Do You Need A Real Estate Inside Sales Agent?

Real estate inside sales agent
Real estate inside sales agent

Do You Need A Real Estate Inside Sales Agent?

An inside sales agent can be the best thing for your real estate business. Once you’re is ready for it, it becomes an imperative to hire an ISA in order for your business to continue to grow and be successful. They perform a crucial role, which becomes more and more crucial as you do more business and your real estate company becomes bigger and bigger.

What Is an ISA?

You might be thinking, “Okay, you’re telling me this person is critical to my real estate business’s continued success, but what do they actually even do?”

At Smart Inside Sales, we like to explain the role of ISAs to my clients in terms beyond the general view of appointment setters or lead scrubbers—ISAs are skilled real estate professionals who are highly trained, skilled, and dedicated to their craft in the same degree as an outside agent.  The advantage of the ISA is that they specialize in the initial tasks of lead generation, lead nurturing, and setting listing and buyer consultation appointments.

Basically, a real estate inside sales agent is a lead generating and converting ninja who, as opposed to an outside agent, conducts their craft over the phone instead of in person. They are first point of contact with your real estate company and are responsible for getting new business in through the door.

The basic structure of a real estate inside sales role is:

  • ISAs receive inbound leads and conduct rigorous outbound prospecting to uncover leads.
  • ISAs scrub leads, determine motivation, timing and ability.
  • ISAs set the listing and buyer consultation appointment for an outside agent.
  • ISAs also maintain a nurturing database of leads and work that database to produce future appointments.

Why Hire an Inside Sales Agent

Once hired and properly trained, leveraging an ISA will allow your business to grow by leaps and bounds. Within their first 12 month, you can expect your ISA to produce between 50 and 60 transactions.

Though it varies, on average ISAs are compensated by a low salary and between 5%-15% commission. This may seem like a lot, but a well-trained ISA is more than worth it. According to a statistic from the Real Estate Trainer, real estate teams which utilize ISAs have found the income they produce to be at least five times the cost of employing them, amounting to a 5 to 1 return on investment.

ISAs will do this by establishing for you a consistent and predictable stream of seller and buyer leads. The key is to establish an effective training program, and clear expectations of what the ISA is supposed to accomplish.

What Happens if You Don’t Hire an Inside Sales Agent

As with every new employee, hiring a real estate ISA is a large investment and includes some significant up front costs. However, if your business is at the point where it is bringing in around 150,000 in annual GCI, and you already have a well-trained assistant handling your transactions for you, then you may actually suffer by not hiring an ISA.

First off, by not hiring an ISA, your real estate business is going to be missing a boat load of opportunities. As you’re business grows you’re agents are necessarily going to be becoming busier. They are going to be setting more meetings, showing more houses, making more sales, and, generally, having their time stretched more and more thin. This means that prospecting is going to go by the wayside. Or, if agents continue to devote time to prospecting, they will most likely have less time to diligently spend on follow up.

And as you probably know, follow up is everything in real estate. Most seasoned agents and real estate professionals will tell you that after a lead comes in, you have to follow up and make contact within five to ten minutes. That’s it, that’s your window. Now you are starting to understand why it’s critical to have an inside sales agent dedicated to prospecting and following up with leads.

You Need a Real Estate ISA for Higher Quality Leads

Next up, your business will suffer without a real estate ISA because you will be regularly receiving lower quality leads. First, there is less time and effort dedicated towards prospecting, meaning that your leads and prospects are less diligently vetted. This results is more missed appointments and in wasting time with people who are not actually serious about buying or selling a home. And second, there is less trust fostered between your company and the prospect or lead. This is the result of less contact.

On the other hand, if you have a solid ISA and a consistent nurture strategy in place where you can foster relationships, your listing appointments are not only of a superior quality, but they are easier ,and take less time, for you to convert.

Without an ISA, it’s hard to make the requisite 6 to 8 contacts, or more, to prospects to establish a great foundation and nurture a relationship to the point where buyers and sellers welcome you and your agents into their home buying or selling process.

Listing Appointments Suffer without a Real Estate ISA

There are a lot of potential leads out there, if you only are willing to and know where to look. You need dedicated ISAs who are constantly picking up the phone to contact expireds, withdrawns and FSBOs a daily basis.

ISAs are critical here because their job is wholly dedicated to picking up the phone and having successful sales conversations, they’re going to be on the phone 6.5 to 7 hours per day—every day, and they ensure that dials are made to get the requisite number of contacts to get you consistent listing appointments.

Real Estate Inside Sales Agents Are Required for Growth

The fact of the matter is that real estate agents are primarily focused on the here and now business. This makes sense as they rightfully have to be focusing on buying and selling homes for existing clients. Having an inside sales agent means someone in your company is keeping an eye on the future. Finding new leads, making contact, and nurturing them into future clients.

