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Please enjoy the following video from an interview we did with Lance Loken and Tim Heyl on building an inside sales agent team. Although both have come a long way even since this video, the basic principles should be considered when beginning a build of ISA’s.
Lori Ballen: All right. What we’ll start off by doing is I want to give you guys the floor to do a little bit of introduction and tell us a little bit about who you are and how long you’ve been in real estate and, if you could, maybe what your team and even what your production looks like today. Lance, why don’t we go ahead and start with you.
Lance Loken: This is Lance Loken. We’re part of the Loken Group with Keller Williams. We have a team here in the Houston, Texas, market covering all 9 counties of the Houston market. 3rd year of business, we’ve done $84 million this past year. We did $6.8 in January and we’ll do $10m in February. Closed 488 units last year. Have a team of 15 people. We currently have two ISAs and we’re going to be hiring two more.
Lori Ballen: That’s all? You’d better get busy. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Tim, let’s go ahead and have you do your introduction.
Tim Heyl: All right. Tim Heyl here in Austin, Texas. Last year was my 4th year. We did a million and a half in 2013 and this year we are on track to ideally double that. We’ll see. We’re only in the second month, so it’s hard to tell where we’re at, but we’re definitely pacing much greater sales than we did last year. I think we’ve 13 people; four of those people are ISAs and we are just now in the process of hiring a virtual ISA as well.
Lori Ballen: Amazing. What year did you say you were in Tim?
Tim Heyl: Last year was my 4th year. This is my 5th year.
Lori Ballen: Okay. You’re just going into your 5th year. And Lance, you’re going into your 4th?
Lance Loken: 4th year, yes.
Lori Ballen: Amazing. Really quick. Lance, what do you believe is the one thing that really launched you into this high volume as fast as you did?
Lance Loken: Switching from buyers to listings and then switching from listings to builders. Now this year, it will be radio.
Lori Ballen: Did you switch or did you add? Did eliminate those things or did you add to those things?
Lance Loken: Add. The first year was buyers, working with buyers. The 2nd year, added the listing side of the business. 3rd year, added a builder. 4th year, we’re focused on radio.
Lori Ballen: Tim. Same question. Is there one big thing that really launched you into where you are today, that rapid growth?
Tim Heyl: Just being dedicated to prospecting for listing leads every day. My first 3 to 3 and a half years straight just being dedicated to lead generation every morning. It’s something that I never gave up on or never backed down from, just day after day after day making those calls and just keeping it focused on setting listing appointments. Honestly, it was kind of like one day I opened my eyes and I had a really really big business, but I wasn’t doing anything differently. I was still just chugging away every morning at generating listing leads, setting listing appointments.
Lori Ballen: So lead generation for both off you, regardless of the source, regardless of what you’re going after?
Tim Heyl: Right.
Lance Loken: Absolutely.
Lori Ballen: Just because I know people don’t always stay on till the very end, I want to give you guys a chance to … Just because you’re really helping us out here today answer some of our questions, give you a chance really quick, before we move any forward, to tell people how they can find you for referrals. And if there’s anything you want to tell them about before we get into our questions. Lance, why don’t we start with you? Where do we find you?
Lance Loken: We’re with thelokengroup.com. We cover all 9 counties of the Houston Metropolitan area. The radio has really helped us enhance that plus we’ve regionalized our business, so that we have buyer agents in all regions of Houston and we can handle anybody there.
Lori Ballen: Okay. Great. Tim, how about you? What do you want us to know about you?
Tim Heyl: We’re here in Central Texas: Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Dripping Springs, all over Central Texas, everything around Austin … heylrealestate.com is our website, h-e-y-lrealestate.com. Love referrals.
Lori Ballen: Okay, great. I did also on the little post that I put together, the link I’m going to send everybody out, I did include a linkback to both of your websites as well, just in case anybody wants to find you after the fact to thank you and to send you guys referrals.
Tim Heyl: Thank you Lori.
Lori Ballen: Tim, don’t you have an upcoming course on this, on ISAs?
Tim Heyl: Yes, we’ve got a course coming up. It’s called Leverage Lead Gen. It’s with MAPS coaching, so if you go to the MAPS coaching website, you can sign up for it. I believe we’re about half way through the first time around and it’s going pretty well. I was sick for the last call, but all in all it’s going really really well. We’ve got the link to sign up for the next time around which I believe is in a couple of weeks. Maybe it starts in 1 week or 2 weeks. Go there. It’s $99 a month for 3 months. We cover, I think, it’s 16 1-hour calls for 300 bucks. We basically go over probably what we’re going to talk about today, just in …
Lori Ballen: Depth.
Tim Heyl: Right, today we’ll talk about it at a high level. In the course, we’ll spend an hour on each topic, really diving in deep and getting into some of the systems and processes.
Lori Ballen: Right. Tim, I know that you have some additional materials and things like that they get if they sign up for the coaching program as well, that they won’t get today.
Tim Heyl: Yeah. We’ve got … I think Lance is going to pass out on his call a lot of good stuff. I was looking through it. It’s amazing. First 100 Days and some scripts and stuff. We’ve got the same stuff and it’s all packaged up for that class. It’s scripts, first 100 day plans, tracking sheets, reporting forms and all kinds of good stuff, job requisitions for ISAs, training manuals. I don’t even know all the stuff, but basically every course has something different. It’s a good course. I think people are giving us a lot of a good feedback. They’re getting a lot of good value out of it. Love for anybody who’s interested to learn more about inside sales and things that we’re doing to grow our business through prospecting and lead generation, to sign up for that, for sure.
Lori Ballen: Tim, they don’t have to be a KW agent to sign up for that, do they?
Tim Heyl: No, they don’t.
Lori Ballen: You know what I’ll do, I’ll find the link for the coaching program and I’ll post it on this post that we’re going to send out to everybody, so if they do want to sign up for the MAX coaching program, they’ll be able to access it from this follow up.
Tim Heyl: That’s excellent. Thanks for doing that.
