September 8, 2020

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AJ Guzman

How To Choose The Right Real Estate ISA Provider

Download The Ultimate Checklist for Choosing the Right Real Estate ISA Provider for Your Business

After weeks of mulling over your best options, you’ve finally decided that hiring an ISA Provider is the best choice for you.

You’ve looked into hiring an in house ISA but eventually concluded that that’s just flat out too expensive. (If you haven’t already, then read our semi-famous article How to Hire the Right ISA For Your Real Estate Business: A Complete Hiring Kit For Recruiting, Selecting, and Training.)

Not only would you have to pay for a full-time employee, but you’d also have to take on the second job of sales manager. Somehow you’d have to find the time to recruit, hire, train, and retain the right ISA...No thanks!

You probably even considered hiring a freelancer from a website like Fiverr or Upwork but after talking to a few agents who have tried hiring freelancers you’ve come to realize that it’s a lot like gambling. 

Hiring an ISA can feel like gambling


Maybe you get an okay Freelancer, maybe you’ll never see any return on your investment. Not to mention, you still don’t get round the clock coverage. The risk just isn’t worth it.

So it’s settled, you’re going to hire an official ISA Provider, a company that specializes in virtual ISAs. It’s the best of both worlds; 24/7 lead coverage at an affordable rate.

But here’s the new question, how do you make sure you’re choosing the best ISA provider for your business? 

Let’s explore what you should consider to make sure you choose the BEST ISA provider for your business. 

What Is An ISA Provider?

By this point, you probably know what an ISA Provider is but let’s quickly cover the basics before we narrow down the best one.

An ISA Provider is a company that recruits, hires, and trains ISAs to respond to inbound real estate leads.

The company then sells you a subscription to have its ISAs follow up and convert your online leads into appointments. (Tip: Want to know more about virtual real estate ISAs. Read our article Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Real Estate ISAs).

So if you subscribe, it’s like you have an on-demand network of ISAs ready to immediately follow up with your leads 24/7.

Your subscription is usually based on the number of new leads they’ll be responding to for you in a given month.

For example, if you’re generating 100 leads per month on Facebook and you hire Smart Alto as your ISA Provider then your subscription would be $300 per month. That’s $300 per month to guarantee that all your leads are followed up on within 3 minutes and converted into 15-minute phone appointments at a staggering rate of approximately 25%.

I can already hear you saying “I wouldn’t be reading this article if I didn’t know what an ISA Provider was.” and to that, I say “You’re right, let’s move forward!”.



Which Channel Is Best For You? 

One of the first questions you’ll have to answer when choosing an ISA provider is the question of channels (i.e. mode of communication).

When deciding what mode of communication is best for you, what you really want to figure out is which mode of communication is the most effective.

For the most part, you have 3 options:

  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.
SMS has better response rates than other emails & calls


In all honesty, the choice is clear, you’re going to want your ISA’s to be text-based prospectors.

This not only gives you the highest chance of converting your leads, but it also eliminates any nuances that might be off-putting for some of your leads.

For instance, if you service Anaheim [ an-uh-hym ], an ISA’s calling your lead and asking if they plan on selling their home in Anaheim [Aye-nuh-heem] pretty much throws all of your credibility out the window.

There are a few great text-based ISA Providers, Smart Alto is one of them, but if you’re going to leave here with an exact idea of which ISA Provider is right for you then we’ll need to narrow the choices a little further.

Don’t “Automate” Yourself Out Of Money 


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is such a massive buzzword right now but it’s important to take a step back and separate the hype from reality.

F(AI)KE
Let me start with one of the most glaring issues on the topic of AI; Fake AI. 

So many companies that claim to offer AI chatbots simply offer Automated responses.

Not sure what the difference is, check out this article by Enterprisers Project.

Fake AI is a problem because it’s pretty much just canned responses that automatically deliver if a lead uses a certain word. So let’s say your Facebook lead mistypes and sends “I’m looking to sell”, the fake AI won’t recognize the keyword and simply won’t have a response. It only has a response to the keyword sell.

