If you’re growing by leaps and bounds and find yourself needing help to manage your sales funnel, it’s time to consider hiring an inside sales agent (ISA).
- Great ISAs don’t need previous real estate experience, but they must have the right sales talents.
When you think about hiring an ISA, make sure you’re hiring a professional salesperson. Don’t let real estate background trump sales experience. It’s crucial to hire someone whose natural talents and motivations are aligned with top performing sales people, rather than someone who knows the industry.
It all comes down to the difference between knowledge and talent.
Knowledge is acquirable. Something that is known can be learned. The specifics of real estate, rules, regulations, trends, specifics and even a license are all things that can be acquired.
Talent, on the other hand, is not something you can acquire by reading a book or through experience; at least not the talents you need to succeed. Those natural traits and attributes a person possesses based on their unique personality and how their mind is wired aren’t things you change, no matter the effort.
These are the four talents your next ISA needs to be awesome at inside sales:
- He or she needs to be very outgoing and extroverted. In the DISC behavioral model, that would mean being a fairly high I (interactive). Being that he or she does all of his or her work over the phone, the ISA needs to have an even higher level of people skills than many other sales roles because he or she doesn’t enjoy the added benefits of body language. Not only does the ISA need to be better at reading someone only through voice, but the task is made harder by not being able to use his or her own animated expressions and movements to help influence the sales discussion.
- He or she needs to be fairly assertive and comfortable being forward, maybe even aggressive. In the same DISC model, this would equate to what’s known as a moderately high D score (decisive). Ideally it should be around 60-70 on the 100-point scale. Too high (like a listing agent) may actually get in the way as he or she won’t deal well with sitting and dialing the phone all day; but too low makes the ISA uncomfortable pushing for the sale, closing, prospecting, etc.
- He or she should be OK with routine and repetitive tasks. Thus, his or her S score (stability) in the DISC profile should be around 60 as well. You won’t find a talented listing agent, hunter-gatherer sales personality able to withstand sitting at a desk on the phone all day.
- He or she can tolerate handling the details. Lastly, and ironically, the best-performing ISA profiles come with their own downside, which is that they aren’t very good with lots of details and minutia. I say ironically because normally there is a higher level of documentation to be found with sales lead and CRM (customer relationship management) software. This ends up being one of the aspects of the job that is never that well-performed or tolerated by the better performing ISAs. They can manage to do it, but they don’t like it.
What’s most important about hiring an ISA is to find someone who loves talking to other people, is very good at reading people over the phone, comes from a traditional sales background (phone sales preferably) and is excellent at converting leads into qualified appointments.
The ISA may not be great at certain aspects of the job, such as documentation, but can knock it out of the park when focused on his or her primary value proposition — selling.
Jay Niblick is the co-founder and president of the real estate technology firm WizeHire.com.