Lori Ballen: Yeah, okay. Somebody asked on here … I’m monitoring the questions. They just asked again about slides, and guys we don’t have slides. This is just an interview call. It’s just a conversation, not a presentation. Lance was kind enough in advance to send us some scripts and 100 day training and an ISA contract that you guys … I’m following up this webinar with that link that has all that, so you guys don’t need to have anything right this moment. Your follow-up will have that. I’ll do just a quick introduction. I’m Lori Ballen, and I’m in Los Vegas with the Ballen Group specializing in the Summerlin area. Been in real estate also 3 years, growing not just a real estate team. I have several companies that I’m building. We’re actually using … getting into inside sales agents for our multiple businesses, not just for real estate, so there’s a reason why I’m a little more compelled to find out about the nitty gritty of this because I think it applies to multiple businesses, not real estate. Anything that requires lead conversion at a high level, I believe inside sales agents could provide a very high level of service in conversions, if not, also in lead generating, which we’ll talk about.
I do want to invite you guys all to check out my new referral network. You can find that at allstaragentnetwork.com. That’s allstaragentnetwork.com. You guys should get in there, get your bios listed, get your cities listed, your counties. You can put a video in there, live links, social media links. We’re using my reach and my network to get you guys referrals going back and forth, so you’ll want to make sure that you register for that. I am going to monitor the questions, but I’m going to let these guys talk as much as possible. That’s who we’re here to find out. I’m going to ask some questions first. Then I’m going to let you guys come in and add questions. As I see them, if they come up, if they’re appropriate, I’ll go ahead and add them. The first thing I’d like to know from both of you … Lance, we’ll start with you again. I’d like to know when you felt it was time to hire inside sales agents? What was it that you first heard or discovered or what was happening in your business that made you realize you needed to add these?
Lance Loken: I kind of fell in upon this whole process because when I first got into the business, I did not want to lead generate, nor was I good at it. My wife had gotten me into the business, and so she basically was my ISA from day 1. She was the one the that made all the listing appointments for me and followed up with them afterwards and confirmed the appointments. Just about 2 years ago is when we got into that. Then we had another person that took over, which was Kari Lichman. Kari, then, she took over the process from Karina and built the business and again handled all my listing appointments. Then this past year, we hired two ISAs to replace Kari because Kari got promoted, so we have Sara [Marso 00:10:57] and Josh [Bontrager 00:10:59]. Those two are now adding the buyer side to the business to the lead generation, so now all of the leads go into the ISAs, whether they’re buyer leads or listing leads. We made that transformation around October.
Lori Ballen: Okay. Let me go back a second. Let’s do this first, just so that everybody on the call understands what we’re defining an inside sales agent. Tim, how would you define an inside sales agent?
Tim Heyl: To define an inside sales agent? It’s someone who-
Lori Ballen: Yeah. What is it? Who are they?
Tim Heyl: It’s somebody who … What we’re starting to find out in Texas … Pretty much needs to be licensed. It’s a big gray area, but to stay on the cautious side, you probably want to have them licensed, but inside sales meaning they are inside your office or inside the company. They’re not out in the field. They’re not client facing, so they’re not [inaudible 00:12:01] visually in front of a buyer or a seller. They’re strictly on the phones or on the computer taking inbound leads, like Lance said, or making outbound calls to get to generate leads and set appointments for our outside sales people, which are license realtors, for sure.
Lance Loken: To just interject there Lori, we do the exact same thing. Everybody on our team is licensed, so just like Tim’s talking about, they definitely need to be licensed agents, or at least I agree with Tim that they should be.
Lori Ballen: Okay. Lance, you’ve been using yours just since October?
Lance Loken: No. We’ve been using ISAs for a little over two years. We added the buyer side of the business in October.
Lori Ballen: Got you. So they were generating for sellers.
Lance Loken: Before October, the buyer agents were handling their own leads and then the ISAs were generating all the listing appointments or the listing leads for us. Then in October, all of the leads that came in, whether they be sign calls, internet leads, anything related to the buyers or the sellers, they all go through the ISAs first. I think Tim does the exact same thing.
Lori Ballen: Go ahead Tim. How long have you had yours?
Tim Heyl: It came about. I wish I would have done what Lance did. Lance, you started out more like a business owner than just a realtor. I started out just doing it all myself and then it sort of just naturally came about as we were getting bigger and bigger. We had more listings, which meant we had more people and I was stretched so thin, that I got to the point that I’m still making my calls, I’m not sacrificing on that, but I’d always been sacrificing on something. I talk about this all the time with my team, the fear of chaos, that Gary talks about in the one thing … The reason people … One of the big differences between, I think, people who succeed at a high level and people who don’t is that fear of chaos. The fear of all the things that aren’t going to get [inaudible 00:14:12]. You [devote 00:14:13] so much of your time to your one thing. Most people, I think, give into chaos and just handle it.
People that are successful at a high level just let it be chaos and they embrace it. They don’t give into it. That’s something that I did, but eventually got to the point where it was just overwhelming the amount of chaos and I’m still pedal to the medal, [inaudible 00:14:42] generation, so it just kind of came naturally that if I could bring somebody else who could lead generate with me, I could cut my time from four hours down to two, then I could also have a little bit of extra time freed up to run the rest of the business. That was about a year and a half ago. Then eventually that person got really good. I say eventually, probably three months, four months in, I stopped making calls altogether and they were full-time outbound. [inaudible 00:15:14] Just calling expired versus buying owners. Just generating listing appointments, which is what I was doing before.
About three to six months later, I was … One of the things that was taking up a lot of my time was managing buyer agents, which I really had 1 guy that was [purposing 00:15:35] consistently. Then I had a bunch of other buyer agents that would come and go. Just not really … Maybe do one deal, but really it was. I was [inaudible 00:15:45] spinning my wheels really, trying to manage buyer agents into lead generating. What I realized was it just wasn’t worth my time anymore. I went to the one guy that was producing and I just said, “Look, things are constantly [inaudible 00:16:01] is, you’ll lead generate for a little bit, but when you get busy, what’s happening is your pipeline, all these leads are just getting, they’re not being managed, they’re not being nurtured the way they need to be because you’re busy out there in the field.
What I’m proposing is that we just take away all of these inbound leads and take away your pipeline, and I’ll have somebody just manage it full-time. That’s all they’re going to do. Think of them like an assistant. Instead of paying 50%, we’re going to pay you 40%. That’s just your cost to not have to deal with this lead gen. You and I don’t have to sit here and have this conversation everyday anymore. You can go out and be a buyer agent, go sell real estate like you got into this business for. He immediately smiled and high fived me and said, “Let’s do it.”
