the exchange of information. If you're not a member of NARPM, it's super easy to join. There's major chapters all over the country. But the benefit basically ... Let's say we have a meeting every month and we have different guest speakers on different aspects of the business. So we have the opportunity to hear from the bankers from the banks that represent us, or we have different people from different property management companies who maybe will talk about things that maybe you're not used to. We don't really work a lot with section eight, but we'll have somebody come and speak about section eight. So that maybe there's something that you don't know a lot about, and then you can ... If I have experience ... For example, I have experience with VAs now. I may be able to go speak about it at NARPM and then other people who don't know how that works can kind of learn from somebody else who's doing the same thing that they do, sometimes in the same way that they do. You can be with a management company with thousands of doors or just a couple of hundred doors, and the takeaways can be the same. So it's a good resource, and it's just nice networking as well. Like I said, like-minded people doing the same things you're doing, facing the same challenges. There's plenty of business to go around for property management, so it's not like it's cut throat competition. There's a lot of collaboration, there's a lot of, "How do you do this? How do you do that?" So it's been a real benefit for us.

Anne: Yeah. I think it's funny, because I'm a member of NARPM not only as an affiliate but as a professional member as well. NARPM's probably one of the only organizations that I've been a part of where literally helping your competition is normal. Because we all have a different flavor or a different way we look at it or a different geography. Even if you're in the same chapter, we just always feel like collectively we do better than just being a solopreneur out on our own. So I appreciate your take on that.

Kyle: Yeah. We had a speaker tell us a rising tide raises all ships, and that's true. In property management, sometimes there's a view from people that aren't familiar with property management, that it's like, "Oh, property managers and I don't want to get into all that." But something like only like 30% of properties that are susceptible to property management even consider property management, so there's all these people out there that aren't even thinking about using it for whatever reason. Maybe they don't know it exists, or maybe they just aren't confident in it. So if we can improve on the confidence issue, if we can all help each other have people realize that this is probably a good thing for them, then everybody can benefit from that.

Anne: Absolutely. Totally agree with that. Let's kind of turn it back to your organization. Love the fact that you're in the community. I think that's a great sales strategy, in addition just to being good business. I love that about you. But tell us a little bit more about kind of your strengths in the market, and then we want to kind of talk a little bit about how you're structured.

Kyle: Okay. All right. Well again, I think our major strength in the market is that we've been right here, so we know the types of clientele, we know the area, we know the types of renters that are going to be applying for different types of properties in different areas. A lot of it is just, like I said, being the resource for somebody who's local. Most of our property owners live right here. We have a large section of people that live in Sunland-Tujunga. We have a lot of properties up there. Most of the owners from Sunland-Tujunga live in Sunland-Tujunga. We do have some owners that are across the country. But we know that people feel comfortable working with people who are next door, who are close to their property. So, knowing the area and knowing sort of the intricacies of the area is maybe our strong point. That with the fact that we have strived to work with the best management software there is, with the best people that there are qualified staff really, I think, gives us an edge. Anne: Let's talk a little bit about your company and the structure. How many people do you have managing those 800 doors?

Kyle: We currently have four property supervisors. Our units that we manage are single family homes, and then multifamily properties as well. So one supervisor may handle about 150 doors. Another may handle about 250 doors; around there. As we're growing, we're looking to have them handle more doors, which is where different types of technology and VAs come in handy.

Anne: Well, that sounds great. How has having virtual staff changed or improved your business? What have you seen?

Kyle: Well, we originally thought about doing a VA because we thought, well, we have a lot of tasks that are taking a lot of time from property supervisors. We have the property supervisors; we want them to be present at the properties. We wanted to give the clients the attention that they need. But along with that, there's just some busy work in the office. So we thought, okay, well we can give some of these admin functions over to a VA. But actually what we started doing ... The VA that we have from HireSmart VAs actually handles our entire application process right now. Everybody who applies to one of our units is over 18 fills out an application. That actually goes to ... Can I say her name?

Anne: Sure.

Kyle: That goes to Ellie, and Ellie immediately actually starts working with all their information. If we get an application and it's not complete, she's reaching out, she's collecting documents, she's verifying the documents, she's processing all that information. Then she's actually giving us a full report on each tenant. So, we get an application in and then she works, and then the next thing you know, we have an entire report on an applicant and we can make a decision on whether or not we want to approve them based on that. There are automatic services that do that. AppFolio even has a function that helps you do that. But this gives us the opportunity to have an actual person with actual reasoning capabilities to take a look. It's not just a formula. Everything is being considered, and we know that because she does consistently solid work.

Anne: Well, that's fabulous. You know, it's interesting because obviously I support VAs in all areas of the property management business. It's interesting to me to see kind of ... It goes in waves of what people want. Actually, my monthly office hours is going to be on establishing an application process and protocol. That's actually going to be this month's topic, because I think people are utilizing them not as well in that area as they could. And so I love the fact that you are an expert in that and you've got that nailed down. Because there are, I think, people that are struggling with that, and I'm not really sure why. So I figured I would just drill down and share how we do it in our office, because Bonnie in my office also does application processing. Now, we still outsource the credit and some of the other functions. But again, just document collection and verification is a huge time if you do it properly.

