In a previous article of ours, we talked about how the ISA for real estate role (inside sales agent) has blown up and expanded over the past five to ten years. Real estate ISAs have become a critical part of many teams and are essential to the lead conversion and sales process. As the number of inside sales agents and the scope of their role has expanded, there have been various innovations for how best to deliver the service they provide.
In other words, companies that decide to bring on a real estate inside sales agent have two primary routes they can take. They can either opt for an in house or virtual ISA. The difference between the two is that in the former case the ISA is an employee and directly a part of your team, and in the latter case you outsource the role to an ISA company.
The question is, which route is the better one for your real estate company, in house or virtual ISA?
In this article we’ll explore that question, as well as cover the following:
We’ve covered this topic before, but I just wanted to touch on it again briefly before we dive into specifically talking about virtual ISAs. An inside sales agent for real estate is a sales professional who basically brings your leads from start to finish and owns the entire sales process. Put simply, they take your prospects and turn them into clients.
It varies from company to company, but the role of an ISA usually involves the following responsibilities:
In terms of the real estate industry specifically, ISAs are skilled real estate professionals who are highly trained and dedicated to their craft in the same degree as an outside agent. They are known as “inside” agents because they are at the office and handle most of their work over the phone. This contrasts with an “outside” agent who is what you typically think of when you hear real estate agent—they spend time out in the field, meeting with clients face to face, and showing houses.
As we mentioned, the primary difference between an in-house ISA and a virtual ISA is that in the first instance you hire an inside sales agent to join your team, and in the second instance you contract an inside sales company to fulfill the role. Although there are freelance ISAs for hire, most real estate agents or businesses normally opt for hiring an ISA company instead. The reason for that is that they are often more reputable and have more resources to offer.
The way it usually works is you hire a company, let them know of any specific processes for your business and basically train them briefly on the way you do things and on your region or market. Then you put the team on your new or existing ad campaigns and lead generation sources, and they start hammering away with the follow up and lead qualification.
At PowerISA, our team takes the leads you generate, qualifies them, and either sets up an appointment for your agents or sends you live transfers. Then it’s up to your agents to bring the sale home. We handle the leg work, so that your team can take it over the finish line.
An in-house ISA, on the other hand, is in your office day after day talking to leads, calling expireds and FSBOs, circle prospecting, and handling other types of lead generation or conversion activities. You are responsible for training them both on the specifics of the way you do business and with sales and phone techniques more generally.
One of the primary benefits of using virtual real estate ISAs is that you have much fewer overhead costs and there are fewer extra pulls on your time. With virtual inside sales agents, you don’t have to take the time and effort to hire individual employees and you don’t have to manage them. Additional benefits of virtual inside sales agents are:
Another benefit of hiring a virtual ISA company is that you often have the flexibility to only pay for the level of service that you need. Whereas with an in-house ISA you’re paying them their salary and taxes regardless, so you better have enough work to keep them busy. With a virtual, you’re paying them for specific projects or campaigns and can decide how much or how many hours you want them working for you.
If you decide your company is ready for an inside sales agent, you have to determine whether to hire an in house or virtual ISA. Ultimately, this decision comes down to your particular business and its specific needs and constraints.
These are just a few of the questions you have to ask yourself when determining whether you want an in-house or virtual inside sales agent.
If you answered “yes” to all those questions, then you are most likely able to have success with an in-house ISA. The main benefit to in-house inside sales agents is that you have more control over the situation. You’re responsible for hiring and training each of them based on a process that you developed. They may also be better in tune with the way you like to do business and the ins and outs of your specific company.
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, then the best route for your real estate company may be going with a virtual ISA team.
The benefit of an ISA company like PowerISA is that you get instant access to a team of highly trained, experienced sales professionals right off the bat. You don’t have to spend so much time training them (other than updating them on your particular processes) and you don’t have to manage them. Plus, your overhead costs will likely be significantly lower than hiring one or two or three ISAs in house for your business.
In-house or virtual? The choice is yours.