We went and hired another ISA. We didn’t even call it an ISA until now, we started saying, “Okay, well what type of person are we looking for?” That’s when we went out. We originally hired somebody just to work with these buyer leads, but eventually, we had them lead generating for listing as well.
That’s how the first one evolved, and then the second one. Now we’re at four. Like Lance’s, they’re working both buyers and sellers, although, long term intention is to split those up. We can talk more about that too.
Lance Loken: Lori, I completely agree with Tim. We’re going to be splitting them up as well. Tim and I talked about this and the buyers need more cultivation versus the listing side, which needs somebody very direct, get the approach, get it on the market. [crosstalk 00:17:41].
Lori Ballen: Yeah. Are you guys noticing the difference … Are you two real behavioral? You guys know the disk in the AVA or no?
Tim Heyl: Yeah. Lance and I talked about this a little bit at reunion. Basically, if you split them up you got seekers and you got cultivators. A seeker is somebody who you want just outbounding, generating leads all day long. Typically you’re buyer leads are going to come from marketing, signs, and internet campaigns and things like that. That’s more of a cultivator, somebody who can take leads that are already generated and just cultivate them, nurture them over time. You need somebody like an IS or a high vector-3, high vector-2 type of person. Whereas a seeker, somebody who’s generating listing leads, somebody who’s just generating leads in general. I don’t care if they’re listing or buyers, if their job is to generate them out of nothing, then they need to be, they really need to have a high vector-1 or a high-D, or at least some level of D, if they’re going to be doing that consistently over time.
Lori Ballen: Here’s my thoughts and here is what I’m hearing and you guys are confirming where my thoughts have already been. Originally, an MREA, in the Millionaire Real Estate Agent Model, the model consisted of call coordinator, lead coordinator, and the telemarketer. You had somebody … In 2012, I think is when we got into internet lead coordinators, now we have lead coordinators that are really … That are called that but are more web based. That are taking those incoming internet leads and putting them on campaigns, and lead cultivations systems. I’m sorry, I meant 2012 is the first time I think I heard the term inside sales agent. Lead coordinators have been around for awhile.
So you’re lead coordinator is somebody that’s systematic, they’re detail oriented, they’re on the computer all day long, right? That was in the original model. Then the telemarketers were you’re DIs, your high vector-1, 2s, really aggressive, really strong, called out bound. Then you have your person that was your call coordinator that’s taking all of your incoming business, your yard signs, your referrals, your come mes that are automatically coming. Somebody at some point merged these all together into one person and called then an inside sales agent.
Tim Heyl: Right.
Lori Ballen: It sounds to me like you guys went down a similar road and have now said, “you know what, that works, but it doesn’t work to the level that we believe it can work because they’re different behavioral profiles.
Tim Heyl: Well, Lori, what I think it is is, it’s kind of like when you start out in real estate. You start out as a realtor and you do it all. It’s not ideal, but you don’t have a lot of money, and you don’t have a lot of ability to leverage yourself, so you just do it all. Then as you get more and more business, the money’s there and you’re able to leverage yourself, and you’re able to hire an EA, and then you’re able to hire a buyer agent, and then you’re able to hire a listing agent. All of a sudden you’ve got, like Lance and I, 10 to 15 people that are all different behavioral styles, doing the job of what you originally did all yourself.
I think now we’re basically just talking about doing that again with the ISAs, it’s like, at first, you maybe don’t have enough leads for three different positions, so you just hire one ISA to do it all. Maybe you don’t have enough money to hire for three different positions, so you just hire one ISA to do it all. Then as you’re business grows, you start to figure out how, “Okay, well now I can hire another. Now we can hire another. Now we have enough buyer leads and seller leads.” Then bam, you can split it. It’s kind of like just growing a little MREA team. The concept is the same. What you focus on expands.
It’s not fair to my buyer team, because I don’t really care about our buyer appointments. I have such a hard core focus on setting listing appointments, that it’s almost unfair to the buyer team. I know that if we have one or two people that were just dedicated to buyer leads, we would see a lot of growth there on the buyer side. It’s just we don’t have a lot of focus on that end. That’s one of the reasons we [crosstalk 00:21:50].
Lori Ballen: Tim, what was your closing production percentage last year, sellers to buyers, in 2013?
Tim Heyl: It was 70% sellers, 30% buyers.
Lori Ballen: Where did these sellers come from? What was your primary lead source?
Tim Heyl: 70% was expires and for-sale-by-owners. About 25%, just under 25% was from our sphere and past clients. Sphere and referral, I guess you call it. Then we had some onesie, twosies from other sources.
Lori Ballen: Okay, so at this point you both have inside sales agents, and you’re working to split to have more of a telemarketer or the seller side be one side, and the buyer side be another side. At this point, you both have people calling expireds and for-sale-by-owners, or are they only calling out on your inbound leads?
Tim Heyl: They’re calling expireds and for-sale-by-owners. Basically a day, a day for us, and I’m doing a lot of talking so I’ll let Lance explain his. I’ll just say real quick. A day for our ISAs is 8 to 11 they’re making outbound calls, just looking for seller leads. Calling expireds and for-sale-by-owner, things like that. Then they’ve usually got a meeting, a one-on-one or a sale meeting, or they’ll just break for lunch. Then they come back about 12, 12:30, and they’re working on 10 days of [paying 00:23:12] for buyers. These are buyer leads that they’ve never spoken with before, that they’ve never connected with. After that, they do their nurturing, which is just follow up. Leads that they have talked to in the past, they’re just following up with. Then they finish out the day with another two hour outbound call session, looking for seller leads. They kind of start the day and end the day looking for seller leads. They’re doing buyers and lead follow ups in the middle of the day.
Lori Ballen: What is your buyer volume of leads look like? How many leads a month are you approximately generating, Tim?
Tim Heyl: We’re probably like 400 a month. It’s not a ton. It might be more than that, but we not sure. It might be more than that but it’s not a ton.
Lori Ballen: So based on.