Kyle: Absolutely. It requires focus. I mean look, our owners want their properties to be treated well, and they want to be treated well. But they also want to know that they have really good tenants inside their properties. Supervisors are dealing with 200 doors. We can't have their attention split too far away from any given thing. We want good quality attention given to all these different areas, so by moving this particular process over to a VA, it's making us sure of that process and then it's also giving them the time that they need to work on the other processes they have to keep everybody happy and make sure the quality is still always perfect.

Anne: So that's Ellie's primary role. Does she do anything else in your organization?

Kyle: Well, yeah she does. I mean, she'll keep track of property insurances. Are property insurances going to expire? She keeps track of utility usage. We monitor like water usage at all of our properties to see if there's a spike and there may be a leak or something that somebody doesn't even know to report. She does a number of other administrative ... She even helps do some of the paperwork for our sales process as well, because we do real estate sales too. She's able basically to fill in the blanks. Time to time, I'll have a project where I want an Excel sheet thrown together and I don't have the time to sit down and do it. I'll just ask Ellie, and within a certain time she'll come up with something. She's very dedicated and helps us out anywhere you want to put her basically.

Anne: Well, that's great. I always love to hear that. Like I said, I say that all the time because that's how I feel about my virtual staff. But I love it when our clients are that engaged and embrace the movement, I call it. What was kind of the biggest a-ha moment that you had with your virtual staff? I mean, what was it that you went, "Wow, I'm so glad I did this"?

Kyle: Well, like I said, I think when we initially took her on, it was ... Well, we needed some sort of regular admin tasks taken care of. We were trying to like get it off ... I mean, there wasn't a, say, computer program to do it. So I thought, well, we want somebody kind of working in the background. The original intention, because she was halfway around the world, was that, okay, well she's obviously going to just be working in the background. But I guess your a-ha moment would be once she started kind of ... Every time you gave her a task, she was very good about coming back with feedback about how she would've done it or suggestions for improvement. Then our confidence in her grew more and more. We were actually working with another company that actually handled application processing all together, and it was a group of people. There was a team of people working on the applications. But their consistency and their quality was not up to standard. I would have to jump in every time anyway and say, "You missed this, you missed that." We basically moved it on over to Ellie, thinking that she had the time, she had the dedication. I guess the a-ha moment was sort of the realization that she wasn't just this person working in the background. She was an actual member of the team who actually brought reason and thought and dedication to the role. So rather than thinking of her as a VA or somebody who works in the background, she's very much a member of the team.

Anne: I love to hear that, because I always tell people, the more you change your mindset of the fact that this is a team member, the fact that they're located outside of your office should have no bearing. Right? The more you meet with that person, the more the relationship develops, the more time you invest in that relationship, the better return you're going to actually have. That's, I think probably for me, one of the challenges I have in trying to work with a new client, is saying to them, "Treat them just like you would any other team member." "How do I train them?" "Just like you would any team member."

Kyle: Yeah, no, exactly. Yeah.

Anne: You're doing it on your computer. They're able to see your computer. The technology that's available these days is amazing. So thank you for that. You shared a little bit about the impact that Ellie's had on your company. Clearly you've had a cost savings, not only just from an employee standpoint because your labor rates are higher, but of course it costs you. But you've actually replaced a vendor that you were working as well, so that cost of that monthly outlay of cash that you had, you were able to kind of offset that. One of the biggest things too ... And again, when people are just kind of getting started with virtual staff or maybe they're a younger organization, not as mature as yours, not have as many doors ... I had this conversation yesterday, and they're like, "Well I just don't know that I'm ready for somebody full time." I said, "Well obviously, how many doors do you have?" Because that's a kind of a metrics there. They were a fairly shy ... I think they only had 40 or 50 doors. I said, "So you have some options. You can go to a call center type environment and get the task done and pay." When you're small, that makes sense to some degree. Because again, most of them charges a dollar per door or some amount of per door. We have smaller doors; your cost may be less than what it is to pay for the recruiting and training and all the screening that I do, plus then the hourly rate. But there comes a point in time in your business where you are going to be limited, and it becomes more expensive to use all these different providers rather than bringing in that dedicated team member.

Kyle: Yeah, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Anne: Thank you for bringing that up. What would be the one piece of advice that you would give another business owner who's kind of on the fence about whether they should use a full-time dedicated virtual staff or not? Kind of, what would you tell them?

