August 4, 2020

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AJ Guzman

Everything You Need To Know About Virtual Inside Sales Agents

Virtual ISAs Schedule 15 Minute Phone Appointments With Real Estate Leads

By now you’ve probably heard the phrase “Real Estate Roller Coaster”. Meaning your commission income fluctuates wildly from record months to long dry spells.

What causes the Real Estate Roller Coaster? 

It’s a pretty predictable pattern. In our slow months, we have time to prospect for new leads and follow up with our online leads to secure future business.

BUT once those leads turn into active clients we get so busy servicing them that we no longer have time to generate new leads.

The real estate roller coaster must be avoided at all cost.


In a perfect world, you’ll keep your foot on the gas even while you're servicing active clients and never stop generating new leads and appointments.

Easier said than done, right?

That’s where Virtual ISAs come in. A Virtual ISA (Inside Sales Agent) is a critical piece of leverage for building a business that never stops generating leads and setting appointments.

Still not sure what the deal is with Virtual ISAs? Keep reading, we’ll cover everything you need to know.

What Is a (Non-Virtual) Inside Sales Agent?

An Inside Sales Agent is someone whose sole job is to help you convert leads into appointments.

Different Inside Sales Agents use different forms of communication, the 3 most common forms of communication are:

  1. Text/SMS: With the rise of robocalls over the last few years and a steady decline in email open rates since the early 2000s text messaging has emerged as the Gold Standard in lead conversion.
  2. Voice Calls: Many agents still love the idea of phone calls for lead conversion but the reality of decreased answer rates is making even the most ardent dialers resort to Text/SMS.
  3. Email: For some industries (B2B Mostly) email still shines as a great way to convert leads and generate new prospects. It tends to be a little less effective for Realtors who work directly with consumers though.
Open rates are better for SMS

Over the past decade, many real estate teams have started leveraging Inside Sales Agents as a way to combat the Real Estate Roller Coaster.

These ISAs are traditional full-time employees who require office space, hardware, and a software subscription or two.

But most expensively, they require leadership and management to both train and motivate them.

So now in addition to servicing all your real estate clients, you have to find time to recruit, interview, hire, train, and retain a talented ISA!

That’s where Virtual ISA’s come in.

Why Choose Virtual?

Instead of you being the one to interview, hire, train and retain an ISA, you can hire a company like Smart Alto that has highly trained inside sales agents to follow up with your leads and schedule phone appointments on your calendar when you're available to take the call.

Oftentimes you’ll find that Virtual ISAs simply qualify your leads and leave it at that. So if you generate 100 plus online leads per month they’ll simply give you the names of the leads that are most likely to actually buy or sell.

One of the things that sets us apart here at Smart Alto is that instead of simply telling you which leads are most likely to buy or sell, we actually look for availability in your calendar and set up a 15-minute phone appointment for you and the lead.

Agents love these appointments because they don’t have to start from scratch calling the leads and it gives them a chance to build rapport.

15-minute calendar appointment set by Smart Alto

The best part of choosing a virtual inside sales agent?

Instead of investing months of your time and $50,000 per year into recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining a full-time employee, you simply pay a small monthly subscription.

Depending on how many leads you generate, that can be as little as $300 per month.

It's more affordable to hire Smart Alto as your ISA than hiring an ISA yourself.


You also get a team of USA-based ISAs for a fraction of the cost of a single non-virtual ISA.

So unlike an ISA on your payroll, virtual ISAs work 24 hours per day and respond to your online leads within 2 minutes. 

That means when you’re showing homes to clients at 6pm or snuggled in bed at 2am, your virtual ISAs are following up with your new leads from Facebook, Realtor.com, or anywhere else. 

When you think deeply about it, it’s really a no-brainer. 

Virtual ISAs respond to new leads within 2 minute, work around the clock, and schedule phone appointments on your calendar for a fraction of the cost of hiring an employee. 

You can see why  Virtual ISAs make the most sense for the vast majority of busy real estate agents and growing teams who don’t have time to consistently follow up with online leads. 

Who Should Hire A Virtual ISA?

Outsourcing lead conversion is a tricky decision but there are always a few telltale signs that the time might be right for you.

Picture this: you’re out showing your newest buyer a gorgeous home that just hit the market this week, you’re having a great conversation with them about the home that has a coming soon sign down the block.  Suddenly you get an alert from Zillow, a new buyer lead just came in and you know that if you don’t reach out now your odds of setting an appointment go way down. 

What do you do? 

Text the lead and risk putting a bad taste in your current buyer’s mouth? Just wait till you get a chance after the showing knowing that pretty much means the $50 you spent on that lead just went down the drain?

