ISA Call Review: “The hardest part is getting them on the phone”

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How To Ethically Steal My “$200 Million Dollar” Lead Conversion System…

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ISA Group Roleplay: Winter Is Coming!

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3 Easy Ways To Increase Your Lead Conversion, Appointments, and Closings

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How to Lead Your Real Estate Sales Team?

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waves-1867285_1280

How to Lead Your Real Estate Sales Team?

“If you want to build a ship,

don’t drum up the people to gather wood,

divide the work, and give orders.

Instead, teach them to yearn

for the vast and endless sea.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Take Your Sales Team Beyond Numbers

We spend so much time in coaching talking about accountability and tracking sales people’s numbers and making them report to us, but forget that the highest level of leadership is inspiration rather than oppression. One of the most important parts of leading a team is helping the people working for you put their role and their work into context.

Numbers and accountability are critical to cultivating a successful and productive real estate team, but it’s important to remember that those numbers don’t happen in a vacuum. They are the result of the level of drive and motivation that your ISAs and agents have on a daily basis. And their drive and motivation is largely the result of the company’s or team’s values and culture. This is where inspiration comes in.

What Drives People

So how do you inspire people to produce more value? I can definitely tell you what does not inspire people: fear. If the only thing driving your inside sales agent to pick up the phone and dial is fear of the consequences of not doing so, then they are not going to be successful on their calls and their numbers will likely fall even further. Fear of reprimand or termination if they don’t hit their numbers will increase stress and decrease confidence.

Instead of fear, offer your team opportunity and self-responsibility. What inspires people to work hard and consistently produce is the belief that their career and their life are in their own hands. That they are in control of their own advancement and have the real ability to improve their lives, set and meet personal goals, and be successful through working hard and constantly honing their skills.

Emphasize Value Creation and Productivity

In order to create a feeling of opportunity and self-responsibility on your team, you have to tie together them creating value for the company and creating value for themselves. One of the main things that can sap motivation of your employees and cause their confidence and numbers to drop is the feeling that they are working for the benefit of someone else instead of for the benefit of themselves.

By building a culture that emphasizes that when your employees are creating value for the company, they are also creating value and opportunity in their own lives, your team will be much more inspired and productive.

And how do you create value for the company and for yourself? Through productivity. Being productive, being creative, closing deals, bringing in new business—these are things to take deep pride in and are really nothing short of heroic acts. Your agents or ISAs are helping people sell their homes or get into a new home, but they are also improving their own skills, making a difference at the company, and taking charge in building the life they want to live. That’s inspiration.

Yearn for the Vast and Endless Sea

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

Use numbers and accountability to measure progress and success, but to motivate your team teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. That is to say, teach them that they can build the life they want. They have that power and that ability. It just takes consistent and dedicated value creation.

Teach that being productive, being creative, and connecting people with products that help them are are things to strive for and take pride in. That the way they create value for themselves and improve their own lives is through creating value for the company and for the team. Their personal productivity and success is the way they get closer to the life they want to live, in addition to creating value for clients.

Help your agents and ISAs connect the dots between their work and their life and between the company and themselves. That’s how you’ll motivate them and make your team unstoppable.

Full Time Or Part Time Real Estate ISA?

full time ISA
full time ISA

Full Time Or Part Time Real Estate ISA?

Should you hire a part time or full time inside sales agent? That’s great if you have reached the point in your real estate business where it’s necessary to hire an ISA. That means your business is productive, growing, and that you are ready to take it to the next level.

But first things first. How do you know if you are actually ready to hire an inside sales agent? 

When to hire an Inside sales agent?

Inside sales agents are skilled real estate professionals who are highly trained, capable, 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.

You’re ready for an ISA when you are already bringing in around 150,000+ in annual GCI, and you already have a solid and well-trained assistant handling your transactions for you. If you’ve reached this point, then you are ready to scale and can leverage your lead generation while producing more appointments and contracts.