Tim Heyl: I’d like it to be more.
Lori Ballen: Based on that, I don’t know if you have it separated by sides, but based on that buyer volume, are you asking them to set a certain number of seller appointments a day and a certain number of buyer appointments a day? Or is it just straight appointments?
Tim Heyl: It used to be just straight appointments until I realized that we were setting more buyer appointments then we were seller appointments. I fixed that really quickly. We tract total appointments set, but our goal and our focus is all on listing appointments set. They have a goal. They each have their own goals and they’re goals are all different. I have a minimum standard that they need to average one total appointment per day, minimum, just to stay on the team. If they’re averaging one appointment a day, that’s not necessarily going to get them praise or they’re not going to necessarily feel real great about just averaging one appointment a day, but one listing appointment a day is good stuff. Then they’re going to be at about 30 to 40 total appointments in the month. That’s pretty good.
I think it has to do with how may ISAs you have. What your lead flow is. All that type of stuff, to determine what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. I don’t know, Lance, what do you think about that?
Lori Ballen: Hold on Lance, one second. I’m going to come to you in one second. I want to make sure I don’t lose the questions that are on my mind. Tim, how many appointments are your ISAs, besides the goal, I completely understand that, what are they doing in real life as a team? What are they actually doing?
Tim Heyl: Last month they did 76 listing appointments, and 74 buyer appointments. We did right at … maybe it was a little bit more, we did around, I think, 155 total appointments. This month we are less appointments, but more qualified, we’re actually going on more. So our focus has been, over the last few months, less focused on the appointments set and more focused on the appointments that are gone on, just so that we can increase the ratio of appointments that actually happen versus just the ones that are set.
Lori Ballen: That’s about 30 appointments a month per ISA, or do you have one ISA that’s killing it and the other ones are weaker?
Tim Heyl: Well, one of them is in their first 90 days. Although, I want to say he set about 24, 25 appointments last month. I think the one that set the most was probably around, I think he had 20 list and 15 buy, or 17 buy. I think he was around 37. Somewhere around there. It was anywhere in between for the other two.
Lori Ballen: Okay, I’m going to switch over to Lance for a second. I’ve got some people asking about the 10 days of pain. I think you guys probably can find what the 10 days of pain are outside of this call. I assume, Tim, you’re talking about the traditional Ben Kinney internet lead, touches and calls?
Tim Heyl: Yep.
Lori Ballen: Okay, great. Tim, just real fast, what do you qualify as an appointment? Define an appointment for me.
Tim Heyl: It’s pretty specific. An appointment has to be a time and a date on the calendar. They have to … There’s a Google invite that goes out. The ISA invites the client and the agent in the same Google calendar invite. It’s a time and a date and a place. They have to … we have some [pre-qualifying 00:27:47] admission questions that have to be all answered. It’s like a little form that we have in our CRM that those questions have to be answered in order to qualify it as an appointment set. If they can’t get those questions answered, then they can still set the appointment, but it’s their job as the ISA to call the lead back and get the answers to those questions.
Lori Ballen: Okay, perfect. I’m going to come back to you in a minute on compensation. Thank you. Lance, can you tell us a bit about how your ISAs work? Who they’re calling? What a day in the life of the Lance Loken Group ISAs look like and how you qualify an appointment?
Lance Loken: [inaudible 00:28:25]
Lori Ballen: Did I lose you?
Lance Loken: Sorry, can you hear me?
Lori Ballen: Yep, we got you.
Lance Loken: Okay, sorry about that. We do almost the exact same thing that Tim does. The ISAs are calling the expireds in the morning and focus on that. When there’s multiple ISAs working, the one ISA is cultivating and lead generating with the buyers, while the other person is on the system calling expireds. Then does the opposite in the afternoon. We try to go after expireds throughout the entire day. Then when they’re cultivating the buyer leads, they’re also doing the 10 days of pain. They’re uploading all of the contact information into the data base so that the buyer agents aren’t having to do anything administrative. The ISAs are handling all of the administrative side of that. The only thing that the buyer agents have to do, other than being out with buyers, is write up a contract.
Lori Ballen: Okay, did you tell us how exactly you qualify an appointment?
Lance Loken: We do the exact same thing that Tim does. They have a time and a date set. The person actually has to show up for that appointment. We’re getting to the point now, starting in April, both buyers that we have and then we’ve got two more buyers that are coming in, they’ll be averaging at least eight closings a month per each person.
Lori Ballen: So.
Lance Loken: All they’re doing now is working with [inaudible 00:30:08] buyers.
Lori Ballen: Okay, so your total goal for your ISAs, your goal for them is how many? Is it a month, a day, a week?
Lance Loken: It is one appointment per day for the buyer, and one appointment per day for the listing, for each ISA.
Lori Ballen: So you want two a day out of each ISA?
Lance Loken: Yes.
Lori Ballen: Okay. How many are they actually doing?
Lance Loken: They’re definitely doing the one a day for the buyers side. They’re doing about three quarters for the listing side. However, the radio that we have implemented, all those radio contacts come directly to me because they have my phone number on the radio endorsement.
Lori Ballen: What kind of questions … Tim told us a little bit, and I kind of have a screening process that we use, very similar to a lot of the top agents. Do you guys have anything special you’re using as a screening process? Or is it a standard loan, agent, motivation, testing or qualification and motivation and time frame?
Lance Loken: It’s all standard. They all have the scripts that they adhere to that we’ve used with Jackie Kravitz, and a couple of the other ones that they’ve implemented. It’s pretty standard.
Lori Ballen: Okay. If you don’t mind, if we can talk a little bit about compensation. I think we’re hearing a very common theme out there with a low salary, plus 10, I’ve heard as high as 15% commissions. Which sounds … I got to tell you, I did the math on it yesterday and it just seemed really high if they’re booking that many appointments, it really seems like a lot of money. Even in my [inaudible 00:32:02] price range, which is 185, it seems like, or 135 is mine, it seems incredibly high. So how …
Lance Loken: The reason it seems so high is because they’re setting a lot of appointments, but we’re not closing nearly that many properties. You got to set … Everybody’s numbers are going to be a little bit different, but you got to set a certain amount of appointments and then a percentage of those are going to actually happen. A percentage of the ones that actually happen, will be taken. The percentage of the clients that are taken will actually go to a contract. A percentage of those will actually close. By the time is all funnels down, our average … Our ISAs’ average commission is $450. At $450, if we close 100 deals associated with their appointments that they set, then that’s 45 grand. 45 grand plus another 25 grand in salary, would be right at $70,000. Which is sort of the target. Somewhere between 60, and 80.
