I am buying a new vehicle.
Let me rephrase that. I am attempting to buy a new vehicle. My current car will be turned over to my soon-to-get his license 16-year old, and that means I need a new ride.
Over the years I’ve purchased 3 different vehicles. The first was a small pick-up truck after the car I was driving croaked. (It was my first brand new vehicle!) The second was a sedan I bought because we couldn’t fit a baby in a 2-seat pick-up truck. Then I bought my third, current car because the sedan croaked.
They were all vehicles I liked, but they were all bought because I “had to.” So I was getting whatever was on the lot that I could afford.
But now, I can be a little choosy. I can get what I want. (Well, mostly - what I want and my budget don’t quite sync up!) I can take my time and get the vehicle that will last for the next couple of decades.
So I did things differently.
I researched dealers. Then I researched certain salespeople at dealers. And I began to email them specifically, sending them my request. The type of car, the features (must haves and really wants), the monthly payment limit, the down payment, etc. I asked each person to let me know if they had a deal for me based on what I want (or at least something close).
Guess what happened? Nothing.
That’s right - nothing. No response. No reply even to tell me they couldn’t help me.
I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with car salespeople before, but for no one to reach out to me - that’s just not right.
Here I am, offering to spend money, asking for help - and I get no reply. What kind of good sales tactic is that?
In my business, when people contact me about my services, I reply. And sometimes there are people I cannot help. But I still reply. I actually look around for other VAs who may provide a service I don’t.
The first part of the sale is acknowledging the potential customer. Without that acknowledgement, it’s just a person wandering around a website, a parking lot or a showroom. How else do you expect to get people to purchase your goods or services if you’re not going to respond to them? How do expect to have an income?
I finally got one person who emailed me back, promptly and with information.
Guess who’s getting my business and my money?
There is a really good chain, “nicer” fast food restaurant just down the road from us, and they make a tasty burger. When the craving hits, we head over and grab some greasy goodness.
My son is specific about his burger. Very specific.
Ketchup - yes. Mustard - yes. Pickles - yes. Cheese - of course! Bacon - when the mood strikes.
But, please - NO ONIONS.
It’s really a simple request. Because each time you place your order, the person at the counter says “Do you want everything on that?” And each time my son says, NO ONIONS.
The first time he ordered a bacon cheeseburger, NO ONIONS.
He got a cheeseburger, with onions, no bacon.
Subsequent orders had the bacon - and onions. Last week he and I went - ordered inside, and again, the girl at the counter asked “do you want everything on that?” And he said, clear as day - NO ONIONS.
He got onions.
If I had to estimate, I’d say 95% of the time he orders, he gets onions.
But, you know what really bothers me? We keep going back.
We really shouldn’t. We are not getting the service we want. We are not getting what we ordered, what we expected. So why do we keep going back? Why do we keep spending money on something that’s not working?
Is it because it’s easy? Convenient? Because we don’t think it’s important?
It is important, though. We have certain expectations when we hire someone to perform a service. And when that service we order isn’t what’s delivered, we expect someone to correct the problem. If the problem doesn’t get corrected, why would we keep hiring that person?
(You see what I’m getting at, right?)
What are you spending your money on that you’re not getting what you paid for? Software? A coach? A virtual assistant? (wink, wink!) Maybe it’s time to get out of the easy/convenient comfort zone and reach out to find someone who’s going to provide you with great service 100% of the time.
Unless you’re okay picking the onions off your burger all the time.
The hiring process is a daunting task. You have to determine what you need. You have to determine the kind of person you’re looking for. You have to post a job. You have to review resumes. You have to schedule time to do interviews. And when you finally get to the interview, what questions should you be asking your potential virtual assistant?
There are a lot of simple, generic questions that you will ask after reviewing someone’s resume: Why did you apply for this position? What’s your hourly rate? But if you’re going to hire the best assistant for your needs, you need to ask these three questions.
How much time do you have to devote to me/my business?
If you need someone 20 hours a week and she is already working 40 hours between other clients, you may be put on the bottom of the To Do list. I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of candidates for positions my client was hiring for, and there are plenty of people that are happy to work 60-80 hours per week. Still, this can affect how your tasks get done.
Perhaps you need someone to be available during normal business hours to answer calls. How will they be handling that if they’re already working for other clients during normal business hours?
