Posted on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 5:00 AM by Craig L Proctor
One of the key positions on the teams of our most successful members is that of ISA (Inside Sales Agent). As you look ahead to growing or evolving your own team, it’s useful to have a benchmark in terms of numbers and expectations so you can not only avoid common pitfalls, but also push your team to achieve to its fullest potential.
An important point to remember is that your team is who you attract, and you will only be as good as your weakest agents. While one of the benefits you’ll offer agents who join your team in this capacity is that you’ll do much of the prep and admin work for them, this doesn’t mean that it’s okay for them to sit back and depend on you for business. If your agents rely on you for their success, they will not hang around long because they’ll end up blaming you when things don’t work out for them.
The optimal relationship is one of “interdependence”, not “dependence”. If you hire agents with a “dependent” mentality, they will corrupt your team. I know this from my own experience, and it’s essential that you recognize the warning signs early. I worked hard to screen out this kind of person in the hiring process, but no system is 100%. Even if some did squeak through, these were the agents I ultimately forced out of my organization.
On the flip side, when I found a giver (vs. a taker), I would move mountains to make it worthwhile for them to work on my team. These are the agents you can do hundreds of transactions with and still be profitable, and these are the agents you should be building your team with. Too many times I find team leaders cutting their costs and altering their pay plans because 80% of their agents are not carrying their weight, when what they really should be doing is giving more to the ones that do work and less to the ones that don’t. What a concept … reward good behaviour (vs. what most do which is, effectively, to reward bad behaviour.)
So what kind of productivity should you expect from your ISA’s? I set a goal for my ISA’s of 5 face-to-face appointments per day. We set on average 250 appointments a month. Their mandate was to keep my team overwhelmingly busy. The success each ISA has depends on the lead source. Gur sale call ins are come list me’s. Sign calls are tough. We started out our new ISA’s in training for 2 weeks calling FSBO’s. That's right: good old telemarketing. Here's why – they couldn’t screw them up. The goal was to give them a comfort level with dealing with rejection and with communicating articulately with prospects who are in the market to move. If they mastered that, they could call and convert anyone. It once took 2 months for one of my new ISAs to get up to 3-5 appointments a day. With my training system of stepping them up into the different type of leads, they got there much more quickly … within 2 weeks.
Sometimes I had to step in and motivate my ISA’s through modelling. At some point as a team leader you will hear these five words: “The leads are no good.” I remember once reaching a level of frustration with one ISA who was complaining about this. I sat him down beside me and called back his leads for a mere 45 minutes. I talked to 6 prospects and set 5 appointments, proving to him that demanding 5 face-to-face appointments a day, 5 days a week is not too much to ask.
The biggest dilemma when pushing your ISAs to book to this level is cancellations. A 12 - 15% cancellation rate is common, much higher on buyers as well as non-branded leads. Understandably this would be upsetting to our OSA’s, especially if they would drive out to an appointment and be told there was no appointment. This didn’t happen often, but it happened. I would just explain to the OSA’s that the ISA’s are paid on commission just as they are and would never intentionally set an appointment with a non-convertible lead.
That being said, not all leads are equal. No question that branded leads are easier to convert. Most non branded leads are future business and the trails go cold over time when not followed up on aggressively. If it were possible to generate enough leads with branded marketing, you wouldn’t run non branded ads, but the reality is that you do need non branded leads to fill the pipeline. This is why I created a very aggressive direct mail and email marketing system that gets many of these non-branded leads calling us directly (vs. us cold calling them.) Here are my best to worst: Branded Gur Sale leads, Branded ad and sign calls, Branded Internet (VIP Buyer), Non-branded FQOTN, Non branded other. The USP hotlines fall into the same category as the internet branded and non-branded.
ISA is a pivotal role. Getting agents to do it, and do it well, is tough, but failure at this level spells failure from that point forward. If your ISA’s can’t convert the leads, there is no business. The whole thing stops before it can begin. As such, I always considered it a rainmaker activity in my own business, and I continued to make these calls myself throughout my career.
P.S. You can test drive my ideas and systems absolutely free by signing up for Free Weekly Training which includes live weekly webinars, a monthly newsletter and priority invitations to free half day training events. This Free Weekly training will expose you to inexpensive and highly effective methods of lead generation (with no cold calling) -- what I call “Reverse Prospecting”, where qualified prospects actually hunt you down rather than the other way around, and then how to follow these leads through to maximum GCI via proprietary lead conversion and prospect presentation systems. This is the easiest way for you to find out with no risk or obligation what my system is all about and how it can help you profitably grow your real estate business and vastly improve your quality of life. JOIN MY FREE WEEKLY TRAINING PROGRAM HERE