The 5 Biggest Mistakes Agents Make When Hiring and Using an Inside Sales Agent ( ISA )
“You're only human
You're allowed to make your share of mistakes
You better believe there will be times in your life
When you'll be feeling like a stumbling fool
So take it from me you'll learn more from your accidents
Than anything that you could ever learn at school” - Billy Joel, Second Wind
Billy Joel speaks the truth...we do, truly, make our own share of mistakes.
That said, if it’s possible to avoid making them, you should.
And the best way to do that is to learn from people like me who’ve made my share and probably a few other people’s shares as well.
After being party to roughly 60 Inside Sales Agent ( ISA ) hires in the last couple of years, we’ve learned a number of things that you should absolutely avoid doing if you want to successfully hire and implement an ISA in your real estate business.
Today, I’m going to share with you the biggest mistakes we’ve made - and that you should avoid like the plague - when hiring and using an ISA.
Hiring a friend, family member or the wrong person
Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt.
I’m pretty certain that almost every real estate agent has hired someone they knew or were related to since they got into the business.
At first blush, it seems like the right thing to do. You need help, that person needs a job...it’s a match made in heaven.
Then, reality sets in.
You find out that this person, while nice and easy to talk to isn’t a phone salesperson and they couldn’t pick up a buying signal if you stapled it to them.
Or, because you’re close to them, they think they can get away with not working as hard or failing to get the results you need.
An ISA is a highly-skilled, highly-trained phone salesperson who knows how to identify timing and motivation and then either set a qualified appointment or turn that contact into a nurture and build a solid relationship the prospect until such time the prospect is ready to sell.
According to recruiting and hiring juggernaut, Robert Half International, hiring the wrong person and cost you as much as 30% of the employee’s total compensation.
Hiring mistakes can be costly, no doubt.
Now, if your friend or family member is the right person for the job...hire them.
Other than that, avoid hiring the wrong person at all costs.
Not Paying Enough
There are times to be thrifty in your real estate businesses and there are times where being thrifty isn’t a good choice. Your compensation On Target Earnings (OTE) for your ISA is one of those times where being thrifty isn’t a good choice.
If you remember, an ISA is a highly skilled, highly trained salesperson who is as good as an outside sales associate...but excels at (and enjoys) selling and building relationships over the phone.
In order to secure the right person for the job and keep them over the long term, you need to offer the ability for your ISA to make a solid income for himself/herself.
The national average OTE for an ISA hovers somewhere between $55K and $65K, with a portion of the compensation coming from salary and the remainder coming from bonuses or commission on homes sold.
That said, it would be beneficial for you to check www.salary.com to determine where in the ISA compensation range your area falls. From my perspective, I like what Charlie Munger has to say about compensating team members.
Munger is the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and has been Warren Buffet’s right hand man for the last 56 years. He’s 92, currently worth $1.29 billion, and responsible for helping Berkshire Hathaway a company that churns out billions in profits each year.
Here’s what he has to say about compensation models when attracting and retaining top talent: “You also have to have a compensation system that’s satisfactory.... at Berkshire Hathaway, we have no [single] system; we have different systems. They’re very simple and we don’t tend to revisit them very often. It’s amazing how well it’s worked.”
In order to retain top talent, you need to do more than throw a number at a potential employee. To keep good people on board, you need a compensation model that provides depth and opportunity for your ISAs to earn a solid income for themselves.
Not Trained Properly
Your ISA’s greatest asset is being able to know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.
Abraham Lincoln was credited with the following saying: “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend five hours sharpening my axe.”
Keeping this in mind, In order to get good results, fast, you’ll need to help your ISA sharpen his/her axe with training in two major areas: training on processes, systems, operations, and technology and then training over time on their skills.
If you fail to train your ISA properly in these two areas, you and they are destined to fail...miserably.
Processes, Systems, Operations, and Technology
At our office, we have a number of processes and systems we use to run our business, as well as some internal operations and technology to make the job of selling homes easier.
Each ISA is trained on how to do their job and understand what role they play in making the machine run as it pertains to the processes, systems, operations, and technology that apply to them.
The training in all four of these areas happens for a short period of time during our 84-day onboarding period, usually at the beginning of their tenure with our company. The goal is to get them to be as autonomous as possible as quickly as possible so they can focus more on doing what we need them to do—set appointments.
There’s nothing sexy about this part of our training, but it’s vital to the success of our organization. If an ISA can’t get their head around how to disposition a lead, hand an appointment off to a listing partner, manage their prospects in the CRM, or navigate the dialer, he/she will never be effective enough to make a difference in your organization. This training is vital to the your success and that of your ISA—never shortcut this part of the training process.
You know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. Being able to do that got you to where you are in your business today.
Now that you’re not going to be making calls as often (if at all), your ISA needs to be as good as (if not better than) you with all the skills necessary to build relationships, move prospects along in their pipeline, and set appointments consistently.
These skills range from scripts and dialogues to influencing prospects over the phone, from active listening to being an expert at asking questions, from handling objections to using tie downs, trial closes and closes to gain
commitments from prospects...and everything in between.
This type of training never ends. You will continually work on all aspects of selling over the phone with your ISAs. You’ll do this by:
- Holding weekly training sessions
- Role-playing with your ISA (or getting them a role-play partner)
- Shadowing him/her on live calls and giving him/her feedback
- Reviewing recorded calls with him/her and breaking the call down
- Having your ISA handwrite the script every couple of days until they internalize it
There’s no shortage of things you can do to train your ISA on improving his/her skill set. The most important thing is that you never stop training your ISA as long as they work for you.
Are there other mistakes to avoid...absolutely.
But these are the ones that can crush your efforts to get an ISA hired, onboarded and producing effectively.
Take your time to follow what I laid out here and you won’t be singing the ISA Mistake Blues.