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Everything You Need to Know About ISAs (Licensing)

July 09 2013

This post comes to us from the BoomTown blogBoomTown blog:

So you've decided to switch over to the ISA (Inside Sales Agent) model. Kudos to you! I bet you have some questions about the specifics of it all. Our own BoomTown users have also been asking some very good questions regarding ISAs. I've gathered some insights (from our awesome BoomTown owners!) on the most frequently asked questions in our forum.

Should ISAs Be Licensed?

Agents and Brokers Who Say No

boomtown isa1 1Although ISAs are typically licensed, there are some real estate agents who prefer their ISAs to be unlicensed. Their reasoning is that often times, the consumer just wants a quick answer to a question and then they will be off the phone. If the ISA is not licensed, they have a good reason for transferring the lead to a buyers agent who is better qualified to not only answer their question, but also to steer the conversation toward closing a deal.

A particular broker shared that he would rather have the agents qualify the leads themselves, instead of the ISA. This broker felt that this way the consumer was more likely to step into the physical office, where the agent has a better opportunity to "sell" their company, and in turn, to sell homes.

Agents and Brokers Who Say Yes

Other agents felt that it should be the ISA's role to contact, qualify, and THEN transfer those pre-qualified leads to agents. This way, agents are able to focus their time and energy on the road, showing homes and writing offers. Being licensed may give the ISA a helpful advantage when qualifying leads, as they will be better able to "talk shop" and know exactly what they are talking about.

ISAs Who Say No

An ISA against being licensed said that there is a stark contrast between how a lead responds to an ISA versus an agent. These potential buyers are often bombarded with calls from aggressive agents from however many real estate websites they have registered on, so they tend to be guarded even before any contact is made. They may be predisposed to an adverse reaction if first contacted by an agent.

However, they may loosen up and let their guard down with a good ISA who is not trying to sell them anything, and is not licensed to even have the ability to do so. To that potential buyer, the ISA is just there to help navigate the website and offer some guidance, and is likely to be more trusting of the recommended agent once the ISA does transfer them over.

ISAs Who Say Yes

On the other hand, another ISA shared that in her experience, prospects don't differentiate much between the labels of "ISA" versus "buyers agent." They just want a knowledgeable person to answer their questions and provide guidance. In this particular ISA's state, one is required to be licensed before they can legally answer certain questions. Whether or not an ISA needs to be licensed to discuss real estate specifics will vary from state to state.

The Takeaway

boomtown isa1 2BoomTown users are pretty evenly split on this issue, with a little more that 50% in support of licensed ISAs.

Having an ISA pass the lead to an agent has its pros and cons. It can be a good way for a neutral "middleman" (who is not trying to sell them anything) to introduce the lead to the agent. However, on the flip side, it may come off as if the ISA is not knowledgeable.

Rather than getting hung up over licensing, it is more important to find someone with the right personality and skill set. Limiting candidates based on licensing could mean losing out on a strong candidate with a spectacular skill set. There is always the option of getting licensed in the near future.

An added benefit of any ISA, whether licensed or not, is that they can "sell" the qualities of the agent. Since the ISA has already nurtured and developed a relationship with the prospect, they are more inclined to trust what the ISA has to say about that agent's talents, expertise, personality, specialization of an area, etc.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our ISA series, where we'll discuss tips on ISA training and compensation!

To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blogBoomTown blog.

Other articles of interest: Top Producer IDX | Consumer 2.0: The Empowered User