Anne: If your pain point is dealing ... I mean, our pain point really was dealing with the amount of time that was being dedicated on certain tasks when the person that we had is qualified to do other things. Like you said, as you grow, the rent increase process. You got 50 doors. Going through your 50 doors and assessing rents for each of that will take you a couple of hours. You got 800 doors, there needs to be an actual process from top to bottom about how you're systematically going to go through and do all of that work. Then so somebody needs to be on top of that process. Somebody needs to lend time and attention to that process. Then there's just like the physical work that goes along with it. With a virtual assistant, they can't mail out notices, but they can do everything to prepare it so that you're doing the actual work that you're qualified to do. I say a surgeon, for example ... They don't prep the patient. You know what I mean? They don't sterilize the equipment. They have a nurse prep the equipment. They have a nurse sterilize the equipment. They go in, they do what they're good at, and then they leave, and then the nurse continues to go ahead and finish up the process. So we have licensed real estate agents who are qualified to take a look at market rates and assess market rates. Well, that's what they need to get in and get and get done. Then there's no reason why you can't outsource that other work to be done and ready to go, so that when somebody just comes in, all they need to do is take a list of ... They put in their specialized work. But somebody needs to prep now that work that they're looking at. We've found that having a virtual assistant do that saves us in the office a lot of time. Also there's a cost-saving element to it as well, because you could be paying somebody much more than that, and then you feel more of a need to pressure them to find things to do around the office, and you end up giving people more busywork than anything sometimes. So you have a full-time employee here filled with busy work because you're trying to get them things to do. Whereas you've got a VA over there who's completely dedicated and working on those functions for you all the time.

Anne: Thank you so much for that. As far as the HireSmart process, you went through the hiring process. Share with our listeners a little bit about how hard or how easy was that process. Do you even remember? It's been a while.

Kyle: I remember. I remember, because it was the first time we did it. I remember that we talked to you about generally what we were looking for, and I think your process was you brought us three different people that we sort of interviewed in succession. It was much easier because ... Well, our interview process, to be totally honest, we're maybe a little too thorough and we'll do multiple rounds of interviews. It takes us quite a while to find the right person that we're looking for. But I think that we focus on things, we focus on certain details. You were focusing on sort of those details for us. So when it came time for us to interview, we basically just had to kind of pick the ... We already knew they were qualified, we already knew they passed your test. We already knew they were going to get training in property management. So really it was just about the person that we felt like we jelled with the most. You know what I mean? Then so we did; we picked the person that we just kind of like working with the most, knowing that the qualifications were already there. We felt like it was super simple. It was fun, actually. Interviews can be really sort of ... Like, I always kind of dread it. Then the person gets there, and then if it's a good person, cool. If it's not, you feel like, what did I get myself into? But in your case though, it was fun. We just met three nice people, and we met the one that we thought worked best with us, and she's worked out great.

Anne: When you're looking to hire locally, what's the timeframe that it would take you to find that ... To go through that process?

Kyle: Well, I mean, you've got to put out ads. If you're putting it on Craigslist or Indeed, you're sorting through tens and dozens and dozens of resumes. You're looking for different hit points. Then you have to whittle them down, and then you have to schedule them, get them in. We're looking at a week of interviews. That's time from our company, away from the company that we're not spending. Then like I said, and then we usually do a second round of interviews too. So we're looking at a couple of weeks' worth of time that is just lost searching for someone. Ideally it ends up with somebody who works well for your team. But there's a lot of time and effort put into that. So this process was exponentially simpler than a regular employee.

Anne: Yeah, because we can get people and have client interview set up in seven to 10 days. Sometimes it takes them a little longer to schedule based on their schedule. But I mean, I am ready in seven to 10 days to at least put the candidates out there.

Kyle: Right. But you know what though? Maybe I could get that done faster, but I'd spend a lot of my time and effort doing it. Like I said ... Okay fine, the time went by. I was still able to do my work. When you were ready, we came and we met and we were able to talk to the right people.

Anne: And it took less than two hours, right?

Kyle: Oh, yeah. It was only a half an hour per, right? Yeah, exactly. That was it.

Anne: So that's the other win. Well, is there any piece of advice that you'd like to add, Kyle? Anything else that you would want to share with either other property managers or business owners? Just in general and/or specifically regarding virtual staff.

Kyle: Well like I said, virtual staff has worked out well for us. Our VA, actually, was employee of the month last month. We really do; we think of them as a member of the team. And I think that's the trick.

Anne: It is.

Kyle: Because you can't just look at them as background work. You have to make the effort to make them included, make sure the rest of the office knows that they're included as a part of the team as well, and to value their work. I mean, sometimes I feel bad. She's halfway around the world, and I see everybody else day to day and we see each other face to face, and she's over there just kind of sitting there doing her work. So sometimes it's a struggle. You have to make sure to reach out and maintain that contact. But when you do, I mean, the return is really good. So I guess my advice if you hire one is make the time initially to make sure that they're trained properly. Because if you train them properly then ... Just like any other employee, it all starts with proper training and education. Make sure you're set up for it. Video's great, because I'm a face to face type of person. So make sure you have that capability. And then-

Anne: It's free to use Skype. I mean, again, there's Google Hangouts, there's Skype. There's so much technology.