The other requirement is that you must have some type of lead generation platform or farm in place, or well-established online profiles where you can run advertising.  You will also need inbound lead sources for the ISA.  Once you get your ISA, and if they are effective, then you will quickly need to add additional agents to your team.  An effective and efficient ISA can easily serve 4-5 agents.

Full time or part time ISA?

Let’s say you’ve determined that you are ready to hire an inside sales agent. Now the question becomes, should you hire a full time or a part time one?

A lot of people may lean towards a part time. They might think that it would be a good way to “get their feet wet” and test out having an ISA to see if they bring value to their business. If they are on the fence about whether their business needs an inside sales agent or not, they may think that hiring one part time is a cost effective compromise.

The truth, however, is that this is not the case.

Successfully training an ISA takes time. In fact, it could take up to between four and six months to effectively coach and evaluate if your ISA is productive or profitable. And it takes a considerable amount of effort and mental investment both on your part and on the new inside sales agent’s part.

Because of this, you need to make sure that the person you hire is fully invested and motivated to learn your process, to start making calls, and to begin to bring in business. Full-time ISAs are more likely to:

  • Speak with enough contacts in order to build a good base of nurtures
  • Meet the desired mark of two listing appointments per day

Most importantly though, they are less likely to give up on the process than a part time ISA is. This is because full time inside sales agents have more time to dedicate towards learning the process and they are more willing to because you are their sole source of employment.  

Make sure you hire the right full time inside sales agent

In the question of full time ISAs vs part time ISAs, full time is clearly the right way to go. But it is understandable if you still have reservations because of the cost and the fact that it can be intimidating to hire a full-time employee. To mitigate this fear, you have to make sure you are hiring the right people and that you have a solid system in place to train and set expectations for them.

Like I discussed in my previous article, 7 Strategies To Build An Inside Sales Team, you need to be sure that you are extensively testing your inside sales agent candidates in the skills that are required for the job. This means that you are seeing how they sound on the phone, checking whether or not they can have effective sales conversations, and making sure they can persuade someone to take action.

Once you hire an all-star inside sales agent candidate, you need to have clear benchmarks and expectations for them, train the heck out of them in lead conversion (for that you can try this), and use numbers to track things like number of dials made, number of contacts made, contact to appointment ratio, number of appointments set vs. appointments converted.

Hire a full time inside sales agent   

Hire a full time ISA. You need the time and motivation to fully integrate them into your lead generation and conversion system. And you also need someone who is fully invested in helping you grow your business and their career. In other words, you need a full time agent.

If you are unsure about hiring and training an inside sales agent, check out our ISA Department In A Box training program. It will walk you through ISA team hiring and training step by step, until your inside sales team is unstoppable.

7 Strategies to Build An Inside Sales Team

real estate inside sales team
real estate inside sales team

7 Strategies To Build An Inside Sales Team

Building a successful inside sales team is how you will take your real estate business to the next level. It’s how you build a steady and consistent stream of leads coming in, so your real estate agents can focus on what they do best, buying and selling houses, and you can focus on improving the business as a whole.

But building a real estate inside sales team is not always easy. For one, it involves hiring good people and then properly setting them up for success. Both of which can be stressful and intimidating if you do not have much experience doing it. And on top of that, it means handing off some of the reins of your business and trusting your team to successfully generate and nurture leads for your agents.

To make this process a little easier on you, I have compiled a list of seven strategies that will ensure you will build a productive, successful, and reliable inside sales team.

  1. Evaluate your Inside Sales Candidates

First on the list is to make sure you are extensively testing your inside sales agent (ISA) candidates in the skills that are required for the job. And for an ISA, the most important skill is being able to have effective sales conversations over the phone. At the end of the day, the ONLY thing that matters is if an ISA can make hundreds of calls per day, have good conversations, and persuade someone to take ACTION.

So the key thing to do is see how they sound on the phone. This means listening to them on voicemail, doing role plays, and having the candidate make actual calls and see how they do. If they can successfully make calls and they sound good on the phone, then you know that they are a very good potential candidate. Testing in this way before you make the hire will cut down on wasted time, money and tears.

