November 17, 2020


Hassan Riggs

Real Estate ISAs: Chatbots vs. Real Humans

Which Is Better For Your Real Estate Business And Your Buyers?

Over the past few decades one, almost sure-fire, strategy to grow your business has taken center stage in real estate.

Embracing new technology.

We’ve seen it time and time again, the first agents to embrace email and computers were able to get a headstart on their competition. Likewise, agents who saw the rise of online lead gen as a real opportunity were some of the first to grow the mega-teams that stand prominent today.

Every time, the laggards in our industry are either forced to leave or adapt.

But at the same time, there have been some massive flops (Remember eBay Real Estate?) in new technology and some things that have flat out backfired worse than an old car (Zillow is looking a lot more like an anti-Realtor brokerage than any of us could have predicted a few years ago).

For many agents, the attraction to silver-bullet tech gimmicks has been the very reason that they’ve had to leave the business and get a “real job”.

With that in mind, it can be tough to tell what new technologies are truly a tool and which ones are just a massive bust waiting to ruin you.

One such topic is Chatbots, sometimes called autoresponders or AI (which it really isn’t), some agents swear by them as a cheaper alternative to in-house real estate real estate ISAs.

But for most of us it’s just hard to think of any of our clients or leads actually enjoying their experience with chatbots, after all, when's the last time you’ve been happy to get an automated response instead of a real person?

There are certain frustrations that are inherent to working with autoresponders and chatbots that I think make it a NO-GO for any Realtor who’s serious about lead conversion.

Let’s explore a few reasons in detail.

Robots Are Frustrating

There’s not a lot of things that virtually everyone agrees with but this is one of them.

A little while back I had ordered a new computer monitor from Amazon, two days later I got an email saying that my monitor was successfully delivered and asking for a review.

Here’s the catch, it was never actually delivered. Considering I received the confirmation email a few days sooner than I was expecting the package, my guess is that it was either misscanned or delivered to the wrong address.

So what do I do? Reach out to Amazon of course. And after a bit of digging, I find the support chat (pro tip: you have to be signed in and click the menu on the left-hand side to find it).

At this point, I was a little relieved because now I could simply explain my problem and the kind folks at Amazon would help me out, right?


You guessed it, I got a chatbot agent! So when I explained what happened instead of seeing a sympathetic response I received a message that reads:

“Here are 3 articles that may help you resolve your problem.”

One thing to keep in mind here: Amazon is one of the largest most advanced companies in the world and even their chatbots are frustrating.

Amazon Wouldn’t Use Chatbots If They Didn’t Work”

I can hear the skeptics (and Chatbot salespeople) out there saying that if Chatbots weren’t effective then huge companies like Amazon wouldn’t use them.

But the comparison is apples to oranges.

Amazon uses its Chatbots for customer support NOT sales.

Think about it, we all find chatbots frustrating and in fact, the only reason any of us put up with them is that they’re the thing standing between us and our refund or our replacement.

Chatbots are terrible salespeople precisely because they are so frustrating, think of your last experience with a chatbot... did it make you want to do business with the parent company?

As a computer all a chatbot can do is exactly what they’ve been told.

Think about chatbots as having a very rigid, rules-based personality. Do you know somebody like this?

I’m sure you do, they are likely very compliant and very strict rules followers. The type of person who would make a great accountant or transaction coordinator, right?

Bean counter :-(

But you would never hire that person to be your business’s main salesperson, would you?

So why is it that Agents think it’s a good idea to hire actual robots as salespeople?

Instead, you need highly skilled human conversationalists who can have a conversation with anyone and, no matter how meandering that conversation gets, keep the focus on your services. 

Empathy Matter In Real Estate

Why do your clients move?

This isn’t a trick question, it’s pretty common sense at this point.

A few of the main reasons that people move are:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Birth of child
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Job Relocation

Notice a theme among these move-causing life events?

They’re stressful, in fact, according to an article by Thrive Global these can be some of the most stressful events in a person’s life.

With that in mind, it’s actually kind of a shock that Realtors enjoy such tremendous repeat and referral business. 

But the reason is fairly clear, it’s because Realtors are phenomenal empathizers and can connect with people that makes them feel calm despite the massive amount of stress they may be under.

I’m sure you remember a time (or 20) that you had to be a therapist for your clients. It comes with the territory, you have to take the time to really understand someone’s motivations and genuinely offer your support not as a professional but as a fellow human.

Can you imagine if you treated your customers like a robot?

You’d pretty much just have a list of questions to ask and whenever they answer you’d move straight to the next question, essentially turning a friendly conversational script into an interrogation.

And this is what agents are doing with chatbots while they’re still trying to win their business, which as we talked about before is already a terrible sales tactic.

(Important. Read mistake #2 in our semi-famous article 4 Mistakes You’re Making That Are Stopping Your Real Estate Leads From Responding To You).

The fact is that first impressions matter so even if you chose to only implement chatbots at the beginning of your sales process, it would still create a very sterile brand image and in an industry that relies so heavily on reviews and referrals, you can’t afford to let a chatbot ruin your brand.

The Real Way That Technology Is Changing Lead Conversion

Trust me, we are not Luddites. We firmly believe in leveraging software whenever it makes sense. Technology can be the key to creating seamless systems and maximizing efficiency for most businesses when done correctly.

Here at Smart Alto, we leverage technology in a different way to help you get amazing real estate ISAs without the massive costs of in-person ISA or the negative trade-offs of a chatbot.

Our technology has allowed us to build a network of real human real estate ISAs (the kind that actually take the time to get know your leads and treat them with respect) in both the US and the UK and using our software we can route your leads to an available human ISA instantly regardless of what time it is.

This guarantees that your leads are followed up with immediately and our tech stack means that our real estate ISAs can service multiple leads in the same hour.

Because of this, we can offer you REAL Human real estate ISAs at the same cost to you that our competitors charge for chatbots.

We believe in only hiring human beings because we recognize that EQ (emotional intelligence) is a critical part of sales, not only in converting your clients but in building a positive brand feeling about your business.

After all, Real Estate is a marathon, not a sprint so while we’re helping you grow your business today we also aim to keep you in good standings with the leads who say no to an appointment and might not be ready for a few years, they’ll come back to you excited to do business with you.

That’s the power of people and humanity in business.

Interested in learning more about our real human real estate ISAs, schedule a demo today!

Hassan Riggs

Founder at Smart Alto and former real estate ISA who has set 10,000 appointments.

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