Are you having trouble finding quality leads? Or conversely, do you have so many leads that it’s impossible to contact and qualify them all? If so, hiring an inside sales person may be the solution to your problems.
A dedicated inside sales person can man the phones, contacting and qualifying incoming leads or cold-calling property owners to find off-market deals. However, you don’t want to bring on just anybody as your inside sales lead. Like hiring for any job, there is a specific process you want to follow to screen out the duds and only hire the most qualified individual.
Dale Archdekin, who has 10 years of experience selling and investing in residential real estate, is an expert at coaching and training real estate investors on building high-quality inside sales team. In our recent conversation, he provided his three step process for recruiting, interviewing and training candidates for a real estate inside sales team.
Step 1 – Recruitment
Like any hiring process, the first step is recruitment. And lucky for you, the internet allows you to complete this step with relative ease. When Dale needs to hire a new inside sales person, he simply posts advertisements on the popular job recruitment websites. “Just running different ads. Using Indeed, using ZipRecruiter, using anything that you have, pushing the ads out there just like any other job ad,” he said.
To maximize the number of potential candidates, Dale recommends that you do not only advertise for individuals with prior real estate experience. Instead, your ideal candidate only requires a background in any type of sales. He said, “That’s the one secret that I’ve figured out. A lot of teams get hung up on trying to find somebody who’s already licensed [as an agent], and in some states, there’s some very heavy requirements around actually getting a license. So, what we do is we look for people that just have sales experience, because we can teach them about the real estate process.” Dale finds that it’s difficult to teach sales skills, but learning the real estate process is much easier for most people to grasp.
Prior to conducting long-form phone or in-person interviews, in order to simplify the hiring process, Dale has interested candidates send in a verbal audition. “What you want to do is you want to get as many inquires as you can coming in, and then you want to streamline your process,” he said. “I prefer to have people calling to a phone number and leave a voicemail about themselves. I’ll just have an outgoing message that says something like ‘Okay, give me your name and your best phone number to reach you at, and then in your own words, tell my why you are the best fit for our inside sales department and why you are a sales rockstar?’.”
Once Dale receives the verbal audition, his team reviews the recording and determines if the candidate is worth pursuing further. This verbal audition approach will save you a lot of time. You don’t have to read through a bunch of resumes. Moreover, since the majority of their job will be spent on the phone, you can get a good idea of their communication style too.
Step 2 – Interview Qualified Candidates
The candidates that the pass the audition phase will move forward to step two of the hiring process, which is a role play over the phone. The first portion of the phone call is answering the standard questions about the job – pay, location, and responsibilities. Once the candidate has an understanding of the job and are okay with the fact that they will be on the phone for over six hours per day, the role play begins. Dale said he will tell the candidate, “I’ve sent you a for-sale-by-owner script. You’re going to be the agent and I’m going to be the for-sale-by-owner. You have to set up an appointment with me. And the only way that you fail this exercise is if you let me off the phone before you ask all of the questions on the script.” In particular, they need to ask the two most important question, which are “are you interested in selling your property at this time and can we schedule an appointment to discuss this further?” When a lead comes in or when cold calling a lead, Dale’s main outcome is to determine if the lead is worth investing time in. So, if the candidate doesn’t achieve this outcome on the roleplay, they fail the interview.
The role play recreates the actual situation the candidate will be in if they are hired, so this approach will indicate if they are the right fit for the job. “If I give you explicit instructions that if you let me off the phone you fail, and you let me off the phone because you didn’t want to be too rough on me, you fail,” he said. “If you can’t do it when I specifically tell you not to get off the phone, you sure aren’t going to do it once I give you the job and I’m not listening all the time.”
Also, Dale said, “most of these people have zero real estate sales experience. So, going through that script with them … tells us what the level of sales skill they have. Because somebody with more sales skills can basically BS you through anything that they haven’t sold before. They will stay on the phone with you and they will set up an appointment with you even if they’re selling 3D laser prints and they have no idea what that is.”
If the candidate asks the money questions and passes the roleplay, Dale invites them into the office for a three-hour calling session. He said, “for the first hour or so, we teach them the script, and for the next two hours, we put them onto a recorded line and have them make real outbound calls to real consumers. Then we get to listen to that and see how they actually did.”
After making it through the entire process, which includes the verbal audition, roleplay and real phone calls to leads, Dale has enough information to make an educated decision on whether or not he should offer this individual a position.
Step 3 – Training
Once a candidate is hired, they are put through a training process. For Dale, he wants his inside sales person to be like an agent, so they are taught everything on which an actually agent would be trained. During this training, he said they’ll learn things like “How does the process work, how does financing work, mindset, time-blocking, understanding the types of leads that they’re calling and receiving, what the mindset of those leads that they’re calling and receiving, and then scripting.”
However, what Dale doesn’t want are robots that never deviate from the script. Scripts are to get them started and for them to have something to say when they call somebody. But at that point, Dale wants his sales people to use his three core principles – experience, process and outcome – to guide the conversation. He said, “For any person who’s trying to do anything or who’s objecting to you, that person has some type of experience that they’re drawing from [and] they’ve created a process in their mind that they think is going to get them an outcome that they’re trying to achieve. If you can ask enough questions to understand what their experience is, how they put that process together and what the outcome is and what it means to them, you can show them a different process that can get them to a better, faster, cheaper or easier outcome, and then you can say ‘Would you like that?’.”
Here is an example: You are speaking to a for-sale-by-owner and they say “My neighbor sold their home by themselves. They didn’t use an agent, which saved them a lot of money. I’m going to sell the house myself without an agent and I’m going to save a lot of money too.” So, an inside sales person needs to identify their experience, process and outcome. In this example, the experience is “my neighbor sold his house without an agent.” The process is “I am going to sell my house without an agent too.” And the outcome is “I want to save a lot of money.” Now that the three principles have been identified, the goal is to offer a different process that accomplishes the same or better outcome. A simple response would be “Hey, you’re absolutely right. You totally could sell this home yourself, and that’s great that your neighbor did that too. If I could show you how I could not only net you more money that it costs you to hire me and make this easier for you to do, would you consider meeting with me to discuss potentially listing your home with me?”
Who would say no to that?
How Much Do You Pay an Inside Sales Person?
It is important to understand the cost of having an inside sales team in order to determine if it is affordable. Dale pays his sales people around $2,000 to $2,500 a month as a base salary.
Since he is acquiring leads with the purpose of becoming the listing agent, his sales people are also paid percentage of the commission on a closing at the end of sale – between 5% and 10% of the gross commission income. On average, depending on the market, Dale pays between $60,000 and $120,000 annually.
Depending on your business model, your pay or bonus structure may differ – hourly, strictly commission-based, etc.
A great inside sales person will help you screen, qualify, and find high-quality leads. The three-step process for hiring this team member is:
- Recruiting – posting ads online and obtaining a verbal audition
- Interview – phone roleplay and in-person calling session
- Training – teaching the experience, process, and outcome principles
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