Lori Ballen: Hold on, let’s take that, let’s break that down a little bit because that was a lot of numbers. I heard originally, we want 30 appointments minimum, for each inside sales agent. I’m assuming … sorry, one a day. I’m assuming you’re basing that on a … How many days out of the month are you basing that on?
Lance Loken: 20 days.
Lori Ballen: Okay.
Lance Loken: Basically, if they can set three hundred appointments in a year, then we ought to be able to close 100 deals. We ought to be able to close about a third of the appointments that they’ve set. They’re going to set about 300 to 325 appointments to close 100 deals.
Lori Ballen: Do you have that broken down by sell side and buy side, or just as a whole?
Lance Loken: Nope, I’ve gotten super super detailed with it. What I’ve realized is nobody cares, nobody pays attention to it. It’s just, I’ve realized that just keeping things simple is the best way to keep these ISAs engaged.
Lori Ballen: Yeah. I guess what I meant for us as the mega agents. I was trying to figure out if we want to bring somebody on, if we want to get them making a certain amount of money, we need to know the math. If they’re working primarily buyers versus sellers, they’ve got to do this many appointments, and we’re going to pay them this much and that’s the average. On average, how much are your …?
Lance Loken: Does it matter if it’s a buy or a seller?
Lori Ballen: No, but the percentages would be different. If I said, “We need to set X amount of sellers.” And 50% of those close versus the 33% that you just said, as a whole, it would change the business plan.
Lance Loken: Got you. We kind of operate as close to the MREA model as we can, which is in the economic model, you’d have the same percentage of buyers and sellers closing, based off of the amount of appointments gone on.
Lori Ballen: Okay. You’re break down, Tim then, is it salary plus what percent?
Tim Heyl: Yeah. Salary plus 5%.
Lori Ballen: Okay, you’re doing 5%. Okay. Do you have any other kind of … First of all, are they W-2? Are they independent contractors?
Tim Heyl: No, they’re employees.
Lori Ballen: They’re employees. Okay. They’re licensed employees, so you’re able to pay them a commission.
Tim Heyl: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Correct.
Lori Ballen: You have any other type of bonuses or other incentives set up on top of that, like if they do over a certain amount, they get a bonus or anything like that?
Tim Heyl: No, we’ve done some one [ops best 00:35:37] each month. Sometimes in just a seven day period we’ll do, the person to get the most amount of loan apps, or the person to set the most amount of listing appointments in a five day time period. We’ve done little snips like that, but, all in all, we do have a profit share program that they participate in, and the top ISA gets the most profit share. So on and so forth down the line. That’s just a year end pay out.
Lori Ballen: On average, give me a monthly … On an average month, what are your inside sales agents taking home?
Tim Heyl: It’s kind of a tough thing for me to answer because they’re all at different stages with me. The one that’s been with me the longest has been with me about 10 month. I’m sorry, he’s been with me a year. Then one’s been with me about eight months, one’s been with me about six months, and one’s been with us about three months. They’re all at different stages. The thing to know is that the wrap up time, it is long. These ISAs aren’t making much at all for the first three to six months. It really is after that six months where they start making the money that you’re really pitching to them in the position opportunity.
Lori Ballen: What’s your top guy making? What’s your top guy making?
Tim Heyl: I think last month he made 5500, 65.
Lori Ballen: Okay, so we’re talking about a 50 to $75,000 a year position based on your average price range? Does that sound about right?
Tim Heyl: Yeah. The goal is 60 to 80.
Lori Ballen: Okay.
Tim Heyl: That’s just what inside sales people make in our market. [crosstalk 00:37:18].
Lori Ballen: What’s your average price range where you are?
Tim Heyl: Our average commission is 9 grand. Our average price point’s about a little over 300.
Lori Ballen: Okay. Wow, okay, got it. All right.
Tim Heyl: That’s why we’re paying 5%. I think, maybe Lance is paying a different percentage, but the end goal is still about the same. Is that right Lance?
Lance Loken: Yes. We’re on the same page. The only difference that we do versus Tim, is we pay 10% instead of 5.
Tim Heyl: With a lower average commission, right?
Lori Ballen: Are you guys …?
Lance Loken: I’m sorry?
Tim Heyl: With a lower average commission, I believe, right?
Lance Loken: Correct. Yes, correct.
Lori Ballen: What’s your average Lance?
Lance Loken: 180.
Lori Ballen: Okay. All right. So they’re still within …
Lance Loken: That’s our average sales.
Lori Ballen: Yeah, that’s you’re average sales price. Are you both paying like 500 a week to a couple grand a month for salaries?
Lance Loken: Yes. We pay 2000 a month.
Tim Heyl: Yeah, as do we. One of our ISA’s is at 2500, the others are at 2000.
Lori Ballen: Okay. So it’s sounding pretty similar. It’s funny, if you actually … this is why this call is so important. I think really getting deep and unraveling those numbers, because it sounds like if you’re setting all of these appointments, that that … and if you base on average conversion rates in real estate appointment to closing, that number would be significantly higher than the yearly number you guys are stating. The percentage of conversions, do you have a lot of fall out from when they set the appointment to people aren’t showing up to the appointments?
Tim Heyl: We don’t have a whole lot of fall out on our side.
Lori Ballen: Okay. Doesn’t it sound lower though, those conversions rates based on what we know as real estate agents, with our conversion rates. That number, from appointment to close sounds pretty …
Tim Heyl: In MREA, Lori, for every two appointments, you should have one closing. The way it breaks down, I think, on the buy side suggests that you take 80% of your appointments to clients and sell 67 or 60%, 65% of the ones that you take. Then it’s flip flopped on the list side, something like that. In the end, it’s every two appointments set, you should have a closing [crosstalk 00:39:50].
