Just a few years ago, inside sales agents, or ISAs, weren’t really a thing in real estate because the industry took more of a one-man-band approach. The easiest way for an agent to get a new lead was good ol’ desk duty: Sitting at the desk waiting for the lead to walk in or call and say, “I want to look at homes” or “I want to list my home.”
Today it seems like every real estate agent who generates leads wants to hire an ISA to call and manage their leads for them. Seems like an easy enough concept, right? Just find someone to call leads and set appointments for you. Unfortunately, as too many agents learn the hard way, it’s not that easy.
To help you avoid the hiring mistakes I made early in my career, I’m going to share my six tips for hiring real estate ISAs who can actually convert.
1. Make Sure You’ve Done the Job Yourself
Let’s face it, picking up the phone isn’t fun for most people.
But if you can’t conquer your own fears of the phone or get your own appointments, how can you expect someone to do it for you?
Yes, you can delegate, but understanding exactly how hard the job is (from experience) is crucial to hiring someone to do it for you.
I remember when I first started calling leads. My palms would sweat at the thought of picking up the phone and calling someone I didn’t know.
I would look at the profile, the list of homes they viewed, and invent multiple excuses to talk myself out of calling them. What if they hang up on me? What if I am bothering them? And then there was the big one: I don’t know what to say!
What does this have to do with hiring a real estate ISA, you may be asking?
Having been through the process yourself helps you calibrate your expectations. After all, you have already been through the objections and overcome them. You have figured out who the most valuable leads are and who to spend your time calling. You also know what to say and when to say it.
7 Proven Real Estate Cold Calling Scripts for Fearless Lead Gen
2. Hire Slow, Fire Fast
It’s not easy to hire the right person for a real estate ISA position. I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but skilled ISAs are hard to find. When I was hiring my first ISA, we sifted through hundreds of applications, and only four made it through the long interview process.
Why only four? Well, we were very specific with our directions on how to respond to the email we sent candidates. We explicitly told them what to type in the subject line and how to structure the email. So what happened next?
You guessed it: Only four could follow the very simple directions we gave them! We did hire one of those four candidates, but she consistently missed sales targets so we fired her. Yes, we spent a long time finding her, but if an ISA is not performing, you’re leaving deals on the table. So always hire slow and fire fast. You’ll get the right person eventually.
To make hiring easier, consider working with REALQualified’s team of highly trained real estate ISAs to follow up with your leads on your schedule.
3. Remember: You Can’t Train Your Real Estate ISA to Have a Great Personality
When I am looking for an ISA—or any hire—talent is exactly what I am looking for. I don’t care about their work history. I care about their goals, their drive, and their reason why. I can spot talent and train skill.
Personality evaluations, particularly DiSC assessments, are a great way to identify a person’s strengths and weaknesses in regard to administrative or sales skills. For the ISA position, it is good to have a mix of organization and people skills, and neither can really be taught.
How to Test an ISA’s Personality Before You Hire Them
The fastest way to confirm if a personality is right for the job is to role-play the most common objections with the potential new hire. Check to see if they are solutions-minded. Do they give up at the first sign of an objection, or do they ask more questions to engage the lead in further conversation? If the ISA remains curious, understands how to communicate the benefit of working for the company they represent, and genuinely cares about the lead’s experience, you have a winner.
If someone is merely looking for a paycheck, keep interviewing. This position is about much more than money.
[Video] 6 Buyer Objection Handlers + Examples From Real Cold Calls
4. Set Realistic Expectations for Your ISA
Ahhhh, expectations. I think we can all admit that the most difficult challenge to overcome with hiring for any position is finding someone to meet our standards.
Before you even think of hiring someone, I want you to ask yourself a question right now:
Can you explain your expectations in detail to your new hires? Do you even know your expectations?
Seems simple enough, but if you answer these questions with brutal honesty, you may realize why your last hire didn’t work out. Most of us just assume that everyone will treat their jobs like we do. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The most successful people I know are clear on their objectives and know exactly what to do. They set their employees up for that same success by communicating clear expectations for the role before they even start.
If you haven’t created one already, you can start by writing a clear, actionable business plan. You won’t be able to set expectations for your ISA if you don’t have expectations for your business.
7 Steps to Writing a Real Estate Business Plan (+ Worksheet)
5. Hire & Fire ISAs Based on Core Values
Knowing what you are—and are not—willing to tolerate is truly like a piece of magic in the hiring process. Making sure the potential ISA is in alignment with your culture and ethics is critical.
Once I had an ISA who would overpromise to buyer leads just to get them to commit to an appointment. When we would meet them at the appointment, they would say, “Well, your ISA said it didn’t matter what my credit score was,” or, “Your ISA said it didn’t matter what price I was looking for; she said you would be able to find me a home!”
This behavior ran contrary to my value of being honest with clients from the very beginning. A great coach once told me that every disagreement is a result of lack of communication. So make sure to communicate your values to your new real estate ISA, and fire them if they don’t live up to them.
Not sure what your core values as an agent, team, or brokerage are? Check out Coach Sean Moudry’s article on creating a mission, vision, and values statement here:
Create an Inspiring Mission, Vision & Values Statement for Your Real Estate Business
6. Build Your Business to Be Dependent on Systems, Not People
Without proper systems in place, your ISA is shooting in the dark. If you don’t think systems are important, why do you think more people invest into a franchise rather than starting their own boutique brokerage? Because the systems and the processes have been proven to generate income.
Business owners and employees can perform at a much higher level when hired with an easily duplicated system. Expectations are clear, the job description is written out, and accountability is present.
This is the biggest missing component in the real estate industry. It is easy to get caught up in delegating responsibility, but if not properly handled, it can quickly lead to disappointment. Remember, don’t simply throw someone into a position to fulfill a duty with no chance of it being successful. Use these tips to set up your new hire—and yourself—for success.
The Best Real Estate CRM for 2023: In-depth Reviews & Pricing
Real Estate ISA FAQ
What is a real estate ISA?
A real estate inside sales agent (ISA) qualifies inbound buyer and seller leads for agents, real estate teams, or brokerages. ISAs also nurture cold leads until they are ready to buy or sell. Once prospects are ready to transact, the ISA hands the lead off to an agent who then helps them close the transaction.
What skills do real estate ISAs need to thrive?
The most important skill for a real estate ISA is thick skin—they need to bounce back from rejection almost instantly. Many people get cold feet once they get hung up on a few times, but even the best ISA will get rejected—sometimes they get hung up on all morning! A thick skin is also important for dealing with prospects’ objections calmly and patiently.
As I went over in tip three above, this is not something you can train someone to do. To find out if a potential ISA has thick skin, give them a DiSC personality test, and see how they handle test objections in a role-playing session.
Do real estate ISAs need to be licensed?
While many ISAs are not licensed, anyone who directly helps another person buy or sell a home is required to have a real estate license. In practice, there is a fine line between helping someone buy or sell a home and following up on behalf of a licensed real estate professional. Legally speaking, real estate ISAs will be limited in what they can do if they do not have a license.
Where can I hire a real estate ISA?
There are two ways to hire an ISA. The first way is by placing an employment ad on a job hunting website like Indeed and then vetting and interviewing candidates. This is the best strategy for teams, brokerages, or individual agents who have a solid plan for training and managing an ISA.
The second way to hire an ISA is to use an ISA service like REALQualified. REALQualified hires and trains ISAs for you. That means you can just sign up and have an ISA start working your leads without placing ads, interviewing, or training them. This is a popular choice for busy individual agents.
Over to You
Have a great tip for hiring an ISA who can actually convert? Let us know in the comments.