  1. Set Clear Expectations for Your ISAs

Next, it is essential that you clearly set out your 30/60/90 day expectations for your ISA in their role. That way, if they turn out not to be right for the job you will know MUCH sooner than waiting the 6 months it typically takes for them to ramp up. This means tracking things like number of dials made, number of contacts made, contact to appointment ratio, number of appointments set vs. appointments converted—and having benchmarks for where the ISA should be with each of them at each time mark.

  1. Use a Lead Conversion Training Program

So once you evaluate, hire, and lay out a benchmark plan for your ISA, now you have to effectively train them. And since you are busy running your business, the best way to train them is to use an awesome lead conversion training program. This will keep you out of the trenches using time you don’t have, and take the burden of making sure your inside sales team is getting consistent, uniform training.

With a training like Smart Inside Sales’ Conversion University (excuse the shameless plug), you can be sure that your ISAs are learning much more than scripts. They will master overcoming objections and learn how to have enjoyable, successful sales calls.

4. Use Numbers to Maintain Accountability

The fourth strategy tip for building an effective inside sales team is to have weekly accountability meetings with them, tell them what they need to do, then measure them CONSISTENTLY and CONSTANTLY. Developing experienced, productive ISAs is a cumulative process. You will find that they will progress from struggling to get contacts, to struggling to set appointments, struggling to get set appointments to actually meet, then get met appointments that turn into contracts. You need to work with them through these different stages.

5. Get in the Pit

The fifth strategy is closely related to the fourth. Just measuring their progress is not enough, it is critical that you get in the pit with them, listen to calls, review numbers, and actually hear what they are doing.

It’s one thing to roleplay, practice, and talk about theory, but you really have to hear how they are interacting with live humans. So in this part of the process you have to get more hands on and make sure that all the training is effective, as well as make sure your benchmarks and expectations are all being properly met. 

  1. Give your ISAs a Variety of Leads

Next, in order to make sure that your ISAs are getting tons of valuable experience and becoming more and more effective, ensure that they are going on different types of calls. Mix up their lead types, giving them some hard and some easy.

Harder is outbound cold, easier is inbound asking for assistance. Conversations are different depending on which type of lead you are speaking with, and building a successful inside sales team means that your ISAs can successfully convert in all types of conversations.

  1. Leverage the Different Strengths of Your ISAs

And lastly, remember that each ISA or agent on your team has a unique psychology. They all will have different strengths and weaknesses and will struggle with certain types of leads and people. Your job is to coach each of your inside sales agents based on that unique psychology. To have a truly successful team means leveraging each of their strengths and weaknesses in a way so that the different team members complement one another.

Implementing these strategies consistently will allow you to build a successful and profitable inside sales team and catapult your business to the next level. But this doesn’t have to be a daunting task and you don’t have to do it all yourself. At Smart Inside Sales we have a training program called ISA Department In A Box that will walk you through all the processes of successfully setting up and training your ISA team.

It has everything you need to establish an inside sales team and set up your ISAs, and your business, for success. Seamlessly implement all these strategies we discussed, and start doing it today! 

Real Estate Scripts: Do You Need Them?

ISA and real estate script
ISA and real estate script

Real Estate Scripts: Do You Need Them?

Real estate scripts.

Everyone wants the magic set of words that will get them the appointment or sale every time. Memorizing the right script is all it takes to increase your conversions and become a successful ISA, right?

If only it were that easy!

The truth is that there is no magic real estate script that ISAs and agents can use that will work 100% of the time, regardless of who they are speaking with, and what their specific circumstances are. In reality, call scripts are only useful and effective as part of a wider conversion system and strategy to turn more no’s into yes’s on your calls.

Different Types of Real Estate Scripts

Before we dive into how to incorporate scripts into your strategy and discuss when scripts are useful and when they aren’t, let’s go over the different types of real estate scripts and what makes a good one.

 

First, there are two broad categories of scripts that every real estate agent and ISA needs: one for inbound leads and one for outbound. In addition to those, there should also be special scripts for unusual leads like probate, home valuations, and specific scripts for unique offers.

