In part 1 of this story, we established that inside sales departments are not cheap. They are an investment in the team, and like any investment you are putting out money to make more money. In this situation, it is with the goal of connecting with more leads to sell more houses.

Who would make an ideal inside sales agent (ISA)? Experience is an asset in most cases, but when looking for a good match, there are things that you should weigh more heavily. You want to be very comfortable with your DISC personalities when looking to hire anyone on your team. Your ISA should be a type “I” personality – these are the influencers, the talkers, or an “S” personality – these are the steady, consistent, relationship builders. They should match the “I” or “S” with a “D” – dominate, or a combination of “I” and “S” may be possible. The backing of the “D” personality will be the one who books the most appointments, whereas the “S” personality will book the most follow ups.

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At the end of the year, their numbers would ultimately be the same for appointments set. You need someone who is hardworking and has proven phone experience. You would look for the best cold caller or telemarketer. You need someone reliable, but it’s especially important here, because you need to be able to leave them to go their job and only “check-in” once in a while. You hired the best and should leave them to it, for the most part. Finally, this role does need to be licensed, but if you are able to get the world’s best telemarketer and they can prove it, the easy part is getting them licensed.

How to compensate:

Every team, every leader and every agent is a different situation, but as a general overview, here’s an idea of a compensation structure for your inside sales department. During the first stage, generally during training, your ISA would make a base salary or an hourly wage and percentage commission per transaction. They would stay at this stage until they can complete one deal for two months consecutively.

The next stage is usually reached in the third month. This is an increase hourly and in commission per transaction. To move to the next stage, they need to complete two deals in a month, for two months consecutively. This stage would offer a bonus to make up the difference of the hourly wage.

The third and final stage is more per hour with another increase in commission, when they complete three deals per month. This stage also offers a bonus for reaching the goals, both individually and as a department, but it is higher than the one in the second stage and to achieve the same goal of making up the difference of the hourly wage.

How many leads?

There are four factors to consider regarding the number of leads needed to keep your ISA busy. First, look to the cost of leads. You want the low cost or forgotten leads for your ISA. They’re a month old, outside sales agents won’t be calling them, so your options are to give them to the ISA or forget about them entirely.

Second, look at the conversion. Your ISA should be converting better than your outside sales agent, because your ISA is an expert. Third, the amount of supply needs to be high. You need to keep the phone going. Your ISA will never leave at the end of the day with a job done – there will always be more calls to make tomorrow. Fourth, your ISA is a long-term solution. They will get appointments from last week, from last month or from last year.

Not every call, every day, or every appointment will be a glowing success, but when you do make money off of the low-cost ads, that benefits the team in a big way. You need to be ready to support the department and streamline the role with proper scripts and training, and then let it do its thing – call people, book appointments and make money.

Inside sales is a science. The top inside sales departments in Canada book thousands of face-to-face appointments per year, with hundreds of deals resulting from their departments. This role, done right, is THE game changer to take a team to a powerful organization with increased profits, retention and residual income. Teams that were built using these systems now have more than 60 to 70 per cent of transactions coming from this trusted source. The power of ISA is difficult to ignore.


  1. Tim, I’ve never understood why the training courses never ever spoke to this issue in any absolute manner. And it is an issue. But I suppose it is also just my personal opinion. Not to sound rude or uncaring, but as a client I simply don’t care where you work, what your last T4 stated as earned taxable income, how old your car is, what your credit cards are owed or what your car payment is (but don’t go out and buy a new one after getting an offer accepted on a house, whatever you do). I only want to know the price range of houses we should choose together to view, and that you QUALIFY to make an acceptable offer and not waste my time or that of a seller who is so pleased to know you love their home and want to buy it.

    The question you posed caused me to recall a newbie middle-age woman when I worked at a corp office for years prior to opening my own boutique agency… I could scarcely believe the effort she put into digging deep into a would-be client’s personal information and then leave her files lying loose in closing rooms or on her open concept bullpen desk for all and sundry to see when passing by her paper piled high desk adjacent to the washroom door.

    And of course her phone conversations could be heard loud and clear. Since the manager apparently didn’t feel he should interfere, I quietly mentioned to her in private that to have a successful career, the first thing she needed to do was to surround herself by a team of support experts, freeing up her time to help clients choose a house to buy. One they could afford. There was even an in-house trust co mortgage broker.

    She thanked me and very soon left her sales career, to become a real estate brokerage manager, elsewhere.

    Yes, it’s taught and even recommended that agents prequalify buyers, but many don’t, instead so excited to make multiple offers on properties only to discover their buyers couldn’t get the financing, What’s wrong with that picture that’s prolific in the industry?

    From the ISA perspective phone canvasser, wouldn’t it be so much easier and less threatening to offer an appointment opportunity to book an hour’s time to meet with a mortgage broker rather than an agent?

    You might want to consider setting up that kind of ISA system right within the mortgage cold-calling business? Or run an ad suggesting no pressure to stop by the office to discuss if perhaps they are just thinking about buying or even investing; or even just refinancing. An opportunity for a reverse-referral (to a specializing REALTOR(r)?)

    Carolyne L ?

  2. I’m curious to know your thoughts on integrating a mortgage broker into the ISA process. Before booking an appointment with a Realtor, having them pre-qualified with a mortgage broker first (so not to waste the time of the Realtor with an unqualified client). Thoughts?

    • Hi Tim,

      Thank you for your question. I thought I had replied to this when posted. I recommend having a strong set of questions to sift and sort who to meet with. If the call is very warm, ask about pre-approval, if they request info on financing connect them, but anything else, you want to deal with it in person.

      I hope that helps! Happy Calling Tim


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