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. 

How Many Transactions Will My ISA Produce?​

ISA producing transactions
ISA producing transactions

How Many Transactions Will My ISA Produce?

Hiring an ISA is one of the smartest things you can do when it comes time to scale your business. Having an ISA (or multiple) allows you and your agents to focus on your existing clients and existing income-generating activities while they focus on prospecting and capturing new leads. 

Hiring and training an ISA is the only way to get you and your business in front of more qualified leads and listing opportunities while continuing to give your existing client base the necessary attention. 

When are you ready to hire an ISA?

Hiring an ISA is a big step and a large investment. So how do you know if it is the right time
 
Well, if 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, then you are ready for an ISA.  At this point you are able to scale and do more business.  

This will allow you to 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 need to have leads coming in that your ISA can follow up with and set appointments with.

Among other things, you probably need an ISA if you meet the following conditions:

  • You have too many leads to deal with and are unable to follow up with them all.
  • You are so focused on existing clients and income-generating activity that you have no time for prospecting. 
  • You have too little time available to properly prepare for listing appointments.
  • Once a client is finished with the inspection and appraisal process, they often don’t hear from you until right before closing.

How Valuable Will An ISA Be To My Business?

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.

If you do that, hiring an ISA may well be the most important new hire you make for growing your real estate business. 

Cold Call The Right Way

inside sales agent cold calling
inside sales agent cold calling

Cold Call The RIGHT Way

Cold calling is a scary prospect for a lot of people. Even for good sales people who spend a lot of time on the phone every day.

The reason for this is simple, talking to unsuspecting strangers on the phone sucks. The prospect is not prepared to hear what you have to say, and you know in the back of your mind that they have very little patience or time for strangers. Especially stranger sales people. You expect resistance on their part and think, before you’ve made the call, that they are predisposed to say “no”.

You need to overcome this.

It’s All About The Mindset

Your mindset is the key factor that will determine your success as a cold caller. It doesn’t matter how many scripts you study, how many objections you practice handling, or how much research you do on your leads. If you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t be successful on your calls.

And the critical element is positivity. Staying positive about your role and about the disposition of the lead is paramount. What this means is that you need to be telling yourself the right stories in your head about what you doing and what you are trying to accomplish.

Because let’s face it, our heads are filled with crap when it comes to cold calling. It has an almost visceral negative connotation. Put that to bed for you and any agents or ISAs you have working for you.

If your sales person has good stories in their head—if cold calling has a positive connotation—they will be unstoppable. If they have negative stories in their head about cold calling, lead generation, setting appointments, etc. and what those things mean about them as a sales person, then no matter what you do or say, they won’t cold call successfully and they 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 benefitting from your call because what you are offering is valuable to them.

Enter Your Calls Confidently

This may seem obvious, but if you don’t project confidence when you get on the call you will not be successful. This means that when the lead picks up the phone always sound as though you know exactly who the person is that just answered.

Believe me, they will tell you if they are not the right person. Quickly identify who you are and ask your most important question, usually some form of “are you buying” or “are you selling”.

Remember, you are a stranger and most people typically do not want to talk to strangers on the phone. So you are fighting an uphill battle. The minute you hesitate, the minute you sound like you don’t know exactly what you are talking about, or the minute you sound like you don’t want to be on phone, you have given them the excuse they are looking for to hang up.

So build a positive mindset before the call, and use that positivity to enter the call confidently and with a sense of purpose. They need you and you are helping them. Have the attitude and sense that you belong on that phone with that person and that you are making their lives easier. Know what you are talking about and get to the point quickly.

Objection Handling

You’re going to hear a lot of “no’s”. You can’t escape this, it’s the nature of the business and the nature of cold calling. But what you can do is learn how to properly deal with objections and turn more of those “no’s” into “yes’s”.

To do this, you need to understand where objections come from. At Smart Inside Sales we have a technique we call the PPO Process. PPO stands for Perspective Process Outcome (See the PPO process video in Module 5 of the free trial of Conversion University to learn more).

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 is “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. 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.

Become A Cold Calling Master

In the end, cold calling is a numbers game. To have results you have to put in the work, pick up the phone, and make calls. Cultivate a positive mindset, enter your calls confidently like you know you’re meant to be on the phone, and handle inevitable objections by studying and practicing the process above.

Cold calling does not have to be scary or dreaded. It is a skill that can be learned and perfected like anything else. When in doubt, focus on the value you are adding to yourself, your company, and your client with each call.

 

Inside Sales Agents: How To Make Them Effective

successful inside sales agent training
successful inside sales agent training

Inside Sales Agents: How To Make Them Effective

Effectively training Inside Sales Agents is the key to success with your real estate business. Once you’ve built up enough sales and new business to warrant hiring additional agents or ISAs (inside sales agents), and are ready to hand off some of the responsibility of running your business, you need to learn how to train.

Even if you hire the best people, you still need to know how to train them effectively on the ins and outs of your particular business or market so they can achieve success for themselves and for you. They need to understand your sales model, your sales funnel, your philosophy and your values.