The most important thing for all of them, however, is that each needs to be tailored to the type of lead you’ll be speaking with. The way you speak to and address a lead is different for people who have sought you out (inbound leads) and for people who you are essentially calling out of the blue (outbound leads).

Second, a good script is one that is straight to the point, asks great questions of the prospect, and has a close that contains a great value proposition. It also needs to not be too wordy and should mostly prompt the lead to do the talking.

Because script or no script, the key to a successful call is understanding what the lead is trying to accomplish, understanding what is preventing them from accomplishing it, and what their own existing plan is to overcome those obstacles.

Scripts Alone Aren’t Enough

Real estate scripts are useful to keep your calls on track and to make sure you are remembering to ask all the necessary questions and gather all the required information. But at the end of the day, scripts are more for beginner ISAs. Primarily because they don’t have the experience that more seasoned ISAs have and so to be successful, they have to rely on tried and tested templates that increase their chances of converting the different types of leads.

More experienced ISAs, on the other hand, know the basics of speaking with outbound and inbound leads, and probably have developed a decent repertoire of questions and responses. More than scripts, seasoned real estate ISAs and agents need to hone and perfect their discovery, objection handling, and closing skills. This is where we come to using scripts as part of a wider conversion system.

Have a Real Conversation

At Smart Inside Sales, we emphasize that your sales calls need to revolve around actual conversations that are enjoyable and productive for both parties. This means that, especially as you get more experienced, you cannot rely solely on pre-programmed responses. Each situation is different and you need to be able to respond appropriately and intelligently to each unique conversation on every call.

For this, we developed a technique to handle objections and to get to the heart of what the lead wants that goes beyond scripts, called the PPO Process. PPO stands for Perspective Process Outcome.

The lead’s perspective is their past experience, knowledge and speculation.

The prospect’s process is their own plan that they have for their situation. 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.

Confidently Deal with Objections

Perspective, process, and outcome are the three things that make up any 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. 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 lead’s objection is coming from (from their own point of view), and respond in a way that makes sense given their perspective and goal.

Scripts as Part of an Overall System & Strategy

Real estate scripts are valuable as a general outline of how to approach the different types of leads and to make sure you are hitting all the points you need to hit. This is especially true for newer ISAs who are still learning the finer points of cold calling, sales calls, and converting leads over the phone.

They can’t, however, be the only thing in your wheelhouse. There are no magic scripts that will help you convert every time with every lead. Each conversation is different. To increase your success you have to focus on learning to deal with objections and how to get to the core of what the lead wants. Scripts are helpful to use as a general outline in case you get stuck on a call, but the key is focusing on having real conversations and producing real value for the lead.  

How to Know When It Is Time to Leave Your Team

ISA and real estate team
ISA and real estate team

How to Know When It Is Time to Leave Your Real Estate Team

The real estate industry is unique among many industries because it offers ample opportunities to both work on team and to go at it alone. Real estate agents have the ability to work for a company, and all the resources and benefits that may go along with it, or to be an entrepreneur and build up a reputation and business on their own.

The question then becomes, which option is best for me? Do I want the increased security and support system that comes along with a team, or do I want to build something on my own and keep more of the revenue that I generate? The answers to these questions are different for everyone.

Should I join A Real Estate Team? 

My answers to these questions and others have evolved over the years. I started on my own as a solo agent. I had to learn everything, build my own network, find my own leads, and essentially claw my way up all by myself. At the time it was exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted the increased income potential and I wanted to create something that was mine.

 

But looking back on it now, I think teams are probably the best way to get started in the real estate industry. And if I were to do it over again I would have started on a team. Even if you know you want to eventually go on your own and maybe even build your own team, you can gain invaluable experience by starting out working at a company or on a team.

They can offer you support, guidance, and even leads as you get started in the industry. It takes some of the stress of running the whole business off of your shoulders so you can focus on becoming a home selling ninja.

