Any real estate agent looking to expand their business knows the challenges of prospecting, chasing cold leads, setting appointments, and making countless calls. It can be exhausting and time-consuming. That’s where real estate inside sales agents (ISAs) come in. They are a valuable resource in the industry, especially considering that 94% of buyers prioritize responsiveness in a real estate agent. If you’re an agent or a real estate team looking to save time and increase sales by getting assistance with lead qualification, follow-ups, and scheduling, ISAs are definitely worth considering.
Understanding the Role of a Real Estate ISA
A real estate ISA’s primary responsibility is to transfer as many sales-ready leads as possible to a real estate agent. By doing so, they significantly increase an agent’s or team’s bottom line by improving lead conversion rates. It’s important to note that an ISA is not the same as a regular assistant. Real estate ISAs focus specifically on inside sales.
The Duties of a Real Estate ISA
Real estate ISAs are often considered to be jacks-of-all-trades due to their diverse skill set. Depending on the needs and goals of the real estate agents they work with, ISAs can perform a variety of tasks. Some of their critical responsibilities include:
- Setting appointments
- Prospecting for new leads
- Making cold calls
- Qualifying incoming leads
- Following up with past leads
- Scrubbing leads
Let’s take a closer look at three of their main responsibilities and the specific tasks that fall under them.
Prospecting involves various activities, such as cold-calling prospects like expired listings and for-sale-by-owners (FSBOs) to identify potential opportunities. It also entails conducting market research to determine the most effective ways to target prospects and evaluate their potential.
Qualifying leads requires identifying sales-ready leads and contacting new leads. ISAs assess leads to determine if they are qualified or not, and then add them to the real estate agent’s customer relationship management (CRM) system for the appropriate follow-up.
Following up includes converting unqualified leads into qualified ones by addressing their needs and overcoming any barriers they may have. For example, if a lead requires a lender, an ISA can assist them in finding one. Considering that 80% of sales require an average of five follow-up calls, effective follow-up is crucial. ISAs may also follow up with past clients to request referrals for new leads.
When to Consider Hiring a Real Estate ISA
Deciding when to hire a real estate ISA depends on several factors, including the number of leads you are currently managing, your current business volume, your readiness to scale, and the number of deals you close each month. To make hiring an ISA a profitable addition to your business, you should typically have a minimum of 500 leads for them to work on simultaneously. If you have reached that lead threshold, it’s a good time to start your search for an ISA. Other indicators that you should hire an ISA include consistently closing at least two deals per month and already having an excellent assistant. Remember, an ISA’s role is to grow your sales, not to replace your assistant.
Essential Skills and Qualities of a Real Estate ISA
Skilled real estate ISAs are well worth their salaries, and finding the right fit for your business is crucial. Some of the essential skills and qualities you should look for in a real estate ISA include:
- Outstanding organizational skills
- A solid understanding of drip campaigns and CRM systems
- The ability to handle rejections professionally
- Comfort with making cold calls every day
- Proficiency in following scripts
- Effective written and verbal communication skills
- A goal-oriented approach
Additionally, a good ISA should have a clear understanding of the services and sales processes of the real estate agent or team they work with. They should also be friendly, energetic, and skilled problem solvers.
Setting Your Real Estate ISA up for Success
Once you have selected an ISA through the interview process, it’s essential to set them up for success. This involves providing the right training, establishing a suitable workflow, and setting goals and targets.
Proper training is crucial for ISAs to focus on the right leads. If possible, a three-week training process is recommended. During the first week, the real estate ISA should job shadow to learn how your team operates. In the second week, they should practice what they have learned and receive tips. In the third week, they should start making calls while being shadowed and receiving feedback from their trainer(s).
Different CRM workflows work well for different real estate teams. Some common workflows include:
- From the lead source to the agent to the ISA
- From the lead source to the ISA and the agent together
- From the lead source to the ISA to the agent
You may already have a preferred workflow in mind, or you may need to experiment to find the best one for your team.
Goals and Targets
From the beginning, it is important to have clear metrics for measuring your ISA’s success. Setting target metrics upfront allows you to objectively evaluate their performance and track their improvement over time.
Understanding ISA Compensation Models
Real estate ISAs are typically compensated using one of three models:
- Fixed salary at an hourly rate plus a bonus for each qualified lead
- Fixed salary at an hourly rate plus commission
- A 100% commission model
The 100% commission model is the least popular because ISAs tend to focus only on the easiest inbound leads to convert, neglecting the rest. In the salary plus commission model, commissions ranging from 5% to 15% are typical.
Considerations for Hiring Real Estate ISA Services
If you prefer not to hire an ISA directly, many real estate ISA companies can assist you. Here are some reputable options to consider:
Upcall specializes in outbound sales needs, providing lead generation outsourcing without the need for a dedicated sales team. Pricing starts at $1,000 per month.
Smart Alto offers ISA services that include text messaging and integrated website chat capabilities. Their live virtual assistants start at $300 per month.
Verse.io offers lead nurturing and follow-up services as a concierge provider for real estate professionals. Pricing starts at $1,800 per month.
Structurely offers ISA software to engage leads in the sales funnel. They provide chatbot integration for your website and also offer live chat functionality. Service packages start at $179 per month.
AgentAssistant provides incoming lead calling and appointment-setting services. They also have a program for cold calling leads. Pricing starts at $399.95 per month.
Attract More Leads with Luxury Presence
While a real estate ISA can help generate more leads for your business, it’s important to have a well-established lead generation system in place. Luxury Presence offers award-winning marketing solutions designed to help you attract more leads. Their services include customized websites, On-Demand Ads™, Home Value Reports, and more. Schedule a free demo to discover how Luxury Presence can help you generate leads easily and efficiently.
To learn more about real estate ISAs and their impact on your business, visit Garrity Traina.