Developing and Utilizing Dynamic Tools for OSC Engagement
By: Guest Blogger, Leah Fellows
August 18, 2022
Online Sales Counselors (OSCs) are the ones who man or (wo)man your online sales model home. They are the first, fast personalized response to your new home buying prospects, and when the role is done right these are your front-line in building rapport, relationships, and building trust with your buyers. Properly trained OSCs also know how to triage buyers and figure out who is ready to buy now, and how to do long-term nurturing for those that are much further out. This goes for list building for coming soon communities and prospective buyers that may be much further out.
But OSC’s can’t do any of that if they don’t have the right tools both behind the scenes for their use, and upfront for buyers to visualize and fall in love with the builder, the community, and their new home.
Great Tools are Important for Three Reasons
First – Great Tools Allow OSCs to Do Their Job Better
The more you can remove the friction in the communication process, the more you will see higher ROI on your digital marketing leads converting to sales. This means communication with buyers, and communication from OSCs to site agents. There are two tools that are the foundation of everything for the OSC.
One is an intuitive, user-friendly CRM system that is 100% adopted by both the OSCs and the sales agents. It is here where communication happens, and with that it allows OSCs to keep up with the massive numbers of leads they receive. A well set up CRM system can track the origin of leads, the conversion ratios, the follow up processes, the appointments that are set, and all the history and notes. A strong CRM should eliminate manual entry wherever it can and integrate with as many of your marketing tools as possible from video emails to texting platforms and phone calling systems. The less manual entry, the less likely to encounter lost leads.
The other is a strong website. Your website is your online model home. It is here where the most important information lives that buyers want. This means all your digital assets should be easy and accessible and should not be buried deep within your website. Buyers are looking for quick access to floor plans, interactive tools, model home tours, pictures, and videos. They want interactive maps, information about the builder, the community, and amenities. And one of the biggest things buyers want to see upfront is pricing. If it’s hard to find these things, buyers will abandon your website.
You only have a few seconds to capture their attention before they bounce.
Second – Great Tools Allow Customers to Do Their Research Online
The old era of selling new homes is gone. No one is happening into a new home model by accident one day with no knowledge of the builder, the neighborhood, or the process. Almost 100% of people begin their research online before they ever go out to see a new home. They want to be well informed and know everything about their choices, the pricing, and create their own adventure.
The more tools you have from renderings that allow them to visualize a site that would otherwise be dirt, to interactive floor plans, colorization, and furniture visualizers – the more invested a buyer gets into the home before they ever visit the community.
More tools and tech to play with means more time on your website, more pages viewed and a stronger commitment before a buyer ever begins speaking with a salesperson or an OSC.
Buyers want to be in control of their journey. We help them with this by giving them options, and the OSC can act as a tour guide along that journey. Given the right tools, an OSC can easily refer buyers to places to strengthen that relationship and buyers appreciate the transparency and access great tools provide.
Third – Great Tools Save Builders Money
When you invest in quality you are saving yourself money and heartache in the long run. Cheap options often have to be redone over and over or are frustrating to the buyer. A builder would barely blink an eye at spending $500,000 or even close to a million dollars on a model home. But this mentality doesn’t always transfer to digital assets.
When you think about everything that goes into a model from land, to materials, to the furniture and the time for the interior design company builders often make major investments. Yet the idea of making digital spends on professional video, renderings, interactive floor plans, CRM, Chat-bots, and more makes many builders back up and say, “Wait a minute.” It’s time to understand that buyers see your online model home long before they ever see one in real life. And when done right you can build your library and models become an asset that you always own. Your website itself will continually be refined and changed – and should be refreshed on a regular basis to keep up with trends and the wants, needs, and desires of your buyers, as well as to appeal to search engines.
A great interactive website, that engages buyers and instills confidence complete with strong calls to action, will generate stronger leads. Couple that with a strong online sales program and you can easily see the success of your online marketing efforts.
Strong online sales programs can represent 50-70% of overall sales for a builder. What that means is the leads that are being generated, when sent to a well-trained online sales counselor or OSC team will make up a large portion of your sales. But you need to have proper planning, platforms, tools, and people in place to implement the entire program. It’s not just good enough to say we need great tools, and we need an OSC. You, as a builder, must put in the time to hire the right person, give them the right tools, and give them the training and program structure to be successful.
Your OSCs need to be those tech savvy, analytical, and empathetic people there to guide the buyers along the way. When we provide dynamic tools for the OSCs and the buyers to utilize, we are setting ourselves up for maximum return on our digital marketing investments.
For more information on how to integrate an OSC program with your tools and solutions feel free to reach out to Leah at www.bluegypsyinc.com
Leah Kaiz Fellows, founder, and owner of Blue Gypsy Inc. since 2010, is a national online sales counselor trainer and consultant for the new home building industry. She regularly writes for industry blogs, magazines, and websites, and presents at IBS, SEBC, industry webinars, and podcasts.
After graduating with a degree in communication from Boston University, her life’s path took her on adventures around the world for 13 years as a traveler, a sailboat captain, and a dive instructor before settling into the real estate world in 2006. Leah brings a unique relatable quality to all her interactions accredited to a diverse life experience. She’s had the pleasure of being at the forefront of the evolution of online sales over the past 16 years in the building industry. Starting early on, she continues to help shape this important role of lead development for new home builders across the country.
Giving back to the industry is important to Leah. She is currently on the NAHB Sales and Marketing Council (SMC) Board of Trustees, and past Chair of the NSMC Membership & Communications sub-committee. She is also the past Co-Chair of the Membership & Communication sub-committee for NAHB Professional Women in Building (PWB), and the current 2nd Vice Chair for the Professional Development sub-committee. She is on the PWB Board at her Local Metro Denver HBA and the past Chair of the PWB Mentoring Committee.
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