Even real AI misses the mark

Though there are hardly any ISA Providers that use real AI, even they have to deal with a massive shortcoming; AI isn’t human.


Human connection and warmth are a massive part of lead conversion, and dealing with AI is just flat out cold. We, humans, tend to show empathy in a lot (like a lot a lot) of nonverbal ways. Mirroring and matching is one of the ways that we empathize subconsciously. 

Let’s say a lead responds to your text using no punctuation or sentence structure, what do you do? You dial back your formality a bit, right?

I mean you don’t go all the way colloquial, you don’t want it to be obvious but maybe you drop a few commas here and there. C’mon, I know you’ve done it before! That’s the power of human-based prospecting, the small things that you probably don’t even realize you do.

Computing the costs of AI

One of the most tempting reasons to choose AI over humans is the price, logically it just makes sense that AI bots should be cheaper than human sales talent.

Even if we choose to ignore the opportunity costs of choosing an inferior product and all the missed conversions that cost you thousands each.

The truth is simple, AI ISAs are not cheaper.

Verse.io one of the top AI-based ISA providers offers subscriptions starting at $5 per lead. Compare that to Smart Alto’s human ISAs with subscriptions starting at less than $3 per lead!

Appointments Or Live Transfers

Another way that ISA providers tend to differ is on how they deliver results to you. Remember, your goal is to close as many deals as you can off of the leads that you’re already paying for.

When it comes to delivering results, ISA providers fall into 3 camps:

  1. Hot Leads: ISA Providers who use a “hot leads” method will contact all your leads then tell you which ones are most responsive…that’s it. They just give you the names of leads they think are interested, you’ll still have to do all the hard work of contacting them.
  1. Live Transfers: A live transfer is when an ISA currently has a lead who is willing to talk to you and instantly transfers them to your phone. Not terrible, BUT if you’re too busy to be available at a moment’s notice when a lead comes in odds are you’ll be busy when the live transfer comes in too.
  1. 15-Minute Phone Appointments: Smart Alto is the only ISA provider that sets 15-minute phone appointments directly on your calendar. This not only gives you a direct connection with the leads that are ready to do business with you, but it also guarantees that it will be during a window of time that you are actually available.
Smart Alto schedules 15 minute phone appointments for busy agents and teams


One of the less-heralded benefits of 15-minute phone appointments is that you’ll actually be ready for these calls. I used to purchase leads from the big Z and when they started doing live transfers my conversions took a massive hit.

Now I consider myself to be pretty polished in my scripts but when I’m just getting back into the car after a day of showings and running late for my final appointment I just can’t convert the live transfer that just started ringing me.

They can hear the distraction in your voice and want nothing to do with you, I don’t blame the leads either. If I walk into a store and ask the clerk about pants, I’m going to be pretty annoyed if they try to answer me without looking up from their phone.

It’s no different when you answer a live transfer while trying to GPS the fastest route to your next appointment.

Smart Alto Is The Clear Choice 

Once you take into consideration the 3 major questions you should be asking yourself, the decision is pretty straight forward. Smart Alto is the best ISA Provider Available.

Dear skeptics reading this article:

My guess is you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “You built these questions around your service, to make Smart Alto look good.” I want to give you credit.

Because you’re pretty darn close. BUT you got the order wrong we didn’t build these questions to make Smart Alto look good.

We built Smart Alto to satisfy these 3 questions!

When looking at the competitive landscape, we saw that there are 3 main decisions that need to be made; channel, humans vs AI, and how to deliver results.

After a lot of deliberation, trial and error, and an amazing partnership with Y Combinator, the most famous incubator in tech. 

We have built Smart Alto to leverage the most effective form of communication for lead conversion- Texting, employee Humans that connect and convert better than any algorithm on the market and deliver results in a way that allows our clients to close more deals by leveraging 15-minute phone appointments.

Smart Alto is the clear choice because we built it that way! 

Ready to take back some free time while improving your conversion rates? Schedule a Smart Alto demo today, we’ll start converting your leads into 15-minute phone appointments as soon as tomorrow!


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

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