The real estate ISA role has really blown up and expanded over the past five to ten years. If you work in the real estate industry, then you’ve probably seen and heard the term thrown around more and more. But what exactly is an ISA? Well, as it turns out, the question, “what is an ISA for real estate”, is one of the top search terms that lead people to PowerISA’s website. So, I thought it would be a good idea to shed some light on what exactly their role is and why they are important.
In today’s article, we’ll cover the following points:
Let’s dive in.
One of the primary questions on every real estate agent’s mind is how to convert more leads into real, tangible, profitable business. Modern technology and the internet give agents access to a much wider audience of potential clients, but it also gives those leads instant access to a large number of other agents in their area. It doesn’t matter how many leads you’re generating if you can’t convert them in to paying clients.
The question is: How do I take full advantage of the all the potential business coming my way?
This is where an ISA or inside sales agent comes into play. An inside sales agent for real estate is a sales professional whose job it is to nurture your leads from start to finish, throughout 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, the role of an inside sales agents goes beyond the general view of appointment setters or lead scrubbers—they are skilled real estate professionals who are highly trained, skilled and dedicated to their craft in the same degree as an outside agent.
This brings me to my next point, what is an inside vs outside sales agent?
You might be wondering why an ISA is called an INSIDE sales agent. Well, I’ll save you the suspense because they answer is pretty simple. Whereas an outside sales professional broker face to face deals in person, outside of the office, an inside sales professionals prospect, nurture, and convert leads to customers remotely, inside of the office.
Within the real estate industry, inside sales agents can be contrasted with outside agents (normally just called real estate agents). The two play complimentary parts within the real estate business, with inside agents qualifying leads and teeing up appointments, and the outside agents meeting with the lead face to face and actually working with them to buy or sell a home.
Although it varies from company to company, many real estate businesses will have different types of inside sales agents to convert different types of leads. The main distinct categories of real estate inside sales agents are usually outbound, inbound, and both outbound and inbound.
Although your real estate company may only be able to afford one ISA, it is generally recommended to not combine these two roles. Having one person perform both inbound and outbound inside sales is challenging because they are very distinct roles that require different types of behavior and personalities.
An outbound ISA should be more aggressive and driven to make cold calls, where an inbound ISA should be more of a customer service orientated individual that loves people and building relationships.
There are a number of skills to look for when considering hiring a real estate ISA. This is not to say that you should expect to find a single candidate with all of these skills or traits, but if they check multiple boxes, then they will most likely be a good fit for either an inbound or outbound inside sales agent.
Once you understand the value that having a professional that follows up with, nurtures, and converts your leads into clients brings to your business, the next question is when to hire one. When answering this question for your own real estate team, it really comes down to whether or not you are ready to scale and do more business. The threshold that’s often recommended is consistently closing one to two deals per month and having a well trained, experienced assistant handling your transactions for you. At that point, you’re bringing in enough business and have enough structure to easily tie in an ISA and grow your sales.
Additionally, you need to have a well established lead generation system in place. An ISA can help you bring in more leads through outbound activities like calling expireds and FSBOs, however, to make the role worth your while, you need a steady stream of leads already coming in for them to convert.
If you decide your company is ready for an inside sales agent, the next decision you have to make is 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. 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.
The advantage of an in house ISA is that you have more control over the situation. You’re responsible for hiring and training each ISA 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.
At the end of the day, it’s time to hire an ISA when you’re ready to shift your time to focusing on higher value activities. If you’re generating so much business that your time is taken up going on appointments, negotiating deals, closing on houses, and other tasks, then you can add an ISA to your team to help generate new business while you’re working current business.