Lori Ballen: Right, so if they’re setting 300. If they’re setting 300 that’s …
Tim Heyl: Yeah, it’s [inaudible 00:39:56] down a little bit, we’ll [inaudible 00:39:58] like 35% instead of [inaudible 00:40:00] percent. We’ll, what’s happened there, that will set [inaudible 00:40:03] a lot of … I call it a lot of fall out. It’s more than I had when I set the appointments for myself. Every month we get better on our fall out. Minimal fall out on the listing side. We have more fall out on the buyers side. That’s just, I think, has a lot … Well, they’re just two different types of appointments being set. [inaudible 00:40:25] every day and we [inaudible 00:40:27] that’s kind of [inaudible 00:40:28] goes through, is all the different road blocks we’ve come up against in those appointments that you set, getting them to show up, getting them to actually happen. Just different things we’ve come up against and different strategies that we’ve implemented to make sure that every month we’re making that conversion from appointment sets [inaudible 00:40:45] stronger and stronger.
Lori Ballen: Okay. That’s a significant thing for us to know because if, again like we just said, and I’m a student of MREA. I’ve read it 36 times. Built models on it, completely understand that there’s a big difference in what you’re saying between what we know to be true in MREA with creating our own business plan when we set appointments. It sounds like for some reason, with the ISAs, that number significantly drops. Even from 50% to 33%, if you’re building a plan and setting those appointments, it’s different if you have ISAs then, then if’ you’re setting those appointments yourself, is what I’m hearing in those numbers.
Tim Heyl: It depends. MREA doesn’t ever mention anything about a difference between appointments set and appointments gone on. It just talks about appointments. The way I interpret MREA, it’s talking about for every two appointments that you have, [inaudible 00:41:36] …
Lori Ballen: You’re breaking up on us Tim.
Tim Heyl: Okay.
Lori Ballen: You’re breaking up on me. I’m not sure if you’re walking around. We didn’t get all that.
Tim Heyl: Oh, can you hear me now?
Lori Ballen: Yeah. There you are. Right, so appointments set is what we’re talking about. That’s where, I mean appointments gone on. Appointments gone on. If you’re saying your goal for your ISAs is if they’re setting 300 in a month and you’re closing 100, there’s a different number being tracked in the middle there on appointments actually gone on versus appointments set.
Tim Heyl: Correct.
Lori Ballen: Okay. You guys, curious as to who is training your inside sales agents? Is it you directly? Do you have somebody training them on scripts and conversions and systems?
Tim Heyl: I train [crosstalk 00:42:31].
Lance Loken: [Crosstalk 00:42:31].
Tim Heyl: Go ahead Lance.
Lori Ballen: Lance, go ahead.
Lance Loken: We have a lead inside sales agent. She trains the other ISAs. Before that, Kari, who used to be the ISA and now is our VP of sales, she trained sales before that. We have succession planning built in, which is I think exactly what Tim does. Each person gets trained by another person.
Lori Ballen: All right. Are they getting any kind of extra compensation for that? Or is that just how you’re building your team? They just understand that that’s what they do?
Tim Heyl: That’s how we’re building the team currently.
Lori Ballen: Okay, great. When you have these inside sales agents, are they taking all of the leads and then setting all the appointments, or do you have some going directly to your agents and some going to the inside sales agent, where splits change with your agents? Lance, why don’t you answer that first.
Lance Loken: The only time splits change with our agents is when it’s people that are within their [sphere 00:43:34], or if it’s people that they [inaudible 00:43:36] had an open house and now immediately a buyers. Those types of people they bring in themselves.
Lori Ballen: Okay. Just for the insight. You’re agents are on 50% split on your buyers side?
Lance Loken: It’s 35 split when it’s driven by the ISA. It’s 50% split when it’s done themselves.
Lori Ballen: Yep, that’s what I mean. Okay.
Lance Loken: Then 10% for the ISA plus the 2000 a month base salary.
Lori Ballen: Okay. You’re side Tim, is it 40% across the board? Does it change?
Tim Heyl: No it doesn’t change. It’s 40% across the board. We give anybody on our team a 10% bonus if they bring somebody in from their sphere, but that was [inaudible 00:44:23] been in place to encourage them to lead generate th their sphere, but nobody really ever does, so, I probably will take that away at some point, or just … It’s not really a big deal. I thought it would help incentivise everybody to call their sphere on a regular basis, but it doesn’t.
Lori Ballen: Okay. What do you guys do on the weekends? How do you handle all your leads that come in on the weekends? Do you have inside sales …
Lance Loken: Rotations.
Lori Ballen: Rotation to agents?
Lance Loken: No, no, inside sales rotations.
Lori Ballen: Okay, so somebody takes it for the day. There’s like a floor schedule?
Lance Loken: Correct.
Lori Ballen: Okay. I’m trying to read everybody else’s questions that are coming in at the same time. Where are you guys finding your inside sales agents?
Lance Loken: All over the place. Tim does it more succinct. I think he’s got a person that does better, as far as that’s concerned.
Lori Ballen: Tim, you want to …?
Tim Heyl: No, I was just going to say. No, it’s kind of all over like Lance said. There are good areas to look. One of our ISAs came from a referral from my mortgage lender. One of our ISAs came from, I train in the market center, so I’m always able to see who the new agents are, and kind of be able to talk to the best of the best. That’s how we got one of them. One of them came from my own referral network. One of them came from the inside sales world. The one that came from my mortgage lender actually was an inside sales in the inside world in the tech industry here in Austin, then so is the fourth one.
Lori Ballen: So both of yours are … You’re both in house, both of you aren’t using virtuals for this, they’re all in house?
Lance Loken: Mine are all in house. I think Tim’s getting a virtual one.
Tim Heyl: Yeah. Ours are in house too. We’re toying around with the idea of virtual. Not to be on an equal playing field, necessarily, but we’re just toying around trying to figure out what that would look like and what we should expect out of it, and just how it could help benefit our business. I don’t have anything to really talk about regarding that. I just don’t have the knowledge yet.
Lori Ballen: Yeah. What do you believe that anybody just getting into the world of inside sales agents right now, what each of you … I’d like to hear what’s the biggest thing we need to watch out for and be aware of? Maybe a trap or a challenge or something you’ve run into. What do you think we really need to know getting into this?
