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Why an Inside Sales Agent (ISA) Could be the Best Thing for your Real Estate Business

By: Laurent Minguez - President


Successful real estate teams are rarely satisfied with the status quo. They are always in search of ways to learn more and to become more productive. These teams have success-focused atmospheres and attract better agents. They are open to change.

If you are considering “the next step” for your agency, there are some very good reasons to move forward with hiring an Inside Sales Agent (ISA).

What Does an Inside Sales Agent Do?

An ISA's job is to prospect and scrub leads. Ideally, they should be licensed and enjoy spending the vast majority of their time on the phone. Each lead that comes into an office goes through the ISA who qualifies them, gathers background information, and confirms an appointment for the agents. Whether the lead comes from the internet, yard signs or other marketing efforts, they move through the Inside Sales Agent. Because the ISA will often be a prospect's first contact with your agency, it is important they can represent your office well.

How Do You Know if You Can Benefit from an ISA?

Brokers often spend a great deal of their time preaching the benefits of prospecting and keeping the pipeline filled. On the other hand, many agents only prospect when they are running out of leads. This often leads to an up and down sales cycle of prospecting, then closing, prospecting then closing. An Inside Sales Agent can keep the flow of leads coming into your office, giving agents more time to convert leads to sales. A common denominator of excellent sales people is that they often have an aversion to paperwork. An ISA also takes care of much of the paperwork associated in the sales process, something that agents really appreciate. Once established, this single hire can significantly accelerate the growth of an office.

What About Compensation?

There are several reasons offices don't hire an Inside Sales Agent. It will take some effort to hire and train the right person. It will mean a change in the flow of leads in your office. But one of the biggest reasons brokers resist is that adding an ISA means adding an employee and therefore costs. But here's the deal. It is generally accepted that an Inside Sales Agent can have a five-to-one ROI. Would you spend a dollar to make five?

There are several ways an ISA could be compensated. Many agencies compensate them with a small base salary and a commission structure. Others may get paid hourly and get an additional fee per qualified lead. The key is structuring the position to fit your particular office.

How Can You Maximize Your Investment in an ISA?

A critical component of how successful your foray into an ISA will be is to make sure activities are able to be tracked and measured. This can often involve structuring a workday for the ISA to include time for outbound calls for securing seller leads. These can include FSBO's, previous client follow-ups, expired listings and more. An ISA will also want to devote time each day to nurturing these leads. As time allows, an ISA can farm sought after neighborhoods. All of these activities should be monitored to see what areas are most productive for your agency.

One of the trickier aspects of using an ISA is that clients may feel like they are being "handed off" once an appointment is set. It can be beneficial to be open with potential leads as to the process so they will feel more comfortable with the next phase. If presented properly, it can actually serve to elevate the professionalism of your office.

You'll notice that we use the term “investment” when talking about hiring an ISA. That is because that is exactly what it is. It will take time to get the right ISA up and running smoothly in your office. However, if the proper structure, goals and job descriptions are in place, you should see a significant ROI within the first year of adding the position.

Additional Benefits of an Inside Sales Agent

Beyond the obvious benefit of getting more qualified leads, there are other advantages to having an ISA on staff.

  • It can shorten the time when a prospect goes from being a lead to becoming a client.
  • Agents can focus on their core jobs of getting listings and making sales.
  • Agents should have less down-time.
  • An ISA can handle both inbound leads and make outbound contacts.
  • An ISA helps make agents more accountable with their qualified leads.
  • An Inside Sales Agent gives your clients another point of contact with your team.
  • An ISA can add momentum and bring a renewed sense of enthusiam.

What to Look for in an ISA

Of course, the dividends you experience in hiring a Inside Sales Agent depends directly on the quality of person who fills the position. This is a person who will often be the face of your agency. It should be someone who enjoys talking with people and who is persuasive. They need to be extremely knowledgeable. This may be the type of person who enjoys the real estate business but may get frustrated with the length of the sales process. Obviously, it helps if they are personable, energetic and have a positive attitude.

If you are looking for an Inside Sales Agent, we encourage you to elevate your search with Realty Scout. Our growing network connects quality agents and brokers everyday. Boost your sales by investing in an Inside Sales Agent with the help of Realty Scout.