November 3, 2020

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AJ Guzman

Hire An ISA Without Breaking The Bank

It not easy, but it can be done

Leverage! Your managing broker’s favorite buzzword.

“You need leverage” “You can’t do it all yourself, you’ll grow quicker with leverage”, you know the drill.

You also know exactly what they mean when they say leverage, what they’re really saying is you need to hire an employee. You need to hire someone to do part of your job for you...the parts you’re either no good at or just don’t have time to do.

Highlight one woman standing by other business professionals

So what part of your job do you not like doing OR are you just flat out too busy to do?

Don’t answer that, let me guess..

Lead Follow Up!

That’s right, you’re not alone, we all hate following up with online leads!

You have to respond within 5 minutes of them registering online.
You have to be able to get to them 24/7/365.
You have to try at least 6 times to get a hold of any of them.
You never really get a hold of most of them.
And worst of all, most of the ones you do speak with are either rude or massively underqualified.

That’s where an ISA comes in.

(Don’t know what an ISA is? Read our semi-famous article called Everything You Need To Know About Virtual Inside Sales Agents)

In real estate an ISA is an Inside Sales Agent whose sole job is to help you convert those online leads into appointments that are actually worth your time.

This is the “Leverage” you keep hearing about, you can completely bypass the most demeaning and least fruitful part of your job with one simple hire.

There’s just one problem… employees are expensive! 

Heck, in our article “How Much Money Will It Cost You To Hire an ISA For Your Brokerage?” we found out it would cost about $50,000 in opportunity costs alone and another $30,000 in out of pocket expenses.

Simply too much to justify for most individual agents (and many large teams too!).

But what if I told you there's a way to get that ISA leverage you so desperately need without paying an arm and a leg

What if you didn’t have to be on high alert 24/7 and only had to talk to the leads that are actually interested in buying or selling a home AND you could do so while paying less than $260 a month for the leverage?

Well that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do in this article.

Go Virtual

As business owners we often think of leverage in a very traditional way; you hire a person to come into the office and do a job. After all that’s the experience most of us have had in our own work lives.

If we’re being brutally honest with ourselves, it’s also a bit of a status symbol to have an “assistant” or have a large team of faces and names to put on all your marketing materials.

But that traditional, ego driven mindset is one of the biggest drivers of cost and waste. 

For the savviest and most growth minded agents willing to embrace the new way of doing business, there are great efficiencies and benefits to be gained by going virtual.

No Office Space

Office space is by far the least productive and most unavoidable way to spend your money, especially with the steady climb in office rents year over year it's unsustainable to have to pay for space on top of an employee’s salary.

With the average employee requiring about 100 Sqft of space, according to spaceiq, and many cities running average office rents at $2 per square foot or more that adds up to more than $200 per month that does absolutely nothing for you or your business.

And in the post-pandemic world, everyone is used to working remotely anyway.

A Larger Talent Pool

Last and least obvious is the quality of your hire in and of itself increases when you decide to go virtual. Why? Because you’re not limited to a small 45 minute radius around your office to source talented ISAs.

Instead the nation (and even world) becomes your talent pool, giving you the option to hire the best of the best even if they live hours and hours away.

Virtual grants you the luxury of top notch employees all while chopping off the costs of office space and unnecessary office hardware.


No Hardware Purchase

One obvious hardware cost of in-person ISAs is the cost of their computer equipment which can quickly climb north of $1,000 per person.

BUT let’s assume you institute a Bring Your Own Device policy (good luck), you’ll still have the cost of outfitting the office with a desk, office chair and appropriate work furnishings.

Every last one of these items being a deadweight expense that will yield no returns for your business.

Don’t Hire A Person, Buy A Service

The next paradigm we’ll need to shift if you want to enjoy the leverage of an ISA with only a fraction of the costs typically associated is eliminating the idea that you are trying to “hire” anyone.

Sincerely as someone who has personally interviewed and hired ISAs, it’s an absolute drag!

It eats up so much of your time just to find the right person and once you find the right person, there’s no guarantee that they’ll stick around for even 100 days.

(But if you still want to take this route, then click here to download The Ultimate Checklist For Hiring A Real Estate ISA)

Instead of going on upwork, or fiverr, or whatever the latest virtual employee platform is these days, you’d be wise to purchase a package from a company that sells ISAs as a service.

And the reasons aren’t [just] because it’ll save you money but it will also help you maximize your return.

Recruiting, Interviewing, Hiring and Training Costs Money

Like I said before hiring an ISA (or any full time employee) stinks.
You’ll spend hours writing and posting help wanted ads, weeks interviewing dozens of candidates, odds are several more weeks to hire the right one and then months to train an ISA to any acceptable level of proficiency.

