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What is an ISA in Real Estate? + Do You Need to Use One?

What is an ISA in Real Estate? Don’t say “telemarketer”!

A real estate ISA (Inside Sales Agent) is an individual who works internally to procure sales at a brokerage or team. An inside sales agent may complete cold calling, chase down online leads, and otherwise engage in general prospecting.

Usually, an inside sales agent is part of a much larger team. This team performs all the lead generation for the organization, so the Realtors can concentrate on actually making deals.

The ISA team provides a service for the agents under the brokerage or team, as well — so the brokerage can procure the best Realtor talent.

Let’s take a deeper look at what an ISA is and what an ISA does.

The Many Roles of the ISA

An ISA will usually work on a team with other ISAs. Their goals are simple: find leads, qualify them, and secure them.

To find a real estate lead, an ISA may engage in prospecting tasks such as cold calling. They may look at a list of incoming leads from the organization’s website and perform basic lead qualifications. They may go circle prospecting or try to procure potential clients from existing clients.

Today, a lot of lead generation is actually done through the internet. So, an ISA today might deal with the organization’s social media, respond to direct messages, respond to blog comments, and respond to emails.

Usually, an ISA works within a customer relationship management (CRM) system. This allows ISAs to work together; every ISA that connects with a lead can see the entire history of that lead. When there’s more than one ISA, they need to be able to collaborate.

When leads are found, the ISA’s role is to schedule appointments and follow up with them. The goal of the ISA should be to make sure that each appointment is a qualified appointment; they are there to save the Realtor time.

A woman wearing a headset in front of a computer

So, an ISA might also:

  • Find out where a buyer/seller is on their journey.
  • Determine whether the buyer/seller is serious.
  • Find out whether a buyer already has a prequalification/direct them toward getting one.
  • Take a look at a seller’s house online so they can furnish the information to the agent.

An ISA may also act as a virtual assistant for virtual real estate. A virtual real estate ISA may help organize virtual walkthroughs or schedule virtual meetings. Virtual ISA lead generation is becoming more popular as the technology improves.

Finally, ISAs will follow up before commitment, after commitment, and after the transaction. They will continue their relationship with the individuals they have serviced — to ensure that they had a positive experience. This fosters relationships with the brokerage and improves referrals.

Inside the ISA Team

An inside sales agent works with both their own team and the brokerage’s marketing team. The marketing team creates messaging and pitch decks for the inside sales agent. Then, the inside sales agent directly interacts with the customers. It’s not the ISA’s job to create marketing or branding; it’s only the ISA’s job to sell.

Still, ISAs will frequently work with marketers to create outbound and inbound ISA strategies. Under the direction of the brokerage, ISAs will direct potential clients to the correct real estate agents.

The real estate agents then work to ensure that the clients are properly served.

What determines which real estate agent gets a prospective client? It depends on how the brokerage runs things. Certain agents may have seniority, they may have different niches, or they may have neighborhoods/zipcodes that they serve.

Commonly, listings may be distributed based on how many listings everyone already has — if an agent doesn’t have any listings, they may be given priority.

When someone calls into the brokerage, they will generally be referred to the ISA department first. When referred to the ISA department, they will usually be given to the first available agent; this is where a comprehensive CRM solution comes in.

Small sheets with the word "marketing" surrounded by related words

Outbound vs. Inbound ISA Marketing

Outbound marketing includes telemarketing, physical mailers, and paid advertising. Inbound marketing includes social media, email, and phone calls.

ISAs are incredibly important for a real estate agency because they are the first interaction may buyers and sellers will have with that agency.

ISAs may call FSBO homeowners and other prospective sellers, referring them to the appropriate listing agent. They may also take calls from prospective sellers or buyers, qualifying them and then forwarding them. When a client comes in, the ISA may ask who referred them — there may be a referring agent or a referring marketing channel.

Both inbound and outbound ISA marketing are important, but inbound tends to be more valuable. Inbound sellers/buyers have already essentially qualified themselves — they are known to be interested and motivated. Comparatively, outbound calling may take more time to secure leads.

Hiring an ISA Company

Not every real estate business has its own internal team for lead generation. Some companies instead choose to hire an ISA company. An ISA company is an outsourced sales team that works to procure the organization’s potential clients.

A real estate ISA company will perform the same functions as an internal ISA, finding new leads, performing lead qualifications, and ultimately helping each client commit. Companies may find that they can save money by outsourcing their outbound ISA rather than trying to manage it with their own team.

Critically, an ISA company generally gives you some form of exclusivity over their contracts in a specific area, such as through zipcode. This ensures that your outsourced team is performing outbound calls and cold calls only for your organization.

A man on the phone looking at a computer. What is an isa in real estate involves generating leads

Becoming an ISA

An ISA doesn’t need to go through advanced real estate training, but they will need basic ISA training to become a better salesperson.

Anyone who has been in a professional sales role should be able to successfully transition into a role as an ISA. An ISA will need to know:

  • What makes a qualified lead well-qualified.
  • How to best match clients with products and agents.
  • What methods of sales have worked best with past clients.
  • The basics of the local real estate market and industry.

There are courses available for those who want to learn to become an ISA. While the skills used are generally sales-based skills, an ISA also needs to know at least a little about the real estate market.

They may not need to know how to close a transaction, but they and their team will need to know the major talking points about the current market.

How Much Does an ISA Make?

The average ISA can actually make more than the average real estate agent!

This is because the average ISA will always be a full-time position, whereas many real estate agents don’t work full-time or may even work seasonally.

On average, an ISA will make between $60,000 to $80,000. ISAs work on salary, unlike Realtors, which means they do make their money more consistently. Comparatively, a new sales agent may only make $30,000 to $40,000 annually.

ISAs get bonus commissions based on the sales they make. This can be considerable, depending on the broker. Like any sales team, ISAs make more money the more they sell.

And they don’t even need to complete the real estate transaction themselves.

Because ISAs can make a considerable amount of money, it can be an excellent job choice for those who enjoy the fast-paced environment of real estate sales but don’t want the volatility of being a real estate agent.

FAQs on What Is An ISA in Real Estate?

Does every broker have ISAs?

Internal sales divisions are one of the major advantages of working with a broker. But not every broker does have an ISA or marketing team. Smaller brokers may only have individual Realtors who follow up on their own leads.

A man talking on a phone and writing in a notepad. What is an isa in real estate involves qualifying leads

What’s the difference between an ISA and a telemarketer?

An ISA can actually fulfill many roles, not just cold calling. They also manage inbound calls and inbound leads. Then, they qualify those leads and conduct the lead follow-up. The right ISA greatly reduces the amount of work Realtors need to do.

Who should become an ISA?

An ISA is an excellent role for someone who wants to get into the real estate industry but is not interested in becoming a real estate agent. It can also be a first step at a brokerage for someone currently working on their Realtor license.

Can a real estate agent be their own ISA?

A lot of real estate agents act as their own “ISA”; they schedule appointments, qualify leads, and engage in lead conversion. But that’s not to say that every agent perfectly replicates the skill set of an ISA. ISAs tend to be aggressive, confident, and persuasive. More than even real estate, the role of an ISA team is direct sales.

Is an ISA a marketer?

An ISA operates independently from the “marketing team” at an organization. The marketing team is the team that comes up with the organization’s branding and advertising. An ISA is a salesperson, someone who takes marketing decks from the advertising team and speaks directly to the customer.

Kyle Handy

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