Kyle: It's totally easy. We didn't have one before, like a webcam before. We just purchased one; it was 40 bucks or whatever. So make sure you do that. Then yeah, as far as whether to make a decision or not to, like I say, it's been nothing but a positive for us. It's a positive face and presence in the office doing lots of work for you that it's going to be super beneficial.

Anne: Well, thank you so much for your time, Kyle. I do want to echo what he said. One of the things I've been kind of preaching out for the last probably nine months is having those regular video meetings with your staff, all of them. All your remote staff. I started doing that almost about a year ago, and it has literally changed the dynamics. Because again, you get to know them, the personal. You get to be there. They also know that that time for my team is a dedicated time that I'm focused on them and whatever it is that they need. So they come to covet that time, and that also means I have less interruptions because they know they have that time with me so they don't need to kind of ping me unnecessarily. They know if it can wait, it can wait and I'll give them my full and undivided attention. So I love the fact that you also do that with your team members.

Anne: Well anyway, I want to say thank you again, Kyle, for being with us. If anyone wants to get in touch with Kyle, the information on how to do that is going to be as part of this video. But thank you so much, Kyle, and have a great rest of your day.

Kyle:  Thank you very much. Appreciate it. http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABcs2DK4n6c

We are spotlighting Jay Berube with Blue Bear Property Management. They have been using remote workers for over a year and are now expanding into other markets. Learn from Jay about his success in sales and using a Virtual Team Member from HireSmart Virtual Employees to expand his business.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lxZge-fkIQ

Want to know more about the great advantage of hiring virtual employees to your business? Feel free to book an appointment with today so I can help you strategize all throughout the process!

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Anne Lackey: Start. Good morning. My name is Anne Lackey. I am the co-founder of HireSmart Virtual Assistants and I am excited to have Jay Berube with us today. And Jay is a realtor, property manager, and real estate trainer and coach. And he has helped real estate agents and property managers bridge the largest gap in real estate, which is about sales. And if you've ever heard Jay, he is amazing, provides a great amount of value to you. I love listening to him. He helps his clients focus on specific sale skills and commands. He simplifies the sales process and it makes it easier for agents to level up their sales game and sell more homes, which of course if you're listening, whether you're an agent or a property manager, it doesn't matter. We all need more homes in our inventory. Isn't that right, Jay?

Jay Berube: Yeah, that's right. More doors. More sales.

Anne Lackey: Exactly. So he's at 15 years of experience. He's in the top 1% of real estate agents in the nation and he's had over $325 million in real estate and he has sold over 1,400 homes. That is amazing amount of homes and he believes in freedom through influence and when you influence more people you change more lives. And I love that because I love to change lives too. And before we get started, I always love to ask the question of all of my guests, what are they most proud of? What is their biggest accomplishment? When I asked Jay, he told me he is most proud of creating more freedom in the lives of real estate agents and property managers.

So Jay, welcome to the show. We are so glad that you guys have joined us today.

Jay Berube: Yeah, thanks for having me on, Anne.

Anne Lackey: Is there anything else that you'd like to add as kind of a beginning point to this journey to our listeners before we get started into some of the other questions I have for us today?

Jay Berube: No, I'm excited to dig into the questions and get going.

Anne Lackey: Perfect. All right, so the purpose of this particular spotlight is to really share some of the leaders in our industry and kind of what are they doing, what's their specialty, what's their secret sauce? And so Jay, tell us a little bit at first about your company and where you're located and kind of your strengths in the market.

Jay Berube: Sure. So I will kind of wrap it all up in a bow because I'm not the traditional person, I guess you would say. Never have been. But yeah, when I started real estate about 15 years ago, I was selling a lot of new construction homes and I was representing buyers. It was mostly sight unseen stuff. And this was in Southwest Florida. Then people got their hand caught in the cookie jar because it was all speculation, flipping contracts. It was nuts. And there was this moment where properties weren't selling anymore and people could not flip and make $30,000 by assigning a contract. And they said, "Well, what do I do now?" And I one time I said, "You know, have you considered renting it out?" And that started the road to property management for me. And over the course of those say six, seven years, I was getting a lot of agent referrals and build up to almost 400 doors.

Didn't really have good strong systems in place at that time. I was kind of just running around with the pulling my hair out and then built my sales business up as well. Fast forward, I got into... I took all of my sales skills that I've developed over the years because that's one of the things that in the real estate industry and the property management industry is almost completely absent. You know, in real estate to get a real estate license in most States you go and take... I know, right? It's laughable just thinking about it. 60 to 80 hours of class time to sell someone's most valuable asset. How-

Anne Lackey: And it doesn't teach you anything about the business. It teaches your riparian rights.

