How to outsource work in Real Estate
A beginner’s guide to setting up your Real Estate agency for success when using offshore staff.
If you haven’t gone down the path of outsourcing before, you’ve likely heard a few horror stories or examples of how it can go wrong.
Despite a large number of agencies trying and turning their back on the concept of outsourced work, if done right, it can be extremely beneficial for your business, staff, and clients.
In this guide, we’ll give you the tools to make an informed decision when it comes time to make that next hiring decision.
Systemise your business
The first step to success in outsourcing is document and systemise your business’ workflows. While this is important for all businesses, even if they are not outsourcing, it is especially important if you want to employ someone remotely.
A common mistake we have seen is businesses is not having a good system for sending work across to their offshore staff. Not having clear processes for them to follow.
When he spoke about the experience in recent times, real estate trainer and innovator Lee Woodward summed it up perfectly.
“We’ve watched Australian Real Estate fail at outsourcing for years”.
“They would just send the work overseas and when it didn’t work straight away they would wonder why”.
So why did these businesses fail?
More often than not, they didn’t have the systems and processes in place to support their team in the office, let alone someone working remotely.
The key here is to have a clear and consistent way of working in place.
One that can be taught and repeated no matter where the staff member is.
Before you look to find and engage an offshore staff member, evaluate and systemise your business.
It will provide a greater chance of success with your future offshore staff, as well as provide a better foundation for your existing/local staff.
Is it easy for your staff to find information about your properties?
Are your staff able to cover for each other if someone is out of the office, away sick, or on leave?
Do you have a clear process for how each task needs to be done that can be accessed by new or existing staff?
Are you able to quickly and easily get an overview of all tasks due today across your business?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, move on to the next step.
Find a Real Estate Outsourcing specialist
If you search online for outsourcing, you will see the explosion of providers all vying for your attention.
Many outsourcing providers service multiple industries, from accounting to web development.
However, we believe it is a mistake not to partner with a specialist Real Estate outsourcing provider.
The Australian Real Estate Industry is highly dynamic and can be complex, and businesses need their offshore team up-to-date with changes to regulations and legislation requirements.
It is hard for “generic” outsourcing providers to have the same attention to detail, and the same passion for the industry as a specialist Real Estate outsourcing provider.
Australian businesses have learnt the hard way that they didn’t read the fine print when left with someone untrained for their role.
Real estate-specific training and ongoing support provided by industry experts who know the challenges involved in offshore support staff is essential, however, the level of training and support offered by outsourced providers can vary.
Partnering with an organisation whose only focus is real estate can help you navigate this tricky environment, and you will invariably benefit from their expertise and industry experience.
How many industries does the provider work in?
Are they specialists in Real Estate?
How are their staff trained?
Do they offer support to ensure success?
If you’re satisfied you’ve found a provider that specialises in Real Estate, offers support, and has highly trained staff, move on to the next step.
Bring your onshore staff along for the journey
Going down the outsourcing path is not about replacing your onshore team, it’s about elevating them.
But it is important for leaders to bring their onshore team along for the journey, and be completely upfront about their reasons for this decision.
This will help your existing team feel less threatened and help them buy-in to the decision, making the whole process smoother.
One leader who knows about this better than most is Troy Pullar from Harcourts. Watch the clip below where he outlines the steps he took to get his team to buy-in to his decision to hire offshore staff.
Troy Pullar on his offshoring journey as a leader.
Interview the staff yourself
It can be easy to trust the process and let an outsourcing provider pick the staff for you.
We strongly suggest that you make the time to attend the interview and find a staff member who you feel will become a great part of your team.
When you are hiring an overseas staff member, you are choosing someone who is going to work closely with your team, on a full-time basis.
You should ultimately have the final say if you want them to join your team.
Being able to do the job is crucial, but it is equally essential that you have trust, rapport, and, ultimately, that you like them and want them working in your team.
It sounds simple, but a surprising number of Australian agencies have repeated this mistake.
Integrate your offshore staff into your team
The average tenure of an offshore team member is 3x greater than the average Australian Property Manager, so this can be a long-term success.
If you’re going to get the most out of your staff, you’ll want them to have high job satisfaction.
The best way to achieve this is to make sure they’re part of the business, not “out of sight, out of mind”.
At STAFFLINK, we encourage our clients to have regular team meetings and check-ins, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and really get to know their offshore team members.
It’s also important to conduct annual reviews, just like you would with your onshore staff as this is a great way to ensure their ongoing buy-in and contribution to your team.
Give your offshore staff tasks that will support your team
Provide a clear checklist and tasks that will allow your team to provide great customer service.
This doesn’t mean just throwing data entry at them.
Offshore team members love to offer benefits and provide value to their onshore colleagues.
If they can take admin off the hands of those on the client-facing side, there will be real satisfaction in their contribution to the business.
As Ainsley Driver (McGrath, Bundaberg) found out, there are also unexpected benefits for your onshore staff as well.
“I actually found that they started spending more time on the things that they enjoyed, and they focused on relationships. It definitely revolutionised the way we do things.”
Measure your client experience using NPS
Once you’ve started using offshore staff you may notice certain benefits, such as a reduction in costs, and by getting your team to buy-in to a new way of working, your business will be more efficient and enjoyable place to work.
But it is crucial to ensure that your client experience is also improved as a result, this is the main reason why businesses should look to outsource.
Using an NPS score to measure client experience will give you a great idea of how your re-structuring is affecting on client experience.
It will also assist in future business decisions if approached correctly, you can learn more about NPS here.