But on a practical level, the most important thing that your Inside Sales Agents have to do effectively, is being able to successfully make calls to set appointments. And the two biggest barriers to this are call reluctance and effective objection handling.

Overcoming Call Reluctance

Both call reluctance and successful objection handling have to do with mindset. This is your inside sales agent’s or real estate agent’s overall perception of their work, and how their perception of themselves, their role, and the business affects how they pursue leads.

Critical to this is the story that your new hires tell themselves in their head. Regrettably, most people have a lot of trash in their minds with regards to calling leads, what it means to pursue leads, and about sales in general. You need to put all that to rest. 

The biggest determining factor for whether a sales person will or will not be aggressive with generating leads, setting appointments, asking for contracts, and closing deals is the story they build in their heads.

Emphasize the fact that their careers and lives are in their own hands. When they are busting butt making calls and following up on leads, they are building the lives they want to live. In doing so, they are creating value for the client, for the business, and for themselves. Selling and productivity are noble endeavors.

This is where the business philosophy and company values come into play.

If your sales person has good stories in their head—if doing those activities that lead to productivity have a positive connotation—they will be unstoppable. If they have negative stories in their heads about lead generation, setting appointments, etc. and what those things mean about them as a sales person, then no matter what you do or say, they won’t lead generate.

Objection Handling And Closing Skills

After self-perception and head stories, this is the area that holds most real estate agents and inside sales agents back from crushing their goals. If the agent/ISA doesn’t know what to say, or how to convert a lead from a “no” to a “yes”, they will not feel comfortable or confident lead generating. At that point, they will make all sorts of excuses for why they can’t or won’t bring in new business.

Objection handling often stops inside sales agents in their tracks. They are afraid that they won’t know exactly what to say when the lead objects to them or objects to an appointment. The old school way of handling objections with snarky scripts is so 1990. 

These days we handle objections in a much more sophisticated and conversational way. Teach your agents to ask questions to get to the bottom of a lead’s objection. Offering leads a different solution to reach an even bigger and better outcome is the best way to handle a negative response.

Circumvent the natural fear of objections with a comprehensive training on what to say and when to say it. Focus on training them to ask powerful questions that compel the lead to almost ask the sales person for the appointment. 

Let Your Inside Sales Agent Grow Your Business

Alright, so let’s bring this all back home. Even if you are killing it, if you are the best person at your business or too critical to the daily grind, you are going to hit a ceiling. You can only do so much! And as the owner and leader of the company, you need to have time to look at and consider the big picture. That’s how you will grow your business.

But in order to be able to grow your business, make more money, and create more time for yourself, is if you can effectively hire and train awesome people. And of those two things, training is the most critical. You don’t need to hire sales experts, hire people who are ready to work and then build a consistent and effective training system.

Train your inside sales agents to be masters of your sales process and masters of their craft. They will bring in the leads, nurture the leads, and set appointments with the leads. You will be amazed at how much awesome ISAs will be able to grow your company without you in the trenches each day. They will flourish and your business will begin growing to a degree you hadn’t thought possible. Hire go-getters, and concentrate their training in these areas to make them unstoppable.

Telemarketers vs Inside Sales Agents: Who Should You Hire?

telemarketer or inside sales agent ISA training
telemarketer or inside sales agent ISA training

Telemarketer vs Inside Sales Agent: Who Should You Hire?

Telemarker vs. Inside Sales Agent

Let’s face it, we all hate telemarketers. They seem to call us at the most inopportune times (like during family dinner), they try to sell us things we have no interest in, and their scripts often scream sleazy salesman. On the surface, the job of a telemarketer and an inside sales agent can seem similar. But aside from both using the telephone to connect with potential leads, they don’t really have too much in common.

Telemarketers

When thinking about a telemarketer vs. inside sales agent, it helps to first understand the distinction between the two. A telemarketer is typically more like a hired hand. The necessary qualifications include being alive, being able to talk on the phone, and being able to dial quickly to make it through their lists. They don’t necessarily have any sales skills or experience, and are definitely not sales professionals. That being true, they don’t generally have a very intimate knowledge of the product they are selling. They just call, read from their script, hang up, and call again. Speed is the key.

More often than not, telemarketers deal with single call close deals, selling business to consumer goods. The nature of the job means that they are predominantly selling small-ticket, impulse buy goods. There is no warming up of leads and no building a relationship with potential customers. The job of a telemarketer is to take an unqualified prospect and turn them directly into a customer.

This is an extremely difficult task to accomplish, which is why telemarketers focus on volume rather than strategy. A telemarketer can probably only expect to close 3 or 4 out of a list of 100 prospects. This forces them to act in the salesly, aggressive manner that has become so intimately associated with them.

Inside Sales Agent

An inside sales agent (ISA) on the other hand, is a sales professional who happens to conduct their business over the phone, rather than in person. They typically deal with big ticket, larger investment products.

Their goal is nurture the lead from start to finish, from prospect to client. Often they own the entire sales process. They do their own prospecting, reach out to potential leads, show the lead their intimate understanding of their needs and the product they are selling, and make follow up calls as necessary in order to set up an appointment.