Lance Loken: Say that one more time, I didn’t understand.
Lori Ballen: What do you … for people just getting into using inside sales agents, have never used them before regardless of team size and what the structure might be. What, first of all, advice do you have for us getting into it? And what challenge do you think, what do we need to watch out for?
Lance Loken: I think they definitely need to follow the first 100 days model that we’ve implemented. Secondly, it needs to be somebody that’s extremely good at follow up. If they just think they can make phone calls and … they also have to be willing to accept rejection. They’re going to get rejected 100 times a day.
Lori Ballen: How does you’re high-I, high vector-2 handle that rejection all day long.
Lance Loken: She does a phenomenal job at it. She’s got the buyer agent AVA actually. She’s my top producer. She does have high B …
Lori Ballen: Oh, she’s …
Lance Loken: Go ahead.
Lori Ballen: You said she’s a buyers agent AVA? That inside sales agent you’re taking about, so she’s a 3944?
Lance Loken: Yes. She had a 4934. She has a little bit more of [good D 00:48:21]. The D does come across very well. You definitely need that high-I to build the relationship, but that D to keep it going.
Lori Ballen: So they’re not calling … what I’m hearing you say, and this is interesting to me, is that this isn’t about a one time call conversion to set an appointment. They’re cultivating some sort of a relationship, like a buyers agent would then.
Lance Loken: Absolutely. She just got a listing for me a couple of weeks ago, that she was on the phone with this gentleman for three months. It kept going after him, and kept going after him, and he finally listed with us. It was an entire process.
Lori Ballen: Okay.
Lance Loken: Some people she can get right away that same day. Other people she has to work for a couple weeks, and sometimes she has to do a month.
Lori Ballen: Tim, how about top advice and top challenge we need to watch out for?
Tim Heyl: I would say the top advice when you’re compensating them, make sure that you don’t create any conflicts of interest. Don’t compensate based off, like, appointments set, or just clients taken. You want to make sure that you’re compensating them off of getting them to the finish line. We compensate off of closings, and then we also have a profit share deal. Ultimately, what I care about is our bottom line profit. Getting the deal to the finish line, you’re not just setting appointments.
What I realized was, when I was on the phones myself, I could have probably set three or four times as many appointments as I actually did. I was just identifying people that I didn’t want to meet with right then and there on the original call. If you compensate the ISA any differently than what your intentions are, what your goal is, then it could create an issue. Make sure that everybody’s goals are in alignment.
Biggest challenge, I would say, is just keeping the tension between the agents and the ISAs healthy. What can happen is ISAs work hard, they work probably harder than anybody else to get those appointments set. They’re pounding the phones, kind of doing the dirty work, and they’re setting appointments. Often time they’re appointments that weren’t qualified or just really shouldn’t have happened, especially with the newer ISAs. The agents, it’s really easy if you [inaudible 00:50:55] are the ones going on the appointment because you’ll immediately go back and coach the ISA and make sure that they fix the problem.
When you’ve got agents that are taking those appointments and going, the agents might get frustrated. Instead of being solution based, they might just get frustrated with the ISA, or even worse, they may not say anything at all and just build up frustration. Keeping communication on the table and just working everyday to keep a cohesive group between your ISA team and your agent team, I think is … It’s a challenge, but it’s something that if you’re cognoscente of, you can just work everyday at it. Yeah, it’s going to be there. Just look for it and pay attention to it.
Lori Ballen: What’s interesting about what you said is I’ve actually, on my own, been interviewing people that have ISAs, and I’ve gone out to work some offices. One of the things that I’ve seen and heard is a … I don’t know if I want to use the word competition, but when the splits change from the inside sales agent booking them appointment, and now they suddenly go from a 50% split to a 35% split, it almost feels like a take away to them. I’ve been interviewing the actual agents that are receiving the leads. It feels like a take away to them, rather than a gift of, “Hey, I’ve just T’d up this appointment for you. I booked it for you, just go close it.” They feel a take away because it’s less money.
Tim Heyl: Yeah. [Crosstalk 00:52:24].
Lance Loken: [Crosstalk 00:52:24] totally different approach. The approach that we used, I think, is exactly what Tim did. We got people quitting looking at the splits, and talking about what they wanted to earn annually. When we approached the buyer agents about what value the ISAs were going to bring to the table, and how they were still going to make as much is not more by implementing the ISA process, they welcomed it with open arms. In fact, they absolutely love our ISAs now. I think it’s more of an approach than anything else.
Tim Heyl: Yeah. Fortunately for me, I was the listing specialist and I really only had one buyer specialist. I had a couple in training but they weren’t doing any deals, so it wasn’t really [inaudible 00:53:15] something I consulted them about. The one that I did consult about, he was excited about it. He ended up finishing the year making $155,000. He couldn’t be more jacked about it. now he’s recruited other buyer agents and got them on board with it. They’ve all been at that split since day one. He was the only one that it was a take away for.
Lori Ballen: General question I’m getting a ton of here. Equipment. What are must haves to bring in ISAs.
Tim Heyl: Don’t buy a boom, because it’s the worst headset you could possibly buy. It literally is … They’re great headsets until they break, and they all break.
Lori Ballen: Oh.
Tim Heyl: I don’t know. We struggle with it. Sennheiser has a good one. You can buy some cheap gaming headsets like X-box gaming headsets. What do you guys use Lance?
Lance Loken: We use the regular phone and they have a headset with the phone. It was just the cheap brand that they’re comfortable with.
Tim Heyl: Like Plantronics?
Lance Loken: Yeah. What we did do differently, right now, instead of having them all in the same room, we have them each in their own office space. That has helped a lot. We’re going to try to put them back together again, but I’m leery of that because I want them to be able to be comfortable in their own setting. That’s the only difference for us.
Lori Ballen: What about dialers? What are you guys using for dialers?
Tim Heyl: [inaudible 00:54:49] and Vulcan 7.
Lance Loken: Yeah. Vulcan 7 is a good one too.
Lori Ballen: Okay, so the same …
Lance Loken: We got [crosstalk 00:54:54].
Lori Ballen: What’s that last one?
Lance Loken: Vulcan 7 and [crosstalk 00:55:00].