It’s important that you understand how the virtual assistant handles her work and her workload between clients. You should always feel like you’re first in line, even if she has a thousand other clients.
Do you outsource your work?
I have spoken with so many different people who told me they hired someone, and then later found out that that person wasn’t doing the work. That’s a problem. When you’re interviewing, the expectation is that the person that you are speaking with is the one who is doing the work. Here at Your Gal Friday, potential clients always speak with me, and I always disclose the fact that, not only will I be working for them, but my entire team will be, too. And clients can choose to only work with one person that they can be in constant contact with, too.
Find out if the person you’re interviewing is a solo virtual assistant, has a team that will be helping, or if they just work with other virtual assistants around the world to share work. You should always know who is handling your work, and you have every right to interview those others as well as the primary virtual assistant.
Can you provide references to current clients?
It is critically important that you check professional references. This gives you the ability to find out from other professionals how this virtual assistant performed tasks, how well she communicated, kept to deadlines, and worked with other team members. Being able to speak with current references will give you a lot of insight into your potential hire, and you’ll be able to spot red flags during the call.
Ready to Ask More Questions?
If you are ready to ask more questions and find out about hiring Your Gal Friday as your virtual assistant, contact us today.
One of the toughest questions you may struggle with when growing your business is “How do I know it’s the right time to hire help?” It’s always good to hire help before you need it (no one wants to be in desperation mode when it’s time to hire!), but here are three tips to help you decide if the time is right.
You spend more time doing administrative work than networking and working with clients.
If the majority of your day is spent doing research, billing, customer service and social media posts, you need help. The basic, administrative tasks that occur daily should be handed off to someone so that you can focus all of your attention on gaining clients, creating products and growing your business. Think of if this way - an assistant maintains your business while you are working to grow it. No one else can do what you do, but plenty of people can answer the phone and respond to emails.
With each new client you get, you become more afraid that you can’t handle everything.
If the joy of gaining a new client is quickly squashed by the fear that there is no way you’ll be able to support them properly because you have so many things going on, it’s time to get help. When you surround yourself with people who can alleviate your stress by taking care of the fundamentals of your business, you can breathe and focus on new clients with a positive, relaxed attitude.
You want to start expanding into aspects of business you’re not strong in.
Thinking it’s time to start a podcast, create an online program, just start up an Instagram account, but you have no idea where to begin? This is absolutely the time to build up your team. Hire experts who know how to use the tools, understand what it is you need, and can create systems and programs easily - because that’s what they do.
Don’t wait until it’s too late (i.e. you’re overwhelmed) to bring help on board for your business. Even if it’s just bringing on an assistant for an hour each day, start building your team now so that your business can consistently grow with ease.
Happy New Year!
Each year we, as individuals, profess a litany of resolutions that we believe we can achieve. And most fall by the wayside - pretty quickly. I personally have decided to curb my enthusiasm for, shall we say, “blue” language. I have an English degree and should be more eloquent, even when I’m just sitting here at home talking to my cats or the TV.
I don’t want to make resolutions for Your Gal Friday. Instead, I just want to remind everyone of our Commitment to you this year (and every year!).
Honesty - We’re always going to be honest with you with our capabilities. I have had several people contact me, asking for services that I just can’t provide. We’d love to be able to help everyone, but it’s just not possible. We won’t like and try to fake it. That’s not cool, and it’s not helpful.
Helpfulness - We are here to help you. We want to make your life easier. We want you to succeed. When you succeed, we succeed. And we think that’s awesome. In those times when we don’t know what we’re doing, we’ll tell you. And then we’ll help you try to locate the right person to help you. We are connected with SO MANY wonderful, smart, brilliant, talented people that we would be happy to refer to you. We’re going to do whatever we can to get solve your problems.
Hardworking - We’re busting our butts to get your work done, on time, quickly and affordably. We’ll continue to stay in touch. We’ll continue to ask questions as we need to. We’ll continue to find better ways to help you succeed.
We’re committed to making your 2019 a fantastic year for your business. We appreciate you allowing us into your business lives, and we look forward to meeting new entrepreneurs and business owners who are ready to take the next step to grow their businesses.
~The Your Gal Friday Team
28+ years of business experience. 15+ years of virtual experience.