Treat Yourself Like A Business

But whether you want to work for a team, work for yourself, or work for a team for a while and then work for yourself, the most important thing is that you are always treating yourself as a business. Because you are a business, no matter if you are working by yourself or for a company.

The main implications of this are twofold. First, it means that your career advancement is completely in your own hands. It is your responsibility to improve your skills, hone your craft, and make yourself more profitable. You can never rely on your boss or team leader to do that for you.

Second, it means you need to approach your team or employer as the business transaction that it is. And a proper business transaction should be mutually beneficial. Even if you prefer working for teams, you should leave your current team if what they offer you really doesn’t support you in your business. 

Teams should provide you with resources, support, marketing, and sometimes sales leads, commensurate with the amount of commission you give up to them. If they really aren’t providing much, but take a substantial portion of your commission, then you should leave.

In other words, if you aren’t getting your money’s worth for the amount of commission you are paying to your team, then you have to make the smart decision for your own personal business and leave to a team that offers you greater value, or leave and give it a try on your own.

Should I Go Solo?  

If you are seriously considering leaving your team and working for yourself or starting your own team, you need to ask yourself the following question: Am I ready to really start my own business and do it 100% on my own or is it just time to find a team that better suits my needs and provides more support, culture and opportunity?

Working on your own or even building your own small team can certainly increase your income substantially. But it does also substantially increases the stress and requirements on your time. And it isn’t for everyone. Some people are perfectly happy and in the right spot working for someone else. They enjoy the benefits of not needing to manage and stress over ALL the aspects of running a business. And that is absolutely fine. Many people just love selling homes and working with clients, and all teams need those people. We can’t ALL be business owners, otherwise we would all be solopreneurs without a team to carry out our mission

Also, if you really don’t want to build anything, and you don’t feel like generating more business but you just want to get more of the commission from your deals as a way to increase your income, instead of working harder or smarter, then you probably should not leave your real estate team. Going alone and building your own business is difficult and requires you to work both harder and smarter.

Do You Want to Build Something?  

For some people, the perceived increase of stability and security that come along with working with a team doesn’t interest them. They just need to create their own business and build something for themselves.  If you are one of these people, then you probably already know who you are. Once you realize this, it may be time to leave your real estate team.

But remember to treat yourself like a business. If you are already working with a team then the smart thing to do is to continue working with them until the benefits of leaving outweigh the benefits of staying.

If you are the type of person who hits a plateau and gets bored, then the correct time to leave is when you want more challenge, or feel it is time put your vision into practice. If you think you have a better way and you want to keep more of the fruits of your labor, then it is most likely time to leave your team and go alone.

In the End, the Choice Is Yours

The real estate industry is great because of the different avenues you are able to take within it. But in the end, the choice is yours. The important thing to do is make sure you are doing what you want to do, and doing it in a way that makes sense in view of your goals. Don’t work for a team that doesn’t appreciate you and doesn’t offer you value for value. And don’t work for yourself if you are not prepared to take on all of the responsibility and work.

What Lead Sources Should My ISA Work?

inside sales agent real estate leads
inside sales agent real estate leads

What Lead Sources Should My ISA Work?

You’ve hired an inside sales agent! Maybe you’ve even got a whole team of real estate ISAs. You might be asking yourself, “Okay, what do I do now?” How do I best use this person or this whole team to ensure that I am getting an awesome return on my investment?

Part of this question are some other questions. What lead sources should my ISA or ISA team be working? Should my ISA work my database of past clients and sphere?

These days, your real estate team is—hopefully—getting leads from a variety of sources with varying levels of interest and who are at different stages of the buying or selling process. So how do you determine which leads should be worked, when they should be worked, and by which of your inside sales agents?

Work ‘Em All

The short answer is this: work all of your lead sources. This includes inbound leads, inbound referral leads, expireds and withdrawns, for sale by owners, and even past clients and sphere leads. Although there are definitely more and less valuable lead sources, each source is a potential for business, and it is smart not to avoid any of them. 

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that this isn’t always practical. Depending on the size of your team and stream of leads from certain sources versus others, you may have to focus on the most productive sources at the expense of less productive ones.