Lori Ballen: Okay, Vulcan 7 and Mojo. The Mojo dialers.
Tim Heyl: The Mojo dialer comes with Vulcan 7, for us.
Lori Ballen: I see. Okay. Did you guys sat that there are no other incoming leads coming to your buyers agents directly, besides their own sphere of influence or if they’re out working an open house. There’s no incoming calls coming in directly to them?
Lance Loken: That’s correct. That’s correct.
Lori Ballen: Tim, somebody asked about your profit share. I assume you’re using the MREA profit share model, or are you doing something different?
Tim Heyl: No, it’s the MREA profit share model. Because we have insides sales and things are set up a little bit differently, we’ve added to it. We basically took that MREA profit share model and just added to it.
Lori Ballen: Okay.
Lance Loken: we have profit sharing and we do 401K for our team.
Lori Ballen: Okay. Are you guys paying to get your inside sales agents license? Are you paying their dues and whatever’s required for their licensing? Or do they pay it?
Lance Loken: We make everybody pay for their own license, because then at least they have a bite in the game and they show a genuine interest. We do not hire … I’ve said this up on the panel, I don’t hire real estate agents per se. I hire professionals, then if they’re interested in getting into this business, they need to spend a little bit of money to get the license, but then we take care of them from that moment on.
Tim Heyl: Yeah. I like that. I’ve been paying for my ISAs to get licensed, whereas our agents, it’s obviously their responsibility. I like what Lance was saying though. It makes sense.
Lori Ballen: For them to have skin in the game.
Tim Heyl: Yeah. Yeah. I know that the ramp up time, it take three, six months before they’re going to start making anything above small base. That’s kind of where I originally came from. [Crosstalk 00:57:03] licensed.
Lori Ballen: What’s interesting what you just said, and I believe this is something people need to know too, because we have our … One of our real estate agents for the first time on salary. I truly believe there is a 100 day ramp up time for most agents, depending on what they’re walking into. What kind of team they’re walking into, whether they’re given certain amount of leads. Regardless, there’s building relationships, there’s … In my market, we still have short sales. There is a ramp up time regardless of anybody that I’ve noticed coming on. If we’re going to put somebody on salary, that means we have a ramp up time, we have a risk factor, we have an expense factor that we have to budget that isn’t going to automatically turn into return.
Tim Heyl: Right.
Lance Loken: Lori, just so you know, what we did as far as that’s concerned, we provided a draw, up front, so that they’re not living out of a world of fear and they can focus on studying. Then their first couple of closings, I obviously get all the commission. Then they’re up and running and they’re consistently earning their income, then I can take them off of the draw. Then they’re free [flowing 00:58:08], but I firmly believe in taking care of them up until they’re consistently moving forward.
Lori Ballen: I thought you’re were on a salary plus commission? Yours is a draw and then they come off?
Lance Loken: Correct. I think that a draw …
Lori Ballen: Okay, so at a certain point yours come off the salary, they have no more scheduled income, it’s only 10%.
Lance Loken: No, no, no. I pay them the salary, plus a draw during their first 100 days. I do the exact same thing for the agents as well. Everybody that’s on our team that is commissioned based, I will pay them a draw, or in the case of the ISAs, I’ll pay them the commission and a draw, until they’re up and running and when their first several closings, I’ll make up that drop from the draw, and then once they’re consistently going, then I’ll take them off of the draw and then they’re free and clear.
Lori Ballen: Is that draw half their salary, equivalent to their salary? What does that look like? Depending on the person?
Lance Loken: For my top producer, she’s getting $1000 a week right now. When the closings start happening, I’ll get a couple of the commissions and then she’ll be constantly going. I firmly believe in not living in a world of fear. I want them to be able to focus on learning the scripts. Getting the appointments up. Like Tim said, it is going to be a three to six month lag before they’re really generating. I want them to focus on lead generating, not on how much money they’re making each week.
Lori Ballen: How are you … I know we’re at the hour so I need to let you go soon. How are you holding them accountable for their result? Is it 411s? Do you know the total leads? How are you paying attention to that?
Lance Loken: For us, we have accountability with every individual on a weekly basis. My vice president of sales handles that. They see what their production levels are at and they discuss it on a weekly basis.
Tim Heyl: Yeah. We do the same thing. We track, and we also have a score board that we run and then we have a weekly 30 minute one-on-ones and go over it. Then we have a once a week sales meeting where everybody gets together.
Lance Loken: We do the exact same thing. Yep.
Lori Ballen: Okay. Well, I sure appreciate all the time that you guys have taken with us. You’ve answered a lot of questions. Definitely given me an “aha” when it comes to that yearly salary. That’s my one thing I got out of it today. My dollar number was coming in higher. Not by how much we were going to pay them, but how much I expected them to earn in a year based on appointment set.
In closing, if people have more questions … For those of you that are in the mega agent facebook group, we’ll handle a lot of this in there. That group does have exclusive qualifications. To be a member you do have to do 6 million plus in production, and have at least two producing members on the team, and an admin. If you’re not in that group and you believe you qualify, you can put in a request. Send a message to me and I’ll take a look at that.
In the meantime, guys, is there anything else you want to close with? How they can find you or?
Lance Loken: That’s it. Sign up for our class, we’ll get into all the details on all this stuff on tracking and accountability and all that stuff. It will be good.
Lori Ballen: Okay. I’m going to transcribe this. I’m going to take the recording, I’m going to put it up on our facebook group so that all of our members can take a look at it. Guys, I appreciate it so much. We’re heard amazing things about both of you. Appreciate that you took time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. Thanks everybody.
Lance Loken: Thanks Lori, for setting this up.
Tim Heyl: Yeah. Good talking to you Lori, good talking to you Lance. Thanks guys for having me on the call.
Lance Loken: You too, see you later.
Lori Ballen: I appreciate you guys, bye-bye.
Lori Ballen is the creator of The Ballen Method to Online Marketing and Internet Lead Generation.
Special Thanks to Tim Heyl of The Heyl Group for his time and for sharing his experiences. Find out more about Tim’s program with MAPS for his resources and calls.
Special Thanks to Lance Loken of The Loken Group for being so generous in sharing his materials.
Common Objection Handlers