All that time adds up to thousands of dollars for the average agent.

Instead, hiring an ISA as a service provider is like outsourcing all of that craziness to someone else.

24/7 Coverage

The biggest downside to hiring an individual is that even if you get a full time commitment (40 hours per week), that still leaves 128 hours every single week that no one is following up with your leads.

In a digital world where leads register 24/7 and demand instant gratification, this simply will not do. You’re paying someone for their time and there’s no guarantee that they’ll even be on the clock when the work you need done arises.

An ISA provider like Smart Alto handles this by having a team of ISAs always ready to respond to leads within the data recommended 5 minute window, which actually makes you money over a full time individual.


Pay Per Action Not Per Hour

Now this one is tough to wrap your head around at first so let's just use a hard example and say you’re currently generating 300 leads per month.

If you hire an ISA full time, 40 hours per week or 160 hours per month, that would mean you’d have to pay them regardless of whether or not they were on the clock when leads came in.

So if only half of your leads came in between the hours of 9-5, you’d still have to pay your ISA for the month to spite the fact that half of your leads were not reached immediately. Even if you got a bargain at $10 an hour that would be $1,600 per month regardless of whether or not they handled all 300 leads or just half of them.

On the flip side, that same 300 leads would be a mid tier package with Smart Alto and instead of paying for a fixed number of hours on the clock you purchase the services of 300 immediate follow ups when leads come through (whenever that may be) and 300 ongoing follow up plans with each lead.

All for less than $640 per month. And it guarantees that every single one of your leads is followed up with every single time!

Choose A Specialist Not a Generalist

Now that we’re done chopping down the hard costs of hiring an ISA, let’s look at the soft costs and find out how to maximize ROI.

Number one on the agenda is hiring the right ISA provider, a company who specializes in Real Estate will make all the difference in the world when you are trying to up your earnings.

The sales cycle for magazine subscriptions is so much different than the sales process for homebuyers and sellers and hiring a generalist virtual assistant company could mean that your ISA is talking to your leads like they either purchase by the end of the first conversation or they’re a dead lead.

Opportunity Costs (AKA The Money You Don’t Make Cause’ You Hired A Weak ISA)

We’ve done the math before but just to rehash it using fresh figures let's continue to say you’re generating 300 leads per month, that’s 3,600 leads per year.

If hiring a generalist means that you can improve your conversion rate by just 10 percent that means an additional 36 closings every single year.

What’s your average commission? 5 grand maybe?

In that case hiring a specialist (for the same price that it would cost to hire a generalist) you stand to earn an additional $180,000 every year.

Smart Alto specializes in Real Estate leads and we pride ourselves on highly profitable service.

Look For A Focus On Results

The final thing to consider is how the ISA provider delivers results.

Why is this important?

Because some corner cutters out there just want to be able to wash their hands of your leads by qualifying them and carrying on with their day. Sure you get more insight on your leads but you're not really in a better position.

Phone Appointments Vs Warm Leads Vs Live Transfers

At Smart Alto we’ve discovered that the absolute best way to deliver results is to set a 15-minute appointment with you and the lead directly in your calendar.


We’ve seen this out perform “warm leads” by setting up the next step in a way that allows you to take the baton in a natural way that is smooth for both you and the customer.

As far as “Live Transfers” go … in a perfect world they’d be ok, in a perfect world you’re always available when the transfer is initiated and ready to talk to a lead.... In a perfect world…

But we don’t live in a perfect world, so instead of a well coordinated relay race where Smart Alto passes you the baton at just the right moment, live transfers end up being a lot more like a game of hot potato.

Conclusion

Smart Alto focuses on delivering high ROI for our Realty clients not as an afterthought but as our primary agenda.

Having been founded by Hassan Riggs, a former Real Estate ISA who set over 10,000 appointments in his time, we are narrow minded focused on delivering extraordinary value to Real Estate Agents, Teams and Brokerages.

We believe that by specializing on Real Estate leads we have built an expertise in the space that most providers can only dream of.

Partnering with Y Combinator, the most famous incubator in tech, allowed us to build a beautiful platform that not only provides clarity to agents but also allowed us to hire the most talented ISAs from the US and the UK, giving us a massive talent advantage in the market we serve.

Smart Alto is the text based, human only, 15- minute phone appointment delivering juggernaut in Real Estate ISA service because just like you we believe that expertise and dedication is what's best for our customers.

Ready to get started in the world of leverage in a way that blends world class results with profit friendly pricing? Book a demo today!


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

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