When should you hire your first Inside Sales Agent ( ISA )?
Hiring your first ISA is a game changer for your business and not a decision that should be taken lightly. Bringing on the wrong person for this spot on your team could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in lost compensation and sales opportunities.
To make the decision easier for you to make, I’d love to able to tell you that there’s a magic number of transactions you must have completed or certain number of months you should have worked as an agent before you hire an ISA.
But I can’t.
What I can tell you though, is what you need to have in place or be able to do before you bring an ISA on board. If you can meet these minimum criteria, then by all means, go out and get yourself a highly-qualified ISA immediately:
- Cash Reserves: Part of your ISA’s compensation is going to be paid in the form of a salary; roughly $2,500 per month. In order to make sure you have your ISA’s salary covered until the fruits of their labor can be harvested, you’ll want to have between $10,000 and $12,500 set aside that you don’t need for anything else in your life or business.
This dollar amount allows you pay for up to 5 months salary and allow for any hiccups that might happen while your ISA is getting onboard with your company. It’s likely that he/she will pay for themselves long before that, but you don’t want to make your hiring decision based upon the fact that everything will work out as planned - because it usually doesn’t.
- Space and technology: Your ISA needs a little space to work and do his/her job effectively. To that end, you’ll want to make sure he/she has a desk in a room where other people are not sitting directly in the same space where he/she is working. You don’t need a separate room or anything like that, but you do need the ISA to have his/her own space to work (a shared desk will not do).
As for technology, you’ll want to have a computer with enough memory to run the software programs and dialer you have for daily lead follow up. You’ll also need a great wireless headset with decent range so your ISA can get up and walk around as he/she is making calls.
You’re also going to want to have a CRM with integrated lead downloading, a dialer, texting ability and the functionality to run reports that track your ISAs efforts. If you don’t have that type of system in place, you at least need to create your own “Frankenstein” program that does all of that in one place to make sure your ISA is working as efficiently as possible each day.
- Leads: Without leads, your ISA can’t do his/her job. To help your ISA be uber effective, you’ll need to provide expireds, FSBOs, home value leads and neighborhood data for circle prospecting efforts. If you like, you can throw in some buyer leads for good measure, but seller leads are what your ISA needs to be calling on a regular basis.
- Scripts and training: Your ISAs skillset is their ammunition on the phone. If he/she doesn’t know what to say, how to say it and when to say it, he/she can’t do the job of being an ISA. You need to provide proven scripts and dialogues and training that helps your ISA learn them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Be strong at the kitchen table: This may go without saying but I’m going to say it anyway. You need to be able to secure listings with a decent amount of consistency. If your ISA gets you listing appointments and you can’t close them, the whole thing doesn’t work. Now, you don’t have to be amazing, but you must be able to get the job done at least 50% of the time in order for you and your ISA to benefit from the process.
All of this said, there is a way for you to bring on someone in an inside sales capacity without having all of these elements in place right away. As I talked about in my previous blog post How to get an ISA producing in under 24 hours, getting a Sales Development Representative (SDR) onboard is a great way to baby step your way into having a full-time ISA.
SDRs are less experienced, less skilled phone sales people who are able to uncover sales opportunities for you from leads you are currently generating. With an SDR, you have someone who can take the calls you are already getting and provide speed of response to their inquiries when you can’t because you’re busy.
The increase in the response rate will greatly improve the chance that your leads will work with you when they are ready to buy or sell a home. Learn more about how speed of response can increase your conversion
As well, you can hire an SDR to do some circle prospecting for you to uncover now seller leads and nurtures for sellers who are planning to make a move in the future. An SDR is invaluable in this role for sure.
Ideally, you’ll want to have an ISA in place as soon as you can because your ISA is more highly skilled than an SDR and he/she can do the full job of uncovering opportunities and turning them into legitimate selling opportunities. Absent that, having an SDR in place can help tremendously with lead generation and conversion.