How to Convert Expired Listing Leads

real estate expired listings
real estate expired listings

How to Convert Expired Listing Leads

Converting expired listings can be difficult. When calling expireds, how many times have you heard the words, “You’re the thousandth agent that has called me”? As soon as a listing appears on the MLS as expired, many many agents start circling like sharks, calling them, pitching them, doing whatever they can to sign the lead.

The question is, how do you stand out from the avalanche of other agents all calling the same expired leads in your market? How do you convince this home seller that you are the agent who will get their house sold this time around?

Lots of competition. That’s the first difficulty with going after expired listings.

The second difficulty is the fact that prospecting expireds means you have to do what both new and experienced real estate agents often dread doing: cold calling.

Cold calling is never easy, and, to make matters worse, expired listing leads are not the easiest people to talk to. By definition the house they are trying so hard to sell didn’t sell. That means that something went wrong, they didn’t achieve their goal, they are frustrated, and they are probably exhausted.

And now they are being called by hundreds of real estate agents and ISAs, hearing the same thing over and over about how, although their home didn’t sell the first time around, this or that company has an edge that will get it sold this time.

What Is an Expired Listing?

Put simply, an expired listing is a lead whose home did not sell. Expired leads are still qualified sellers, something just went wrong or not according to plan during their first attempt. Once the contractual agreement between an agent and the home seller expires, then the listing agent or Multiple Listing Service (MLS) will often remove the owner’s name, phone number, and address from the MLS database. However, you can still find the lead’s contact information by using an expired listing service.

The reasons why listings expire and homes don’t sell can be many. It could have been overpriced, maybe the marketing was poorly done and so the house did not get the proper exposure it needed, or maybe the location of the house is not ideal.

No matter what the reason is for the listing expiring, the problem is most likely not insurmountable. In fact, the reason that the home did not sell the first time around is your opportunity and ticket to potentially gain a new client.

But how to convince the lead that you are the agent for them?

All it takes is for you to understand the lead’s specific situation and their specific goals, from their perspective.

How to Convert Expired Listings

As you call expired leads, you’re going to be hit with more and more objections. These will most likely come even quicker since the lead is probably frustrated and has been contacted by so many agents. To make yourself stand out, at Smart Inside Sales we use a technique called the PPO Process. PPO stands for Perspective Process Outcome.

The prospect’s perspective is their past experience, knowledge and speculation. Examples of perspectives that may lead to objections are “I’ve sold my home myself before”, “I’ve already met with an agent”, and “I can do what an agent does, you guys don’t do much.”

The prospect’s process is their own plan that they have for their situation. Examples of a process are “I’m going to sell my home myself”, “I’ll just use the agent I used before”, and “I am just going to wait until spring to sell my home and get a better deal”. The process is typically what will lead to an objection. They have their plan and you are not a part of it in their mind, so they turn you down.

And finally, the outcome. This is the unique result or benefit the prospect believes their process will deliver for them. Examples of these are “not wasting time”, “avoiding disappointment”, and “proving to my neighbors or real estate agents or to the world that I am right”.

These are the three components that make up an objection. The key here is to understand these three parts of the objection from the lead’s point of view, not just from your own.

How to Deal with a Caller Objection

Below are the five most critical aspects of dealing with an objection once they tell you it:

  1. Acknowledge – Listen to what they say and let them know that you understand it.
  2. Paraphrase – Restate what they said without leading and without interpretation.
  3. Inquire into their perspective, process, and outcome – This is where you dig into their thought process how they see it. Get them to walk you through their knowledge, plan, and the unique thing they hope to accomplish. These are the three things you need to know in order to counter their objection, so ask questions that get you the answers.
  4. Determine the unique benefit or result they hope to achieve – this is their sought after outcome.
  5. Close if appropriate – Close if the lead does not bring up another objection as a result of the PPO process or if it becomes obvious that meeting is the next logical step in your conversation.

Follow this process, understand where the prospect’s objection is coming from (from their own point of view), and respond in a way that makes sense given the lead’s perspective and goal.

Conclusion: Understanding is the Key to Expired Leads

The key to successfully closing expired listings is understanding the situation from the lead’s perspective. This is true both when it comes to empathizing with them about their home not selling originally, and when it comes to overcoming any and all objections they throw at you.

The Key to Cold Calling Is Objection Handling

real estate cold calling
real estate cold calling

The Key to Cold Calling Is Objection Handling

Cold calling is a scary prospect for many. Especially those just starting out in phone sales. You have to dial a lot of numbers, have many many people not pick up the phone, many of those who do pick up are likely to hang up on you, and those who do talk to you are probably going to offer some resistance to whatever it is you are trying to sell them on. Put simply, it is not for the faint of heart.

