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Hiring new people for your team is always tough. It’s even harder when the position you are hiring for is critical to the continued growth and success of your business. And make no mistake, a real estate inside sales agent is a critical position within your business. They are the first point of contact for your team, they nurture prospects into leads, and they are responsible for ensuring that new business keeps coming in the door.
Put simply, if you are looking to scale your business, or even if you are just ensuring that it is sustainable, you need an ISA. As you and your real estate agents get busier and busier, lead generation and acquisition are the first two things that typically go by the wayside. An inside sales agent will help you make sure that that does not happen. As this Follow Up Boss article points out, effective ISAs will bring you a 5 to 1 return on investment.
Frankly, many, if not most, business owners and team leaders go about hiring the wrong way. In terms of real estate ISAs, the typical process looks like this: you interview a bunch of people, hire the one or ones who have the best resume or who, based on the resume and interview, seem to have some experience.
After hiring, you then find out whether or not the new ISA can actually do the job that is required of them. And if the new hire seems to be able to fulfill the basic requirements of the job, then you get around to training them on the finer points of the craft.
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Though typical in the real estate industry and, essentially, in all industries, when hiring this way, the key components of the hiring process are basically in the wrong order. Instead of going interview, hire, performance, train, you should be going performance, interview, hire, train. In other words, the first step in the new hire process should be testing whether or not this person is actually capable of the job you need done.
A primary way to do this is by testing the inside sales agent before you hire them. Basically, you have to see how they talk and sound on the phone. This means listening to them on voicemail, doing role plays where you present them with different situations or caller objections, and having the candidate make actual calls to see how they do.
The key thing you are evaluating here is not whether they have perfect responses to the situations presented to them in the roleplays or on the practice calls, but whether or not they have the basic ability to interact confidently over the phone, and whether or not they are able to think on their feet and not get overly flustered.
In addition to testing how potential new ISA hires sound and interact on the phone, it is also important to recognize the personality types of the candidates you are considering. First off, it is important that you have an idea of what type of personality you want to hire and be mindful of that while you are conducting testing during the interview process.
More than just ensuring the inside sales agents you hire have the type of personality you are looking for, you need to confirm that they can carry on a phone conversation like an actual human and not just be a hard ass who is going for the tough sell.
When it comes to hiring a real estate ISA, most of the time you’re going to be looking for a high D and I type personality. Generally, the high D aspect indicates someone who is task oriented and willing to ask the hard questions, overcome any call reluctance, and receive three to four responses of “no” before he or she gives up—if they even give up at all.
The high I, on the other hand, reveals an inside sales agent who likely can build rapport with anyone in virtually any situation. A prospect with a high I is a natural conversationalist who can talk to people easily and make them feel at ease, even when the person is not known to them ahead of time. Of course, not having a high D and I is not necessarily a deal breaker when hiring an ISA, and you have to take into account experience, training, and past success, but it’s highly recommended when moving your candidate to the next stage of the process.
In addition to broad personality types that are ideal for real estate inside sales agents, you should also keep an eye out for specific traits while interviewing candidates. First off, you want someone who has a natural curiosity. Curious ISAs are more likely to go the extra mile to locate a lead who may have changed their phone number or may be motivated to find and explore better processes for your business.
You also want to find someone who has solid listening skills. Sometimes, the most important information can be obtained in what was briefly mentioned by a lead on the phone, and a good inside sales agent needs to be attentive enough to pick up on that. Similarly, you want an ISA who pays attention to detail so that they will not let leads or touch points fall through the cracks.
Although you want to look at the person as a whole when interviewing for ISAs, including experience and track record, the personality and traits they exhibit in the interview are also very important. How the prospect carries themselves and their personality profile should play a large role in your decision making process.