If you have a real estate team with multiple inside sales agents, then the critical thing to do is prioritize lead sources for your different ISAs, depending on their skill and experience level. This is where having a larger team starts to exponentially work to your advantage. You can have your newer inside sales agents work the less productive or less valuable lead sources, while your more experienced ones work the more valuable sources.

What this does is twofold. This allows you to work all of your lead sources (because even those “less valuable” sources can still generate a lot of business for you) and also allows your newer ISAs to gain experience and hone their skills so they can graduate to also working the more productive sources.

All Lead Sources Are Not Created Equal

Like we already established, all lead sources are not the same. And as such, they should be worked in a specific order, depending on different factors like the size of your real estate team, and how much bandwidth your team has.

These lead sources should be worked in the following order, from top to bottom:

  • All inbound leads
  • Inbound referral leads
  • Expireds, withdrawns, FSBO leads
  • Past client sphere leads
  • Circle prospecting (If this is in support of a farming strategy or if the ISA has NO ONE ELSE to call)

Inbound Leads

Inbound leads is the key lead source for your real estate team. The reason they are so important is in the name itself. Inbound. These leads are people who have followed the trail of bread crumbs you have laid for them. Through going on your website, signing up on a lead form, responding to an email, responding to direct mail, looking on Zillow, or whatever the avenue may be, they have expressed interest in your company and what your company offers.

They have exerted at least some effort in finding you, and have expressed enough interest in order to drive them to your website and give you their contact information. At a minimum, these leads are somewhat active and most likely have some problem they are trying to solve. That is what makes them so valuable to you and your team.

These are the leads that your inside sales agents should be targeting and contacting first. They are looking to solve a problem and your business can step in and be the solution they are looking for.

Inbound Referral Leads

Inbound referral leads are similarly valuable. For some types of referrals, the concept is essentially the same as for other inbound leads. People actively trying to solve a problem and so are going on websites like Dave Ramsey, Agent Machine, or Upnest in order to look for a real estate agent who can help them solve it. They are primed and ready for you.

Traditional referrals can also be tremendously valuable to you. These leads may not have come directly to you via a website or advertising response, but were brought to you by a friend or family member they trust enough to listen to.

The Rest of the Leads

The key is to work all of your lead sources if your ISA team has the ability to. There are three common mistakes that ISA teams often make:  

  1. Only putting the ISA on working cold outbound leads (which are much more difficult to convert and don’t typically provide enough contracts and closings to make the ISA position profitable.
  2. Ignoring outbound altogether and only having the ISA work low quality inbound.
  3. And the WORST mistake: hiring an ISA to solely do circle prospecting, which is randomly calling every phone number in a neighborhood looking for a potential lead.

There is a lot of business to be found in expired listings, withdrawn listings, for sale by owners, past client sphere, and circle prospecting.

These aren’t necessarily the low-hanging fruit that inbound leads can sometimes be, but if your inside sales agents know how to get to the heart of the desire of leads and prospects who fall into this category, then there is ample business here that a lot of other teams will not be taking proper advantage of.

Like I describe in my article, Cold Call the Right Way, the way your ISA should deal with any objection on a call is to understand the prospect’s perspective, process, and desired outcome. Most prospects who have an expired or withdrawn listing, or who are trying to sell their property themselves have a specific plan and desired result in mind. Your job is to understand what that is and then show how you can help them fulfill their desire easier than they can with their existing plan or process.

If you can train your team to be able to do this consistently, then these so-called “less valuable” lead sources will be what sets your ISA team apart from your competition.

Conclusion

The point is that all lead sources can be valuable to your real estate team. The seemingly less valuable sources can be valuable to you if your inside sales agents know how to properly work them. The key is to correctly prioritize the lead sources and determine which ISAs should be cross-trained to work all lead sources. Start the less experienced on the lower end of the list and then progress their skills up to working the most valuable leads.

There are plenty of lead sources out there, and you can take advantage of them all!

