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Downfalls of the Real Estate ISA (And How to Avoid Them)

real estate CRM

The ISA role can skyrocket productivity and help your team generate more leads, schedule more appointments and free up agents to focus on their core business. That is, if you hire the right person for the job and if you have the right onboarding, training, technology, expectations and processes in place.

It can be daunting! But, here are the top 5  potential downfalls for the ISA role and how you and your business can prevent them. 

Lead Generation Real Estate Plan

Not hiring the right type of ISA for your team’s needs

Opinions run the gamut on what personality type is best for the ISA role, but the most important factor is the personality type that will work for your team and your unique needs and office culture. There’s a lot that rests on hiring the right ISA for your team! 


Here are the basics:

  • You need candidates that are comfortable with the rigors of cold calling since most ISAs spend 80-90% of their day on the phone.
  • This hire needs to be sales-oriented, work quickly, and be skilled at communicating your team’s value.
  • A people person! This person is often the first touch a prospect has with your brand as all incoming leads are automatically assigned to them for immediate follow-up and scrubbing.

Some teams break the role into either Outbounds ISAs or Inbound ISAs. The thinking is that certain personality types are better suited to each role (i.e. Outbound ISAs should be more driven to make cold calls, and Inbound ISAs should be more customer-service-oriented and skilled at building relationships.)

  • Outbound ISAs generate new leads by prospecting for FSBOs, expired listings, just listed/sold, COI, past clients, geographic farms, etc.
  • Inbound ISAs respond to incoming leads from internet sources and sign calls and nurture them into qualified appointments.

Here’s a sample ISA job description to get you started on the right track.

Real Estate Lead Generation

Not onboarding your ISA correctly

While it may seem as simple as “Pick up phone. Dial. Repeat.” Getting your ISA up and running is a really important step in making sure they’re successful. Unfortunately, many managers fall  victim to the idea that onboarding only involves a schedule for the first week and meeting the team. It’s much more than that! Consider the first 100 days as the entire ISA onboarding experience.

Here’s what your ISA onboarding curriculum should include:

  • Team introductions
  • scripts
  • tracking sheets
  • reporting forms
  • Tech training for your CRM and other systems
  • Regular meetings and check-ins
  • Goals and milestones
  • suggested reading (things like: The ONE Thing, The 17 indisputable laws of teamwork, etc.)

Now here’s a way to break it down for the first few months and beyond:

First 30 days:

  • Team member meetings and introductions (meet with each 1×1 and allow to shadow)Attend regular Sales Meeting
  • Watch company and/or team videos
  • Like and follow company social media accounts
  • Script training: create and practice
  • 2 days/week role play with Sales Manager and other ISA
  • Meet with lender partner to understand the lending process
  • Schedule training and shadowing appointments with buyer specialist, transaction coordinator, etc.

Intense training on team systems and toolslike BoomTown, Mojo dialer, Dotloop, etc. As well as calendar invites, and email.

60-90 days

  • Navigate through all scripts and objections with ease
  • Continue attending team meetings and trainings
  • Introduce a business coach or mentor and schedule dedicated time
  • Begin supervised outreach and prospecting efforts
  • Role play open house scripts and schedule time to shadow open house
  • Pull MLS agent report for open house and learn how to read
  • Call surrounding neighbors for open house

System training: CRM training should be continued and built upon. How to register someone, transfer leads, update status in the CRM and log notes. Introduction to automated marketing and drip campaigns should also begin. The right CRM will have training opportunities and support to cover all aspects of the system.


90 days and on

  • Continue regular role-playing and script practice
  • Begin unsupervised prospecting, etc.
  • Evaluate appointment tracking, call performance, and set up standards to maintain accountability
  • Create monthly and weekly goals for calls, appointments, etc.
  • Continue systems training (for software platforms like BoomTown, etc.)
  • Maintain monthly team meetings and mentor calls
  • Continuing education: consider conferences, webinars and other resources to continue sharpening skillsets

Lead Generation Plan

Not providing the right technology and tools for your ISA 

Power the productivity of the ISA role. Give them a system that allows for effective automated nurture campaigns, a prioritized list of daily to-dos, the power to bulk email, autodial, and text prospects, and a way to track and report their calls, contacts, and daily activities.