Jay Berube: Exactly. It's completely nuts. So all you need is that and a high school diploma and then all of a sudden you can start selling real estate. So there's all these sales skills that are absent. I developed being able to understand neural linguistic programming, influence the way people use body language, the way that they speak, how to ask questions, all of these different things from different trainings and stuff like that over the years.

So that's where my niche and my specialty is. And to give you an idea of how that works for me, in the last two years of selling real estate, selling almost a hundred homes a year, 80% of the clients' homes that I sold, I never met face to face. So it's all over the phone and it's all building that relationship over the phone.

A good friend of mine who is a really big in the property management industry, he was asking me how my conversion is with cold property management leads coming in and I said, "On average I'll talk to a new cold lead for about 12 minutes and I'll set the appointment and it's a phone appointment and then 15 minute conversation on the phone and I'll close them and get the door." So essentially under 30 minutes to close new units and he's like, "That's unfathomable."

Anne Lackey: Yeah, no. That's a great statistic. And I think it's something that a lot of the property managers aspire to, but don't know how to get there. So how long have you been in the just overall in real estate business? How many years have you been in business?

Jay Berube: 15 years. Yeah.

Anne Lackey: And kind of share with our listeners a little bit about your staff's structure on the real estate side and the property management or if you have those kind of mixed together. Kind of share with us a little bit how your staff is.

Jay Berube: Yeah, there was a time about five, six years ago where I decided to have two separate brokerages. Wrote the, you know, one for the sales, one for the property management. So, in essence at that time it was really to build a complete different set of books in case I wanted to sell either one of the companies. But it evolved into more than that because no matter if... Even though I have the two separate companies, they work so closely together. And I'll tell you honestly, I've tried leaving property management so many times, but pulling me back. It's like I'm sober now for 11 years, but I used to try quitting drinking all the time, but I couldn't do it. So it's like the same thing with property management. That's the drug of choice.

Anne Lackey: Well I think some property managers are surprised that you don't drink. I don't drink either. So everybody's like, "How do you survive?" I'm like, "Well, we just do it. You know, it's just part of it." So you have two separate companies. How many people work in each company?

Jay Berube: Yeah, I have an operations manager that oversees those two companies. They're both in Florida. I live in North Carolina now. Where, Oh, you didn't even know that.

Anne Lackey: I didn't. Exactly, congratulations.

Jay Berube: I'm actually opening a real estate brokerage here in Charlotte that we're launching in the next 30 days. So that's very exciting. And that's going to be complimenting my partner's property management company up here as well.

So there's an operations manager. She oversees, Kristin, she oversees those companies. And then we have Shelby as an assistant property manager. We have a couple of remote team members as we call them through your great company.

Anne Lackey: Thank you.

Jay Berube: And then we have a listing coordinator essentially that kind of goes back and forth between the two. And then I have a couple of agents on the sales side.

Anne Lackey: Well that's great. You know, it's so interesting to hear that you've moved to Charlotte because a lot of people get stuck and they're like, "Well, I just don't know how this remote thing works." I'm like, "I promise you it works." And so even as a business owner, you don't have to be located necessarily where your business is.

Jay Berube: You know what's funny? When I was leaving, June 5th or something, I was leaving my office for the last time with a box. You know when you get fired you have your box of stuff?

Anne Lackey: Yeah.

Jay Berube: And I was walking out and I took a video of myself and I was like, "This is surreal. I am now a remote team member for my own company." And it's really hard to fathom, but so many people, especially in real estate, think that as you as the agent, once you're done, then that business dies. Which is not true. Not for real estate or not for property management. Your end game should be to stop trading time for dollars.

Anne Lackey: Time for money. Yeah.

Jay Berube: Yeah. And remote team members do a great job of that.

Anne Lackey: Well, I love to hear that because I started in investing. I came into this world as an investor, very similar kind of strategy that you did. New homes that need a property manager because we had people that were buying these new homes and needing management. So that's kind of how we got started too. And you know, it's so funny to me that so many real estate professionals do exactly what you just said. They trade their time for money. And while it's a big payoff, when you actually calculate the dollar per hour, I'm not so sure it's as liquid as people necessarily think. So I'm all about leveraging peoples' time. OPT and OPM. I like to leverage other peoples' money too as an investor. So I love that.

What was your primary goal, when you hired your first remote team member, what kind of what was your thought process? Or what kind of prompted you to explore that as an option?

Jay Berube: You know, at that time there was a couple of different thoughts. The first one was to reduce our outward expenditures, to reduce our payroll, but to have somebody full-time and to have somebody do tasks that could be done by somebody who's remote. And as long as they're trained properly, which is the biggest part.

Anne Lackey: It is.

Jay Berube: And I mean that's one of the reasons why I love working with you is because I know that you put them through what? A week or two of training on your own.

Anne Lackey: I do, I do. We have a 10 point hiring process just to even get to our clients. And then after that I work with them for 40 hours because you can hide for two or three hours, maybe eight hours, maybe 16. After 16, at least on my platform, you're done. If you're not an A player, you're out. And I think that's really kind of the secret sauce that we have is that one on one where we're really saving our clients a ton of time with just the wrong hire because of that system. So it's okay. It's all good.

