Your leads want to talk to you. They want you to answer all their questions and point them in the right direction. They want it now. This isn’t news to you.
But did you know you may be missing as many as 49% of your leads?
Think about it. There are nearly 2 million real estate agents fighting over the 5 million homes sold each year.
Do your online leads have the same loyalty to you as referrals?
Of course not. They want an instant response. They’ll go with the first agent to respond to their inquiry.
We know you are well aware of your customers' demands. You’ve set up all of the necessary tactics to ensure you’re driving online leads. You know you have to respond as fast as you can because you’re sure the agent down the road will. You know the odds of reaching a lead decrease more than 100 times after an hour.
But, you also want a little bit of free time.
You want to sleep. You want to just take a break. Watch a movie with your family. Go to the bathroom.
You know your real estate team is in the same situation. You don’t want to push these leads to your team.
Seriously, how can you focus on your lead conversion efforts while still balancing a semblance of “you” time?
That is where an ISA comes in.
When to Hire an ISA
Setting up your online lead flow is a fantastic first step towards your lead nurturing efforts.
But, now what?
Do you really want to do all those cold calls?
Picking up the phone knowing you’re likely not going to get a voicemail on the other line is depressing.
Plus, you’ve got goals to make. You have an open house to prepare for. You have clients wanting to go see houses tonight. Maybe now is a great time to look into hiring an Inside Sales Assistant, or ISA.
So, what is a Real Estate ISA?
An Inside Sales Agent, or ISA, is typically an unlicensed or licensed salesperson responsible for nurturing and converting your inbound leads.
An ideal time to hire an ISA is when you have enough volume coming in that could keep an ISA pipeline between 500 to 1,000 leads.
They wear the inbound ISA hat while you wear the closing sales hat. They improve your lead response times and conversion rates.
There are many reasons to hire an ISA. For starters, hiring an ISA is a great way to build relationships with your leads that are set to bring success to your business.
The personal contact your ISA has with leads is a sure-fire opportunity to build those relationships that help referral business in the future.
Not to mention ISA talent allows you the free time you need while allowing you to win the speed to lead race the business is overwhelmed with. And as we know well by now, you're 21 times less likely to convert a lead after just 5 minutes of not responding to them.
Consider your ISA your lead insurance policy. You know they’ll respond to your lead with the main goal to set appointments for you.
Then, it is up to you to convert the lead. But that is what you do best.
Hiring the Right ISA
The world of an ISA is met with constant rejection.
You remember. You hate making cold calls. But, you know time making phone calls is one of your top key metrics.
You also know prospecting for new leads is significantly important to your business.
To ensure you’ve hired the right inside salesperson representing you on the front lines it’s important to have the right personality type.
There are 8 Interview Questions to Recruit the Best Real Estate Inside Sales Agents to help you during the interview process to hire an ISA.
Using the DISC profile, he suggests hiring a DC or a CD personality for an ISA role.
Then, considering their hunger and potential as another 25% of the fit for your team. Lastly, how that person fits into your culture as 50% of his hiring model.
Even if the person is hungry and has the right personality, they need to fit into the culture of your team.
Then, once you have the ISA hired you’ll want to be sure you properly train them. They’ll be your first point of contact with future business.
Proper training will put them in your buyer’s shoes to understand why your leads have contacted you, to begin with.
Your ISA training and onboarding are key to success and retention, and most people get this wrong. Think about it this way: would you give your new teenager keys to a Range Rover the day they turn 16? Hopefully not, because they have a high chance of crashing it, and not to mention it instills a bit of spoiled nature into them. You're better off giving them your family's 20-year-old beater that barely runs to start.
The same goes for your ISA training. Hot, new internet leads from places like Zillow are like the Range Rover. Older, lower quality and longer-term leads are the beater car. Give your new ISAs the keys to those old leads to start, make them work for those deals. It'll prove to you and themselves that they are cut out for this role, rather than spoiling them on it from the get-go.
Plus, in order to keep them motivated, it is recommended to put an incentive on the table to show them how much you appreciate their hard work.
But, we’ll get into both of those areas later.
Once you’ve hired and trained your ISA you want to be sure they’ll stick around for a while.
You’ll need to find the right balance between base and variable pay as discussed above.
According to the Hatch Coaching team, commissions for an ISA usually do not flow in during the first six months, but admittedly every market is different.
As a result, they’ve built in a 20% salary bump for ISA’s during that period to make sure the ISA ramp up works for the ISA.
They then ramp that down to 5% commissions on the buy-side and 10% on the sale side, once the ISA has had time to close business.
The revenue for the ISA comes out of the agent's commission.
This works to create a true partnership between the ISA and their respective agents, who both benefit from the combined efforts.
So, you might be asking when it is time to hire an ISA.
Glad you asked.
Robby Trefethren, with Hatch Coaching, details his strategy for hiring ISA’s on The ISA Radio podcast in much greater detail than we are describing here.
But, he says it makes sense to hire an ISA when they can have a consistent volume of 350 incoming leads per month.
Typically, top-performing ISAs can have as many as 3,000 - 5,000 leads in their pipeline (meaning following-up with at various phases) at any given time.
He admits 200 new leads a month should keep an ISA busy.
Ultimately, it takes a significant amount of time for an ISA to build up their pipeline. So plan on compensating your ISA accordingly.