How to Pay an Inside Sales Agent

pay an inside sales agent
pay an inside sales agent

How to Pay an Inside Sales Agent

We will jump into pay structures, but first What Are Inside Sales Agents (for those who don’t know)?

Inside sales agents are the backbone of a successful real estate business. The vast majority of real estate transactions begin on the phone. This means that all the effort and skill that goes into nailing listing appointments, finding properties for buyers, and actually selling homes is all for nothing, if you don’t have effective people successfully setting up appointments on the phone.

This is why inside sales agents are so critical. They allow your agents to do what they do best, and allow you to grow your business without constantly being in the trenches every day. But for this to work, you need good people. And to get good people, you have to have a competitive compensation model that provides incentives, motivation, and opportunities for your inside sales agents.

Inside sales agents are sales professionals whose job it is to reach out to leads, introduce them to your company’s brand and the value you offer to clients, and, finally, to set appointments for your real estate agents. They are the front line of your real estate company and it is their responsibility to keep a steady flow of new business coming in through the door.

What Not to Do

Before we get to the most effective way to compensate your inside sales agent, let’s discuss the way that is less effective and that you should avoid.

This less effective way is a commission only pay structure. It is very difficult to develop a successful, long-term inside sales agent if they are paid solely on commission. While commission might make sense for real estate agents, for inside sales agents to make a decent living based only on commission they would have to be involved in a lot more sales.

They would also need to earn a substantially larger amount of the commission, which is not profitable for the team and would take away commission (and, consequently, incentive) from your real estate agents.

This system generally means longer periods of time between smaller paychecks for the ISAs. You run the risk of them favoring the “now” buyers or setting up appointments with less qualified leads because they are getting desperate and will try anything hoping it gets them paid.

You also run the risk of a high turn-over rate, which is bad news for you as a business owner or team leader because it drains a considerable amount of money. An Inside sales agent that you took the time to hire and train will cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars if they leave your company, forcing you to hire someone to replace them.

 

Compensation-only pay models tend to lead to stress and desperation for the inside sales agent and for you. Needless to say, businesses run better with less stress and less desperation. So let’s take a look at a better option.

How to Pay Your Inside Sales Agent

As in most areas of life, the key to an effective compensation model is compromise. The exact make up of how your particular pay structure will look depends on your specific business. But generally, the most popular and effective way to pay an inside sales agent tends to be a low salary with a 5%-15% commission at closing. This allows the ISA to have a base pay, but also be motivated to set quality appointments because they are rewarded when the property has reached closing.

This pay model typically works the best because it gives your inside sales agents a sense of security, but also rewards quality talent and provides a strong incentive (a significant bonus) to set quality and productive appointments. Remember, they are only getting their bonus if the appointment they set leads all the way to a closing.

It is key to ensure that you are compensating your employees based on the value they are adding to the business, and this model allows you to do just that. Having a strong commission model also limits your exposure if you hire an ISA that underperforms.

Average Compensation For Inside Sales Agents

An inside sales agent with little to no experience will normally make between $40,000 and $65,000 a year. More experienced ISAs will usually make between $60,000 and $80,000 a year. Both of these ranges include a base salary of between $24,000 and $30,000 a year.

The difference in the ranges between experienced and non-experienced ISAs is due to more experienced agents achieving increased commissions because they are more proficient in setting quality appointments. Simply put, the longer you are in this business, the more appointments and closings you are able to bring in.

Bonuses are compensated on 5% of gross commission income (GCI) after closing, with some real estate teams paying up to 10% of GCI. You may also go a different route and pay flat rate bonuses for appointments that actually took place—usually between $50 and $150 per conducted appointment.

However, with the latter you run the risk of your inside sales agents having an incentive to set lower quality appointments because they are paid based on appointments conducted, not as a result of a property closing.

Tie It All Together

If you are growing a real estate business you are going to hit a point where you need to hire an inside sales agent in order to continue to grow and be viable. When that day comes, the most important thing you can do is make the right hire.

Once you find that go-getter, cold calling ninja, the next most important thing is that you compensate them in a way that incentivizes them to both work with you, and set the highest number of quality appointments that they can. All while not breaking your bank.