Now imagine with Smart Alto’s Virtual ISA’s working for you around the clock you don’t have to choose, you can give the current buyers your full undivided attention AND still have the best possible chance of converting that lead into an active client.

DON'T Hire a Virtual ISA if:

You are new to the business and have no revenue coming in, it’s probably not the best idea to hire a Virtual ISA.

DO Hire a Virtual ISA if:

You don't have the time to consistently follow up with online leads to schedule appointments

OR

It takes you too long to respond to online leads (more than 5 minutes).

OR

Online lead generation is going to be a supplemental source of business. In which case you stay focused on your primary source of business and let us turn your online lead generation into an appointment generating machine.

Let’s say most of your business comes from your sphere of influence and repeat/referral clients. 

Instead of spreading yourself too thin and risking your already successful source of business, you may want to invest in a Virtual ISA so they can wade through all the uninterested leads so you can put all your energy into your sphere and only the leads your Virtual ISA qualifies for you.

What Are My Options For Hiring A Virtual ISA?

When it comes to hiring a virtual inside sales agent, you have 3 main options. Depending on your needs, current production level, team size, and management experience it’ll be pretty easy to see which option is best for you.

A lot of our customers have actually tried hiring a freelancer or remote ISA at some point and what they tell us is that it’s just all so draining. 

From creating a job description to recruiting to interviewing to hiring and creating a training plan and then having to start all over again when they fail to retain that ISA… It’s exhausting just thinking about it.

  • Hiring A Freelancer 

Since virtual Inside Sales agents are not full-time staff members on the payroll, you can hire one online via freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. 

Just make sure to assess their services and contract to see if they suit your business.

Pros.

It’s easy to do and you get to interview your freelancer to make sure they’re a good fit for your business.

  • Hire Smart Alto

Here at Smart Alto, we specialize in finding the best Virtual ISAs for real estate and have an entire system built around training and motivating our ISAs.

Unlike any other option out there, our ISA’s actually book phone appointments with your leads directly in your calendar.

You can easily integrate Smart Alto into your business immediately. See our list of integrations here.

Pros.

High-quality Virtual ISA’s from a company that specializes in Virtual ISAs.

Affordable with services starting at less than $3  per lead.

Appointments directly in your Calendar.


  • Hire A Remote ISA Worker

The last option would be to hire an ISA worker with the ability to work remotely. You can get one through your business circle or creating an ad.

This is mostly for teams who want a full-time ISA but want to search the entire globe for the right one instead of just an ISA who lives near the office.

Pros.

Dedicated full-time ISA.

Ability to choose your own ISA based on your own interviews.

If you’re serious about taking the next step, check out How to Hire a Virtual ISA | Hiring Guide: Recruit, Hire, Train

How Do You Implement A Virtual ISA?

If you decide to go with Smart Alto, implementing our Virtual ISA is practically plug and play. 

It only takes one business day for us to start following up with your leads to schedule appointments on your calendar. Seriously, you’re less than 48 hours away from having an expert virtual ISA working around the clock to turn your leads into appointments.

But if for some bizarre reason you decide to go a different route there are few things you want to consider.

For starters you’re going to want to train them:

  • Help them memorize the scripts you want them to use
  • Teach conversations and call tonality
  • Teach how to ask questions without being annoying 
  • Train them on how to use your lead qualification checklist (if you don’t have one, schedule a demo today to learn more about our BANTAR method)
  • Teach them how to use the CRM system

The next thing you’ll need to do is establish a system for managing and motivating them.

One proven method is to schedule a weekly meeting at the same time every week, here you’ll review their metrics for the past week and establish their goals for the following week.

A few metrics that you want to be able to check independently and will be helpful in managing your Virtual ISA:

  • Number of Attempts (Dials or Texts sent)
  • Number of Contacts
  • Number of qualified leads
  • Number of Appointments Set
  • Number of Appointments Kept

Being able to go into their software and independently check these metrics is crucial for accountability.

Wrapping It All Up

In essence, a Virtual ISA is like having someone by the phone 24/7 ready to convert your leads into appointments.

This is a great way to fight the Real Estate Roller Coaster and keep your business growing at all times.

Moreover, most agents will actually see that having a Virtual ISA helps them to improve their conversion ratio when compared to themselves.

Here at Smart Alto, we strive to have a positive impact on both your ROI and your quality of life. Many of the agents we work with rave about having 15-minute phone appointments set directly in their calendar.

It pretty much turns online leads into warm appointments ready for you to convert into clients.

Smart Alto makes sets up phone appointments for you.


If you’re ready to hop off the Real Estate Roller Coaster and begin having 15-minute phone appointments set for you then schedule a demo call with Smart Alto today!

Author
AJ Guzman
Former ISA & Content Marketing Manager at Smart Alto

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