The question most agents and investors concern themselves with when adding a real estate ISA to their team is, “How do I train them to make real estate cold calls and be great prospectors?” Scripts and sales training are extremely important, but a successful dynamic between an ISA and the agent/investor they work for involves plenty of other layers that get taken for granted. Whether you’re hiring a virtual assistant or an internal sales assistant that will be working alongside you in a physical office, this article will help you set your real estate ISA(s) up for success!
(And, in case you need help with the scripts and sales language part, set your ISA loose in our Probate Role Play Training on YouTube or in our Training Archive!)
Here are 5 things you should do to help set your ISA up for success:
Familiarize Your ISA With The Systems You Use:
What systems do you use, and which of them does your ISA need to use? What about systems the ISA will not use, but could benefit from understanding how they’re used in the rest of your business?
Walk your ISA through any CRMs, Dialers, Email Clients, Mobile and Desktop Applications, Productivity Tools, and anything else you can think of. If you will be providing your ISA office equipment such as a phone and/or laptop, walk them through the basics as they relate to the tasks they’ll be accountable for. It can be helpful to put together training resources for your ISA to reference, especially if you plan to scale and fill many seats in the future.
Lastly, if your ISA will be making calls and/or sending emails with accounts that are separate from your own, make sure you get their phone number, voicemail, and email@[yourcompany] .com set up.
Get Clear on How You Want Your Business Represented:
How should the ISA Represent Your Business? How do they describe you over the phone, and who they are in relationship to you and your business? Help your ISA develop introductions, elevator pitches, and propositions so they can represent your brand and value authentically.
Second, what other team members, partners, and vendors should your ISA know by name? Likewise, what are your biggest impact stories: past clients, testimonials, and any problems you’ve helped the people you’ve worked with solve? When and how should your ISA present these people and stories in conversation?
Third, what websites and/or social media channels, if any, should your ISA mention to curious contacts? (Pro Tip: It’s helpful to have a website and social media account handles that are easy to remember!) If you’re comfortable with it, direct your ISA to offer curious contacts a text/email following the call with a link to the relevant channel. Firing off a text with a link to some valuable information discussed during the call and adding in a “And if you need any guidance in the future, this is my cell” lead to quite a few cold leads reaching out months later ready to go.
Lastly, if your ISA will be handling any email communications, make sure they are set up with the proper branding, templates, and email signatures to ensure brand consistency and proper compliance (if applicable) when an ISA sends digital correspondence on your behalf.
Establish Workflows and Hand-Off:
What exactly do you want your ISA doing? Are they handling inbound and outbound calling? Will they be writing emails? Will they be handling follow-ups? Will they be working with multiple lead types?
As I’m sure you know, real estate needs and motivations come in all shapes and sizes. Your ISA will need to use their discretion in determining handoff, but the more guidance you can give, the better that hand-off will be. Consider how you would answer the following questions for your ISA:
- What tasks do you want your ISA to handle?
- How would you like your ISA to prioritize those tasks?
- How would you like your ISA to disposition their interactions with each lead?
- When is a lead qualified enough to get passed along to you?
- When your ISA hands off a qualified prospect to you, what role, if any, will they play as you continue to nurture that relationship?
It’s your job to know your market, but unless you regularly communicate with your ISA, they might not know expired listings are hot today, buyer leads are hot tomorrow, etc.. Guiding your ISA on what to focus on will keep them task-oriented and productive.
You also want to make sure your criteria for hand-off isn’t too vague. A lot of agents/investors instruct ISAs to nurture leads until they’re “qualified,” but what do you mean by that? Physical appointments? Ready to make a decision in the next 7, 30, or 90 days? Ready to discuss price or commissions? As I’m sure you can guess, physical appointments can be set with unqualified leads and cause no-shows or ill-preparedness; time windows can change unexpectedly; and price and commission questions don’t necessarily mean rapport or motivation are established. Rather than draw a hard line in the sand on when a handoff should occur (which will make you miss qualified opportunities and let quite a few unqualified opportunities through), discuss several criteria with your ISA and direct them to hand-off leads when most of the criteria meets a certain threshold.
When your ISA hands off a qualified prospect to you, keep them in the loop! Whether you can take it from there or need to bring your ISA back in the loop again, your ISA will appreciate seeing something they helped put together get to the finish line!
Prepare Your ISA To Recognize Likely Litigators:
It’s possible your ISA will never run into this type of situation, but I’m including this tip as a precaution. If your ISA dials out to a possible litigant – someone who would seek to bring a case forward against you for an unsolicited sales call, you want them to be prepared to identify and diffuse the situation. Questions about your basic business information might signal a possible litigant is on the other end of the line:
Who is this? What’s your name? What’s your brokerage? What’s your address? Are you calling me to solicit business?
Awareness can help your ISA recognize possible litigants should they come across any, and pre-emptive measures like running your list against the DNC and Known-Litigators list can help reduce the likelihood of these situations arising at all.
Establish a Process For Sharing Feedback, Offering Ideas, and Solving Problems.
You’re hiring an ISA because you’re getting too busy and making the calls yourself is no longer an option, and it’s easy to hire an ISA and wait for appointments to roll in. However, taking a proactive approach to your relationship with your ISA is foundational to continued success and improvement. Make sure your ISA has a communication channel for contacting you right away with high-priority questions and issues. Also, I highly recommend blocking off a regularly scheduled meeting for general housekeeping and goal-setting. We used to take 15 minutes on Monday mornings to review key performance indicators from the previous week, set goals for next week, and get our ISAs excited for another goal-crushing week.
Do not underestimate the value of proactive leadership. By taking the time to check in with and support your ISA(s), you’re doing much more than keeping operations running smoothly. When your team understands their roles and goals, their motivation, self-efficacy, and sense of accountability will lead to high performance.
Put It Into Practice!
While finding the right virtual assistant or real estate ISA is a task on its own, it’s only the beginning. Hiring someone to help grow your real estate business works best when they are able to work within your business, not outside of it. Setting expectations, providing clarity, and establishing dynamic and open communication with your ISA will take you both so much farther than throwing a new hire to the sharks and hoping they can sell themselves out of the situation. I hope this article serves you well as you get your new ISAs properly settled and established within your growing business!
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