An ISA for real estate is an inside sales agent who talks to and qualifies leads, as well as sets appointments for real estate agents. But their role goes beyond simply appointment setters or lead scrubbers—real estate ISAs are professional, highly trained sales people who are just as specialized in and dedicated to their craft as outside agents (real estate agents) are.
The question is, when is it time for your real estate business to hire an inside sales agent? That’s what we’ll cover in this article.
As we already mentioned, an inside sales agent is a trained, highly qualified sales professional who plays a crucial role in the lead generation and conversion process. For the majority of real estate companies, an ISA handles the following:
For many real estate businesses, there are two primary roles of an ISA. The first type contacts, qualifies, and sets appointments with inbound online leads, so the real estate agent can meet with them either in person or over the phone to close the sale and handle the home selling or buying process. The other real estate ISA role involves outbound prospecting. This latter job involves cold calling FSBOs (for sale by owners), expired listings, and past leads and clients.
More than anything else, the role of an inside sales agent means having productive sales phone calls that encourage leads to take action. Whether following up with old leads or inbound leads, or reaching out to cold leads, the person you hire has to be an excellent verbal communicator, needs to be self-motivated to continue making call after call, even in the face of rejection, should be friendly, and they have to be highly organized.
But even if you find the perfect candidate for a real estate ISA role, you still have to make sure your company is ready to hire one. If you hire an inside sales agent when your business is not ready for it or does not need it, then you risk wasting time and money.
Once you understand the value of having someone dedicated to following up with, nurturing, and converting your leads into clients, 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. In fact, probably the most important factor to consider when deciding whether to hire a real estate ISA or not is how much business you or your company is currently doing.
It’s no use to your real estate business if you hire an in-house ISA and they are sitting around for half the day with no leads to work and nothing to do. In order to be profitable and worth it for you to make the hire, a typical inside sales agent should be working a pipeline with about 500-1,000 leads at a time.
The minimum threshold that’s often recommended for agents or businesses is typically 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 leads 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 like we mentioned, to make the role worth your while, you need a steady stream of leads already coming in for them to convert.
No matter where you find your ISA candidates, whether from the recruiting team at your own brokerage, local career fairs, or you post the job on a career website, you need to hire a skilled sales person who is dedicated to growing your organization. If you want to drive sales and GCI and really grow your business, then you can’t get away with a low dollar-per-hour, part-time ISA or unreputable ISA company.
It’s simple; if you want to bring in new business, then you need to make a sufficient investment. If you’re hiring an in-house ISA, then you need to hire someone who is:
Your inside sales agent is a team member. They are a sales person. They should operate that way and be treated as such. Don’t make this position an experiment—you wouldn’t experiment with hiring an administrative assistant, buyer agents, or listing agents. Likewise, make the ISA role a legitimate and key position on your team.
Once you’re bringing in enough business and have a sufficient amount of leads to make the role worthwhile, a real estate ISA can make all the difference in the world for your company. They can take you from zero to one and help you grow a small organization or single solo agent operation into a thriving business.