Hands down, the biggest problem that cold callers face in the real estate industry or any other industry is that, nowadays, people don’t pick up the phone. Think about your own life—you, like most of us, are most likely inundated with calls and emails and ads every day. What has this led to? People tend to more and more not answer the phone when they don’t recognize the number that is calling. This is the behavior that the prevalence of telemarketers and endless salesy calls has pushed people towards.

The Key to Real Estate Cold Calling Is Staying Positive  

We’ve talked about this topic many times in the past. And let’s face it, cold calling has an almost visceral negative connotation. The first key to being successful on your real estate calls is to completely put that notion to bed for you and any agents or ISAs you have working for you. Remove it from your mind.

Like most things in life, cold calling successfully all starts with a positive outlook. You can master the technical side of cold calling—research your leads, memorize the perfect script, constantly practice and improve on objection handling, and perfect your amazing sounding phone voice. It all is for nothing unless you are telling yourself the right stories about why you are calling in the first place, and your role as a sales person.

Staying positive about your role and about the disposition of the lead is paramount.

If you can understand and cultivate a positive story in your head about what you are doing—if cold calling has a positive connotation in your mind—you will be a cold calling master. If you have negative stories in your head about cold calling, lead generation, setting appointments, etc. and what those things mean about you as a sales person, then no matter what you do or say, you won’t cold call successfully and you won’t generate leads.

Here are three things you can do to help cultivate a positive mindset and interaction:

  1. Know and understand the benefits you bring to every person BEFORE you dial them. Know what you are offering them and how it is going to palpably improve their lives.
  2. Live and breathe mantras like “they are waiting for my call” or “they need my help”. Repeat these between each dial to keep your energy up on your entire list of leads.
  3. When you feel yourself becoming negative, take a break and focus on your commitment to helping others. Remember, they are benefiting from your call because what you are offering is valuable to them.

Four Most Common Real Estate Objections

After staying positive, the key to real estate cold calling is the ability to overcome objections. As we mentioned, many of the few people who do end up answering the phone are going to offer you a lot of resistance. Most likely they’ve heard from a lot of agents before you’ve called them and they are also most likely busy doing something else when they picked up the phone. Below are four of the most common real estate objections and how you can overcome them.

  1. “I’m busy right now and can’t talk” – As an agent or ISA, we’ve all faced this objection before. The lead is just trying to get right off the phone as quickly as they answered it. Whether they are blowing you off or actually can’t talk at that time, the most important thing you can do is determine whether they are worth you calling back. That means you want to get the lead to commit to a time you can call them back, but you also want to make sure they are indeed selling or buying a house. Questions like, “Just to make sure I am not wasting your time when I call back, you are still interested in buying/selling your home, correct?” Or a question like, “You are still looking for an agent, correct?”

Just something quick and easy to make sure it is worth your time to follow up with them.

  1. “Bring me a buyer” – This is another very common real estate seller objection. The lead doesn’t want to hire you, they don’t want to meet with you, and they don’t want to hear your spiel about how connecting sellers with buyers is what you do for a living and can do it for them. They just want to talk if you can bring a buyer with you on day one. This is a tough objection. Tough because you have to educate them a bit on how the process works, as well as understand their current plan, without making them wrong or making them feel dumb.

The key here again is to ask the right questions. Get to the heart of their plan by asking them things like “what is your back up plan if no agent can bring you a buyer on day one before even viewing the property?” Or, “Are you looking to have an agent bring you a buyer before they view your home and have a chance to market it?” You can also level with them. Say something like “It sounds like you have been talking to a lot of agents and telling them all the same thing—has it worked yet?” When they say “no”, now you have a conversation starter and can say “oh, well why do you think that is?”

  1. “I’m just going to sell it on my own” – Selling homes on their own is a real estate objection that is becoming more and more common nowadays. With the rise of the internet and websites like Zillow, a lot of people think selling their home on their own will be a breeze and they don’t need to “waste” money paying for an agent to do it for them.

A good way to go about overcoming this objection is to really get to the heart of the lead’s motivation. Do that by separating selling it themselves from actually selling their home, and then figuring out which one is more important to them. Since most FSBOs are selling on their own to make more money on the sale, you can also ask them “What is more important to you, selling your home on your own, or making more money on the sale?” When they say “more money”, swoop in and explain to them how you or your team can make them more money than they can hope to make on their own.

  1. “I want to wait for the market to improve” – Every seller wants to get the best price for their home, so you’re going to hear this objection quite a bit when people see (or think they see) that the market is in a bit of a downturn. The thing is, they don’t really care how the market is currently doing. They don’t care what other houses are going for. They only care that you can get their house sold for the price they really want.