Marketing Automation & Predictive Technology for ISAs

Your ISA needs to be able to employ automated email marketing campaigns, have the ability to sort and sift the database to tailor the audience for each campaign, and track metrics to measure performance and effectiveness. These are incredible time savers and can help them reach the right prospects with laser-like precision. Not to mention, with the right system, the predictive nature of the technology can even tell them exactly how to prioritize their day.


Autodialers for ISA Prospecting

Autodialers, or power dialers, can add real oomph to prospecting time. (Especially if they’re integrated directly into the CRM so the ISA can work that database with incredible precision.)


A Platform for Growing the Business

The combination of the ISA role and a multi-purpose platform that provides powerful lead generation with smart technology to simplify the lead management process creates more valuable conversations for the ISA and ultimately more closings for your team.


Real Estate Lead Generation

Not perfecting the ISA/Agent hand-off

As much as the ISA role is a benefit to your agent’s productivity and efficiency, if there are not clear rules around who “owns” the lead in each scenario, trouble and tension can arise. Transferring the lead from the ISA to the agent needs to operate as smoothly as possible.

Here’s a solid order of events for the ISA:  

  1. Schedule the appointment
  2. Send an email to the agent that makes them aware of the new addition to the calendar
  3. Alert the client that they will be meeting with AGENT’s Name, and what to expect
  4. Confirm the appointment
  5. Keep the agent accountable even after the transfer


It’s usually best when  the ISA still maintains co-accountability for the lead. The ISA can add “to-dos” in the system even when the lead has moved over to the agent’s account so in order to check-in with the agent and keep the momentum going.

Having a script for the ISA to follow can help make sure they stay consistent. It can include messaging as simple as “since I handle the customer service side, you’ll meet with X who will show you the property. I’ll follow up afterwards and see how it went!”

Maintaining accountability and a healthy working relationship between agents and ISA is as simple has having a clear leader in place. ISAs work hard hitting the phones and scoring appointments, but not all will be qualified, and this can frustrate agents. It’s important to keep everyone communicating and working together so agents can coach the ISA if there’s a problem.

Real Estate Lead Generation

Not compensating an ISA correctly

An ISA with an appropriate compensation strategy is a motivated ISA, and an ISA without appropriate compensation is, well…not. Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all answer on  how to compensate your ISA. There are several winning approaches however that you can choose from for your particular team. Here are some of the strategies and  hybrid compensation models that have helped teams see success.


Hybrid ISA: Salary + Commission

The most popular and effective pay structure tends to revolve around a low salary plus 5-15% commission. ISAs enjoy a base pay, but are motivated towards their appointment-setting goals with a stake of the commission once a property has reached the closing.


Hybrid ISA variation: Hourly Rate + Bonus

Another variation is an hourly rate, plus a flat dollar amount per pre-qualified appointment. Keep in mind, that if you’re compensating solely based off the appointments set, or a similar metric, you might not be motivating for the long term. You want to make sure you’re getting your ISAs invested in getting the deal to the finish line, so compensating them off of closings in some manner (bonus or percentage) may be better.


Commission ISA: Commission-Only Compensation

Some teams have seen success with a commission-only compensation structure. Commission-based ISAs may cherry-pick the “now” buyers, and as with most commission-only jobs, turnover is much higher and can cost you in the long run.

While these are the top pitfalls for the ISA role, of course as with any hiring/training/compensation strategy, you’ll need to make sure this is customized to fit your unique business needs and to complement the personality and style of your ISA. While it’s important to create solid goals and continue to work towards them, don’t consider them written in stone if something is not working!