They need to have enough runway to get in the door, and that can be accomplished with a greater base salary to start, and a fair compensation split, typically based on appointments procured, when their pipeline is more established.
On top of hiring and training an ISA, you surely want them to be successful.
You want to ensure you have the best return on investment. The ISA model done right has the ability to provide exponential, lasting returns to your business.
Just ask Danielle Cuevas, an actual inside sales agent herself at Keller Williams Premier Realty (and avid Structurely fan). Danielle is constantly finding ways to leverage and improve the efficiency of their team's ISA model. It's why she's chosen to use ISA tools like Structurely to nurture, engage and qualify leads for her, so she can spend her time only focusing on the best leads at the right time.
Technology is a partner, not a replacement for ISA’s. It is a great asset for long term value.
Then, you’ll need a good CRM for proper lead management. You could consider tools like Salesforce.com or Hubspot to make the lead flow process very smooth but you’ll likely want to focus on a CRM solution-focused in the real estate market, like Follow Up Boss, Real Geeks, Lion Desk, or CINC (check out even more real estate CRMs that Structurely supports here)
We believe the best CRM is the one you use.
But, even then, there is another tool that can still lend a hand.
Aisa Holmes has worked with ISAs to scale their efforts to drive qualified warm leads by being available 24/7, 365 to have 2-way, real estate text message conversations after relentless long term follow-up. Plus, Aisa lets ISAs and agents go to the bathroom or sleep. Even if you are focusing on old leads.
After all, your leads don’t only want to talk to you on the phone.
65% of customers would rather just text or message rather than picking up the phone or email.
Aisa helps your real estate team scale their lead generation, follow-up and conversion efforts and does it with an amazing personality, empathy, and emojis. 😀
ISA Training and Scripts
There are certainly many options to help train your ISA to either get up to speed or stay on top of the industry trends.
Yet, it is a best practice to consider how your ISA’s will taking in your training schedule while you’re putting it together.
Then, you’ll need to identify a good outline or schedule to ensure you cover all the areas needed to train your new ISA.
During the training you should answer the following questions:
- Where do you see yourself a year from today?
- What mark do you want to leave on the company?
- What new skill do you want to learn this year?
- Where do you see the company a year from now?
- Where should we go for the next company retreat? Why?
As we mentioned earlier, your ISA training should put the focus on following-up with and talking to older, and frankly crappier, leads. This will set an excellent playing field to not only help your ISA showcase their hunger and drive, but to get accustomed to dealing with the hardest conversations first, so the easier conversations will be a breeze later.
Another must-do emphasis of your real estate ISA training is role-playing.
It's impossible to imagine every possible scenario and conversation an ISA can have with the hundreds of thousands of leads they'll speak to. Spend up to 3 hours every week (and significantly more than that during the first 4 weeks of training) with your ISA team role-playing.
Once you have a good feel for your training schedule it is time to start thinking through your scripts.
Whether you work with Structurely or not, scripts are a great way to make sure your team is prepared for the challenges, objections, and successes that come with the lead generation process.
While it might be easy to use a product like Structurely, who has pre-built scripts that are tried and true with exceptional results (like a 57% engagement rate 😀) we recommend that your team develops scripts uniquely tailored to your business.
And lucky for you, Structurely offers full script customization! So once your team has developed, and been trained on your unique scripts, you can upload them to Structurely and know every lead will get that consistent experience your team is looking for when representing your business to your leads.
Our Aisa Holmes has an amazing list of real estate text message templates that are perfect for real estate teams if you're looking for inspiration to get started.
But, alas, we know not every ISA team is working with Aisa so we want to focus on scripts for your ISA team that are not part of our solution.
The best ISA scripts are really questions. Intentional questions that not only help develop the lead but also engage them while increasing your credibility.
They also classify the lead with the intention of positioning them to convert.
Good scripts are absolutely vital, as Evan Carmichael says.
Without scripts, your ISA’s are flying blind and may even have a fear of following-up with your leads.
Real Estate ISA Companies
If you’re not quite ready to hire a new employee, there are certainly options.
There are real estate ISA companies that provide a virtual ISA to support your real estate team.
That option allows you the expertise of industry-trained ISA, or a team of ISAs, without the overhead of an employee.
With this process, the ISA reaches out to your online lead via a phone call to qualify and do a quick intake process before handing off the lead to you.
Some of these solutions do have direct integrations to your CRM but most provide the lead information to you in the form of an email.
And of course, if you're looking for a real estate ISA company that text messages your leads in under 2 minutes, 24/7, 365, follows-up for a year, and has empathetic, 2-way conversations with your leads - all while being directly integrated to your CRM, look no further than your friends here at Structurely.
ISA’s can be an extremely important part of your business if you know when and how to hire them, you’re intentional with your hiring, training, tools and you have a fair and profitable compensation structure.
Let this Definitive Guide to Real Estate ISAs be your go-to resource for everything ISA. We know when done right, your business will thank you 10 fold for bringing in an ISA (you'll only be asking yourself why you didn't do it sooner).
Thankfully at Structurely, we're lucky to have worked over 1 million real estate leads on behalf of real estate teams, agents and ISAs across the country, which have influenced this guide. So after reading this, we can assure you that you're only getting the best first-hand knowledge available.
Thanks for reading and happy closings! 🥂