The biggest distinction when considering a telemarketer vs inside sales agent is that inside sales aims to build rapport and develop a relationship, while telemarketers are looking for the quick, single call sale. Whereas a telemarketer reads from a script, an ISA listens to specific problems and works with the lead to find a solution.   

Inside Sales Real Estate Agent

In terms of the real estate industry, 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.  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.

Here is the basic structure of the inside sales role:

  • 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.

Telemarketer vs Inside Sales Agent, Which Is the Better Option for You? 

Cold calling unqualified prospects is quickly going by the wayside. According to a study done by Insidesales.com, only 5%-10% of people answer their phones for unknown numbers. A study by Retailing Today showed that 81% of people research online before buying a product, and 61% read reviews before buying a product.

These findings don’t bode well for cold-calling telemarketers. Inside sales agents in the real estate industry are professionals who work to find qualified leads who are interested in buying or selling a property.

They are stepping in to fulfill a need and to work with the lead to solve a problem they are actively trying to solve on their own. This is far more than simply moving down a list of random phone numbers hoping someone bites.

Telemarketers vs inside sales agents? If you truly want to grow your real estate business, you know which choice is correct. 

Inside Sales Agents: Who To Hire to Grow Your Business

real estate inside sales agent coaching
real estate inside sales agent coaching

Inside Sales Agents: Who to Hire to Grow Your Business

How to hire inside sales agents

Hiring good people is one of the most difficult aspects of running a team or a business. Hiring inside sales agents is especially critical.

To start, it can be hard to feel comfortable passing off some of the responsibility that you have been shouldering. This is your business or your team—something that you have poured hours of work, sweat and tears into. This produces a bit of reservation when it comes time to let someone else track down and follow up on leads in your name.

In addition to that, how do you even find the right people to hire? And then once you’ve hired them, how do you train them to treat your business as if they were you? The key to both of these questions is to hire motivated doers, and then focus completely on the second question and train the heck out of them.

Inside sales agents are a must for growing your real estate business

But, despite these difficulties, you’ll have to hire ISAs (inside sales agents) if you are looking to scale your business, or even if you are just ensuring that it is sustainable. As you and your real estate agents get busier and busier, lead generation and acquisition are the first two things to go by the wayside. As this Follow Up Boss article points out, effective ISAs will bring you a 5 to 1 return on investment.

And this makes sense, why shouldn’t they go by the wayside? You and your agents are busy going to appointments, showing houses, closing deals and doing all the mountains of paperwork that go along with every step in the real estate process. But having a consistent system to find and nurture new leads, as well as to continuously set appointments for you and your agents, is something you have to have.

You’re going have no shows, you’re going to lose clients, you’re going to have sales fall through. This is the nature of the business and is unavoidable. Having a solid and successful inside sales team is how you mitigate the inevitable losses. They are the ones who keep a steady stream of new business coming through the door. And it all starts with hiring the right people.

It’s all about the mindset

Once you have made the decision to grow your business and hire one or more inside sales agent(s), the biggest fear typically becomes, “what if I hire the wrong person?!?”. Hiring the wrong person can cost countless hours and thousands of dollars—time and money you don’t have. So the key is to hire the right person, the first time around. According to insidesales.com, there are seven critical attributes that salespeople have to have. Of the seven, only three have directly to do with sales. The other four are as follows:
  • A good attitude

  • A desire to get better and learn

  • A desire to be better than the competition

  • The highest degree of integrity (i.e. they don’t lie or mislead clients or potential clients)

So four of these seven critical attributes all have to do with personality and mindset. What this means is that you don’t have to stress over finding the “perfect” sales person. You need to find someone who has a track record of producing tangible value for themselves and their employers (ideally, this would be something quantitative they can show you in an interview), someone who has a “show, don’t tell” attitude, and someone whose favorite words are “if I don’t know, I will figure it out”.

Let’s talk specifics

So you find a person with a solid go-getter attitude who doesn’t have a propensity towards lying and stealing. That’s the most important part when hiring an inside sales agent. But in addition to that, there are certain skills or qualities that they should possess.

First off, they have to be relatively extroverted or, at least, be able to talk on the phone with people. If they enjoy talking to people on the phone then that is a plus. This includes being effective at reading people over the phone and being able to react in real time to they pick up.

Second, they should feel comfortable being fairly assertive and forward. Not to the point of making anyone feel uncomfortable (this is where being able to read people comes in), but whether listening or speaking, your inside sales agent should be in control of the conversation.

Third, inside sales agents have to be okay with doing repetitive tasks and have to pay close attention to detail. Handling CRMs, setting appointments, and generally moving prospects through the sales funnel requires precision and documentation. Making sure all the information is correctly recorded is a must.

Your inside sales agents will be rock stars

If you are going to scale or sustain your real estate business or team, then you need great inside sales agents providing you with a constant stream of new leads. The most important thing is finding someone who wants to grow and produce value for the company and themselves (if you find someone who understands that producing value for one produces value for the other, you’ve struck gold). Then just make sure they are good at talking on the phone and train the heck out of them.

You’ll have more time and your business will grow by leaps and bounds. What are you waiting for?

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