Jay Berube: Hold on one sec.

Anne Lackey: That's okay.

Jay Berube: Hey, I’m on a call. Yeah. My wife and son.

Anne Lackey: It's all good.

Jay Berube: Oh this is my key shed.

Anne Lackey: Oh wow.

Jay Berube: Yeah. When I moved to Charlotte we didn't have a 3,500 square foot home anymore because of our location. So we built a, what is it? 100 square foot office outside.

Anne Lackey: It's great.

Jay Berube: So yeah, it's pretty awesome.

Anne Lackey: So getting back to kind of remote staff and what was your biggest ah-ha moment after you started working with the first professional that we placed for you? Because I have a lot of clients who go, "Well it sounds good, but I just don't know." And you know, once I deliver that first one, it's like if you can just get through the first one, it's usually hands brown, no brainer. This is the best thing since sliced bread. Share with our listeners a little bit about your ah-ha moment and kind of what clicked for you.

Jay Berube: I'll tell you what. With every remote team member that... Well, I mean we have two full-time and we only had to have one other person besides that who ended up not being a good fit where you're always, you know, quick to be like, "Look, that's not the right fit." And you know? And to end the relationship. But it's always that the work ethic and the caringness, you know, their investment in the company is always such high at a higher level than anybody locally that I ever hired. So we have John and MIkko and they are geeked up on wanting to do a great job, on wanting to be a part of the team. And I mean, if there's a thing as over communication though, they're not afraid to over-communicate and I love that.

Anne Lackey: Wow. That's a lot of the training that I do too is kind of helping them understand in real world. You know, because one part of the job of course when you hire is the skillset. You've got to have people that have the skills, but that's their soft skills are really kind of what make or break and that's really where the my one week class kind of comes in. Right? I'm testing those soft skills all the time. So I love the fact that we've had such great success. How has that impacted your business by bringing in remote team members in plus or minus? What would you say have been the positives? And then what would you say is something that maybe is a little challenging?

Jay Berube: I'll tell you the biggest positive is having... It took us about a month or two to get it squared away once we had our first remote team member, but then once we did and once we got into a groove, starting to do virtual meetings, team meetings, daily huddles, our time as a company was spent more efficiently and has continued to move in that direction. And I'll tell you from me now personally being a remote team member, my company's in Florida, I spend a hell of a lot less time than I used to spend when I was in the office with the rest of my team because now they'll like... They'll notify me when I'm needing to be notified. There's not this yapping around for... I'm a direct person. I'm a no nonsense, let's get right to the point. And not everybody's like that. And I don't have to deal with that anymore. And it's a constraint in business. It just takes longer to get something done.

So the efficiency has totally increased and I know from all of my friends in property management that have remote team members, I know that that is... That's uniform throughout. A challenge, I guess the only challenge is that with having a remote team member, you have to be very, very specific on the tasks that you want done. So if you can be very specific on what you want done and how you want it done and you can train very specifically on how to do that, then I found that I have a lot of success. Those folks pick it up, they do a good job, but if I'm too vague, it could start going off in different directions and then I don't know about it right away and it gets frustrating.

So two things with that. Number one, be very specific. But number two, also make sure that there's accountability measures in place so that people are reporting back what's been accomplished and then you know if they're on track or not on track so that you can handle it right away.

Anne Lackey: Well it's so interesting that you said. So you said a lot in that kind of little minute or two that you gave. And so I want to just summarize some things that I totally believe in too, which is once I started having regular meetings, which I actually found out from Alex Charfen back at DoorGrow in, you know, this last year, kind of how he structures. That was a big ah-ha moment for me.

Well I thought I had good communication with my remote team members. That took it to a different level. Just knowing that they had that carved out time every week for me just to sit down and give them my undivided attention for whatever they needed. It was available for me to talk to them about something I needed or for them to ask me for help that they needed. Totally cut down on the noise because they always knew that unless it was an emergency, it could wait until we actually had that time together.

So my interruptions in my day were tremendously reduced and I think that if more people embraced that they would probably the same type of results. Again, whether it be remote or your in-house. I don't think that really matters. I think people need to know that they have that time that you as the business owner are investing in your people. So I'm totally onboard with that. And then the second thing that you were talking about is having set expectations. And again, I don't know that it matters whether they're remote or whether they're in-house. I think we allow ourselves when they're in house to kind of have a little bit of a pass because we do catch it a little bit quicker because we're talking to them on a more regular basis, more just kind of around the water cooler.