But if you can do that, if you can find the right person and devise the right compensation package, then you will see a 5 to 1 ROI for your new inside sales agent. It’s all about incentives and putting them in the position to succeed.

Texting in Real Estate: How Not to Annoy Your Clients

annoying texting in real estate
annoying texting in real estate

Texting in Real Estate: How Not to Annoy Your Clients

How do you keep your clients in the know without seeming annoying or underwhelming?

Toeing the line between necessary communication and annoyance with your real estate clients can be a tricky business. More than anything else, it requires that you find a delicate balance between the two extremes.

Keep Your Clients in the Know

To start off, you have to keep your client in the know. There is nothing worse than your client missing out on an opportunity because you weren’t keeping them adequately informed. Or than a seller client being angry because they had to leave their home at the last minute because you didn’t (or weren’t able to) inform them that a buyer was coming to look at their house. A lack of communication can cause friction and will make you look like you don’t know what you are doing in your client’s eyes.

The flip side, however, is that you don’t want to be constantly contacting them to the point of annoying the crap out of them either. At best, the constant calling might cause the client to become slightly aggravated with you. At worst, it may cause them to think you are uninformed or unprepared and so have to constantly contact them to tell them things you forgot to remind them of before. Maybe they even stop picking up your phone calls all the time because they think your call is inconsequential or they just don’t feel like talking to you…yet again.

So where is the sweet spot? How do we strike this balance?

Empathy is Key

The most important thing to remember is that your client is probably not all that different from you. So empathize and put yourself in their shoes. When you think about it, it is not super difficult to know the difference between informing them of what they need to know when you think they need to hear it, and coming off as either overbearing or not caring. How would you feel if you were the client and your agent was acting the same way you are? If you feel like you’d be satisfied, then your current client most likely is too.

Texting is the Present and the Future

But aside from using common sense, the wonderful modern world we live in is constantly providing solutions to our problems. In this case, I am referring to texting. Yep, texting. That practice, once derided by parents and embraced by the youth, has become increasingly critical to the real estate industry. And it is the key to achieving a balance between being annoying and being negligent.

This is primarily because the vast majority of people do not find texts to be a nuisance. This is in contrast to, say, phone calls, which more and more people see as an interruption or intrusion into their lives. I heard it once put like this, you should only call someone if whatever you need to discuss would warrant meeting with that person unannounced. If whatever you have to tell your client is not so urgent that you would show up unannounced, then send a text message.

Don’t Be Passive or Intrusive

People are on their phones all the time and a text does not get in the way of whatever your client is currently doing. This means you are likely to get immediate feedback on whatever you need to discuss and you get it in a frictionless way. This is not the true for voicemail or email.

Voicemail requires too much effort on the part of the client. Again, they have to take time out of whatever they are doing to return your call. Unless it is something very important, you don’t want to create work for them. Whereas calls can sometimes be too aggressive, emails are often too passive. As you probably know, we are all inundated with email—work, personal, and endless promotional messages. It’s all too easy for your email containing important info to get lost in the bunch.  

Texts have yet to become like emails—they are still thought of as things you have to read, not things you choose to read or not. A 2017 report from National Association of Realtors found that 62% of all home buyers prefer their agent to send property info via text message. According to Pew Research Center, text messages lead to higher response rates than email alone. About 45% on average. Emails, on the other hand, have an 11% response rate according to MailChimp.

Texting in Real Estate Is a Massive Opportunity

However, the California Association of Realtors found that only 5% of realtors communicate by text. This means that in addition to helping you toe the line between annoying your clients and keeping them informed, using text messages as part of your marketing, follow-ups, and client relationships gives you a considerable competitive advantage.

So how not to annoy your clients? It starts with using common sense and empathizing with your them. If you would find something annoying, overly aggressive, or just not enough, most likely your client feels the same way. It ends with communicating with them in the way they’d most prefer. And increasingly, that is the non-intrusive, easy-to-respond-to world of texting.