To overcome this objection you have to ask them questions about their process or plan. “You say you want to wait until the market gets better, what do you mean by better/what is your definition of ‘better’?” In other words, learn what “better” means to this lead. You can also ask, “How do you think waiting to list your home will benefit you?” Get to the crux of what they really want and offer the lead a route to get there that doesn’t involve waiting for the market to “improve.”

Strategies for Overcoming Real Estate Objections

The key here is to understand these three parts of the objection from the lead’s point of view, not just from your own. Below are the five most critical aspects of dealing with an objection once they tell you it:

  1. Acknowledge – Listen to what they say and let them know that you understand it.
  2. Paraphrase – Restate what they said without leading and without interpretation.
  3. Inquire into their perspective, process, and outcome – This is where you dig into their thought process how they see it. Get them to walk you through their knowledge, plan, and the unique thing they hope to accomplish. These are the three things you need to know in order to counter their objection, so ask questions that get you the answers.
  4. Determine the unique benefit or result they hope to achieve – this is their sought after outcome.
  5. Close if appropriate – Close if the lead does not bring up another objection as a result of the PPO process or if it becomes obvious that meeting is the next logical step in your conversation.

At the end of the day, you have to close on your calls and objections are your route to close. Cold calling is only scary if you expect it to be scary and don’t focus on honing your objection handling skills. Learn the common objections, practice the strategies to overcome them. Your confidence will swell as a result.

How to Be Your Own Real Estate Business

real estate business
real estate business

How to Be Your Own Real Estate Business

We’ve all dreamed at one time or another while sitting at our desks of the day when we can just walk out and be done with it. When we can muster up the courage to tell our boss that we appreciate everything they did for us, but that we are moving on to do our own thing and build our own business. After all, who wouldn’t want the freedom and flexibility that comes with being their own boss?

My Personal Real Estate Journey

My own personal journey in real estate began at a corporate job. And it didn’t get off to a great start, if I’m being honest. Actually, the truth is, I hated my nine to five job. I knew that I wanted to make my own rules instead of following someone else’s. I wanted to be free to schedule my day the way I chose, instead of being beholden to a rigid schedule that someone else created for me.

The friction continued to build as I felt more and more like I wanted to go my own way. I didn’t want to ask my boss every time I wanted to take time off or run a simple errand. I wanted a more direct reward for all my hard work. At my job, instead of a financial incentive (aka more money) for all the hard work I and other employees did, all we got was more work piled on top. I needed more money, not more work to do.

So one day I quit. I walked out the front door, said bye to corporate culture, and never went back. That moment was exhilarating. For the first time in my life, I felt in control. I felt like I became the master of my own destiny and was free to write the story of my life the way I chose. I was going to sell real estate, and do it on my own terms.

It was a tough path to take and I threw myself into a sink or swim situation. And that’s basically what the deal is for every real estate agent who goes out on their own. It’s unknown, it’s scary, and it’s uncertain. Once you realize you traded in a steady paycheck for starting at ground zero with no clients and only your savings to go on, the voices of doubt start to get louder and louder in your head.

Being Your Own Real Estate Business

Building your own business is extremely rewarding and can have some very appealing perks. In addition to getting to be your own boss and set your own schedule, the sky’s the limit for your income. You might not have a steady, regular paycheck, but you’re not bound by an hourly wage or some corporate-dictated salary range.

Building your own real estate business is the essence of having full control over your career and your life, and gives you the freedom to create opportunities for yourself. When striking out on your own and having your own real estate business, you have full agency—things don’t happen to you anymore, you happen to things.   

While you’ll likely have a broker you’ll have to answer to, the dynamic between broker and agent is very different than that of between an employee and employer. You’ll still have someone micro-managing your work, but the good news is that that someone will be you.

How to Be Your Own Real Estate Boss

You want to be your own real estate boss? The challenges to building your own business are many, but they are not insurmountable. Real estate coaching and lead conversion training can help lead you down your path from 9-5 to freedom, and from a beginner agent to a seasoned veteran. Great real estate training and coaching can lend insights into the best ways to market your business, create a steady stream of qualified leads, and how to actually turn leads into clients on your phone calls.

Before you make the big decision to go out on your own in the real estate world, you need to ask yourself a few things;

  • Are you finally ready to figure out how the game is really played at the 6-figure and even high-6-figure level?
  • Are you ready to devote yourself to providing value to your clients and producing results for them above all else?
  • Are you willing to have some “skin in the game” and understand that you need to invest time and money to grow your business and take it to the next level?
  • Are you ready to work, push through the bad times, and take advantage of the good times?

If your answers to these questions are unequivocal “yes’s”, then let’s talk about possibly working together. Send me an email by clicking here and let’s schedule a 30 minute discovery session.

Take your real estate business and your life into your own hands by taking the first step today!