But what I found with me specifically is virtual staff or remote staff may be more of a business owner than somebody that owned a job. I can go away and not have to really necessarily worry about most of my businesses. Now I still am active in certain businesses. That's because I choose to be, I mean HireSmart certainly if I wasn't active in that business, I don't know that we would've progressed as far as we have. But in my property management business, I maybe spend an hour or two hours a week if I'm lucky and it runs without me. I mean very much. I attend a meeting a week, I sign leases and that's it. That's all I do. And you know, that's again, it's a strength. So if I choose to sell it, which I'm not sure that I ever would. Again, I have an asset that runs without my necessarily my involvement. And that's the definition of a business owner rather than somebody that owns a job. So I love those two things.

If you can think back to the hiring process when you were using HireSmart in that process. From, you know, kind of share with some people because I think a lot of people think, "Oh my gosh, I've got to be perfect. I've got to be ready. I got to wait. I can't move forward because it's so scary." Tell people a little bit about that hiring process from your perspective. I mean, how hard was it? How easy was it? You know, what was the experience? I think, you know, I always tell people it takes about three weeks from order to delivery. Sometimes that shifts a little bit depending on how busy we are, but generally I can get a team member delivered to a client in three to four weeks versus you having to do it yourself. Kind of share people a little bit about that experience if you don't mind.

Jay Berube: Yeah, you find candidates for us within maximum and I, you know, results may vary but with us you found our candidates within a week maximum and you provided us, I believe with three and those were the top three based on DiSC assessments. What we're looking for. What I like is you ask questions so you're great at identifying your business and other peoples' needs, which is a key in sales and it's asking questions. You ask questions, what are you looking for? What do you need? What do you expect? And then the type of person so that you find success for everybody. I mean for us anyway. So it didn't take long and then you put them through the training. That's a week or two or something. And usually they start three weeks after we engage you.

Anne Lackey: And it's pretty simple. They're ready to go. Right?

Jay Berube: Yeah. I don't worry about it at all.

Anne Lackey: So for those of you that are on the fence, I'm here to tell you I've been doing some research here to see what the average length of hire it takes for more of the people and I'm the least amount of time to hire, give you three great candidates and that you can choose from all of them. And then we have the guarantee as well. We do a six month guarantee on our placements to make sure that we're helping along the way. So Jay, kind of wrap it up for us and tell us a little bit about what else you would add if anybody's considering using a remote team member or any other words of wisdom you-

Jay Berube: I got asked the other day, you know, how much does Anne charge? And I said, "Honestly, I don't know and I don't care because the time that it would spend me to find someone, right? To put out the ads and to... I would have to have my own remote team member just doing recruiting, hiring, the interview process. Right? The onboarding process. I mean it's a nightmare and I don't have to deal with any of that and my time is more valuable. So any PM owners or any owners that are thinking about getting a remote team member or thinking about working with you for it, it's extremely inexpensive and it's your time is more valuable. So yeah, there's no sense.

If there's something that can be done remotely for any one of my companies, I will first look for a remote team member, a virtual assistant before I look to hire someone else.

Anne Lackey: Well I thank you for that. And for those of you that are answering that... Are asking that question, our charge is $2,495, which from a recruiter level for an entry level position, that costs you in here in the US six grand or more. I mean for just a basic entry level position and we're not doing basic entry level positions, although we do have that, but a lot of our skillsets like you know Mikko's an inside sales rep BDM for you, right? So I mean that's not somebody that here locally could, and again, the costs for him is less than $20,000 a year. But yeah, again, that same person here in the US at least in my area, maybe it's different for you, Jay, certainly and feel free to correct me, but if I were to pay somebody that was on Mikko's level for here in Atlanta, we would probably be paying them $65,000, $70,000.

Jay Berube: Yeah, I was going to say 60 minimum. And you get the same work ethic. You don't get the same work ethic. I'll set Miko up with my training and his skillsets against any... Well not anybody, but a majority of ISAs, inside sales associates in the US and he is going to beat nine out of 10 of them.

Anne Lackey: So let me ask you a question, Jay, and again, if this isn't the right platform for it, certainly feel free to say that. But you do have a coaching program for... You have a training program that you provide property managers, is that correct?

Jay Berube: Yeah.

Anne Lackey: Alright. Are you open to new clients?

Jay Berube: Yes. If there's a property manager or real estate agent that's looking for sales, related skills, and training, I have a couple of awesome things that are going to be coming up soon, but are not open right now. So we don't have any open enrollments. But, in order to start getting acclimated with the type of training that I have, you can join the free Facebook group and that's easy. You can just go to salescommands.com and that will direct you to the free Facebook group where there's tons of trainings, free resources.

You know, my whole goal is to give agents everything they need, right? And when I say agents, I'm talking about property managers, real estate agents, because it's pretty much all the same when it comes to the sales part of it, right? The operations is completely different, but the sales part of it is very, very similar. So if you go to salescommands.Company, you'll be able to get right into the free Facebook group and you'll see all the trainings in there, the resources, and all that good stuff.

