Responding to a RFP need not drive Virtual Assistants nuts.
If you possess the qualities of a good Virtual Assistant you are halfway there.
Lately everybody wants to become a “work from home” administrative entrepreneur but before jumping onto the band wagon you should ask yourself whether you have the qualities to land yourself the job when responding to a rfp (request for proposal).
It is time to realise that being a Virtual Assistant differs from being a clerical worker or secretary employed by a company. Our duties are more diverse as we deal with different clients and we should relate to them in whatever way necessary to make their business, and the business owner’s life, run smoothly.
Considering and submitting a request for proposal is an exciting time for any new business owner. It means the business is doing well and the owner needs assistance as he is no longer able to effectively keep up with the demands of the business. It is therefore understandable that the choice of a Virtual Assistant will be given the utmost of consideration and that the business owner will ensure that the VA he decides on has the qualities he is looking for.
Although there are numerous qualities, the most wanted for an outstanding Virtual Assistant seem to be:
Computer Literacy and Internet Savvy
A Virtual Assistant should know how to use word processing software, email, calendar and scheduling software and other programs that help carry out duties. If you are not familiar with certain programs your clients use, you must be able to learn it quickly in order to adapt to their needs. It goes without saying that a Virtual Assistant should be highly trained and familiar with the internet as this is their way of doing business.
Personality and Professionalism
A Virtual Assistant needs a flexible, easy going personality because the demands of the clients can be quite stressful and diverse. Politeness and courtesy should be maintained no matter what the circumstances are. You should be able to know when to make professional independent decisions and when to follow strict procedures.
Good Communication Skills
Many of the chores of a Virtual Assistant will bring you into direct contact with your client’s customers and you must be able to communicate clearly to avoid misunderstandings. If you are able to keep your composure when communicating with difficult people or those who might be argumentative you’re a winner. Always note the tone of your voice and posture when dealing with clients.
An excellent perk a Virtual Assistant should offer, is a flexible working schedule that sometimes goes beyond the nine to five job. Occasionally the most carefully laid plans can fall apart with little or no warning. Instead of panicking or giving in to stress you must be able to quickly go into damage-control mode even if it means working through the night to get the job done.
With the diversity of chores required of a Virtual Assistant you should have high end organizational skills. You should be able to prioritize effectively, should not suffer from “analysis paralysis” and should be able to make decisions quickly and efficiently. One can say you should be super organized and practically have a computer in your head.
Dependability and Trustworthiness
A good work history is imperative for Virtual Assistance. Reporting to clients sporadically or being frequently late with assignments will cause overall frustration for your clients and will create more stress and not diminishing their workload. Keep clients informed and meet deadlines.
Since you may be exposed to classified documents and conversations, it is important to guard trade secrets and any classified information with strict confidence. Maintain positive control over business records as well as correspondence and emails. Oh yeah, and don’t discuss your clients with each other.
Enthusiasm and Initiative
Sometimes your clients will ask you to do something that seems impossible. This is when a Virtual Assistant needs to start digging for ways to fix the problem. Show initiative and enthusiasm, refrain from complaining and seek for solutions. Since you will have different clients, multi-tasking abilities are an absolute necessity. Delays will take place and plans will go awry when dealing with clients. Being enthusiastic and revealing initiative to solve your client’s problems will make you stand out above the rest. In other words, you should be an enthusiastic “Jack of all trades” with charisma.
In summing up. When responding to a RFP, make sure you outline your Virtual Assistant qualities in such a way that you will be the one to land the job.