Anne Lackey: Well that sounds great. We're going to put a link to that as well in the transcript as well as we'll do it on our splash page at the close of this session. So Jay, thank you so much for having us and being with me today. I appreciate you so much as a client. I know you have a choice and I'm glad that you chose us. And again, we just are excited to have all of our clients share some of the best practices. So if you want to connect with Jay, make sure that you go to salescommands.com and again, the link will be in the show notes. So thanks so much and have a great rest of your day.

Jay Berube: Thanks, Anne. You too.

Discover great leverage to your business by hiring an experienced Virtual Employee. Listen to Your 20-minute Podcast of David Brower as Mark and I were invited to share profitable information on how you can start hiring your Virtual Employees as we answered most FAQ’s that I know you’ll be interested in.

Click HERE to listen.

Let us help your business! Feel free to book an appointment with me today and I will help you strategize the process - the easy way.

Sooner or later, your business is going to grow. When you start realizing this, you will also learn that there are some growing responsibilities involved. As this happens, you will be thinking about handing over some tasks to make room on your plate. Passing off tasks to virtual employees is a good move since it will allow you to focus on bigger picture strategies for your company.

If your business is at this stage, then you have reached an exciting time for your company! You are branching out. It may feel like uncharted territory and a bad time to hand the reins of responsibility over to someone else. There will come a time, however, when you will be sitting in an interview trying to make sure your first virtual employee (or tenth) is qualified to work for you.

No matter if you have hired VE's before, or this is your first time, here are 10 helpful questions you should always have ready for your interview to determine if the person is right for the job.

#1 – What do you consider your core skills and services?

This is an important question because it allows your VE to start talking about themselves. It’s here where you give them an opportunity to shine for you and pinpoint some of the key characteristics they can bring to your business.

#2 – How do you manage relationships with difficult clients?

No matter how you try to avoid it, a difficult client will always rear their ugly head. Your VE may be excellent in understanding different responsibilities and roles which are placed before them. It is also important, however, to know whether they can handle these difficult clients when they come their way.

Give them examples of past clients and the debacles you have personally been in and learn how they would approach the problem. While there are many correct ways to do this, pay attention to how they treat the client because this should always be your top priority.

#3 – Where do you see yourself within this company in 5 years?

Asking your virtual employee this question gives them an opportunity to see the future. This is a healthy way to invite them to dream about the open doors you have placed in front of them.

Loyalty is a key factor in any successful business and you want these key people around you while you grow. It’s an ownership of sorts. If your VEs see themselves running particular branches of your company in 5 years, then they own that idea and will run your company with your vision in mind. You can’t get any better than that.

#4 – Can you work the schedule I give you?

One of the many mistakes the first interview makes is not sharing a specific time frame within which you want your virtual employee to work. Determine which time zone your worker is in and, if you haven’t already, have a set time during which you desire them to work. Approach them with this question and learn their schedule and how you both can make it work.

#5 – Do you have a backup plan for your work?

It’s always important to understand your worker’s strategy. If your VE doesn’t have a backup plan for their work, how are they going to make a virtual meeting at 3 p.m. if their internet just went down?

Make sure you implement this immediately and make the worker know a backup plan is needed in case of different natural disasters or other circumstances which would take away the internet, phone, or any other medium, leaving them disconnected from work or clients.

#6 – Where are you most comfortable communicating?

Many people have different ways to communicate remotely. As a company, you probably need several modes of communication set in place to adhere to the different preferences throughout your business.

Learn what these preferences are. Make sure your VE can be contacted through various channels throughout the day, i.e., phone number, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. It’s imperative your VE has an open line to you and the other clients that they service under you so that they can be reached when they are needed.

#7 – Ask them about characteristics that you value in a VE

This is a question where you would fill in the blank. What are you really looking for in a VE? What do you want this person to be? Loyal? Workaholic? Social marketing savvy? Ask them specifically. It’s important to know how to find the people YOU want for this job.

#8 – How would you fix an internal problem with another VE or employee?

Here you will learn how well your prospect can problem solve within your business and if they are easy going, headstrong, stubborn, etc. The internal workings of your business are built on the foundations of people who can problem solve and know when to back down or speak up.

#9 – What do you know about our company?

Asking them this question will determine how much homework they have done on your business. The more they know about you, your core values, and how you conduct business, the better they understand your main goals.

#10 – Do you have any questions for me?

A very important question. This allows your VE to interview you in a way. It opens the door for new conversation and shows that you can be flexible to what they want of you. It’s important to get their questions answered in this interview because it isn’t a one-way street going your way. Both parties must conclude positively that this is the person and job they want to move forward with. It is important to the business that you are both comfortable with your arrangement.

In Conclusion

Hiring a VE doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re just getting started or you’ve been doing this a while, there are qualified workers out there who can do the jobs you have for them and do it all at a high level. These questions will help you weed out people and find the needle in the haystack.

Author Bio:

Wade Harman is a content writing wizard with an M.A. in Cognitive Psychology. He shares social media psychology and other marketing tips online related to cognitive trigger response. He loves to fish and read comic books for fun, to get the creative juices flowing.