Sales Center - Online Sales Counselor (OSC)
In this article:
- What is Online Sales Counselor (OSC)?
- Why Use OSC?
- Job Functions of OSC
- Key Benefits of OSC
- Tips for OSC Success
- No Lead Left Behind with OSC (Download PDF)
The Online Sales Counselor, or Internet Lead Specialist, is an individual dedicated to handling all leads coming from your project website. Using a predetermined sales process along with marketing automation tool, they qualify leads, set appointments, and effectively communicate your message to prospective buyers who begin shopping for a home online.
Note: Please refer to new home sales coach and consultant Mike Lyon's website at www.doyouconvert.com for more information.
The OSC immediately responds to an online registration, thus wasting no precious time in engaging a potential buyer. They can answer questions and provide information on everything from the builder, the neighborhood, and the available home plans to the home buying process and current incentives and offers. They qualify the lead and tenaciously follow up to set an appointment with an onsite sales agent. This frees the onsite sales agent to focus on walk-in traffic and current deals. With the lengthy list of responsibilities agents have for each home they sell, having the OSC manage online leads allows agents to concentrate on the buyers at their doorstep.
Main job functions:
- Respond quickly and personally to all electronic leads
- Handle all incoming phone leads
- Provide persistent and targeted follow-up
- Qualify the lead based on individual wants and needs
- Set and schedule appointments for onsite sales agents
- Maintain database of leads with updated information and customer notes
- Track and report on conversion statistics
Secondary functions that most OSCs can handle if workload permits:
- Update and maintain inventory on website and third-party referral sites
- Conduct e-mail marketing campaigns
- Manage or track Search Engine Marketing
- Continually research new sources for online advertising
- Maintain online marketing budget and conversion statistics
The OSC handles the lead until the appointment is set and then turns the responsibility over to the Onsite Sales Agent. Some relocation buyers may request more information from an OSC and want to go through the entire sales process. Don’t allow the process to go too far. Turn the lead over to the onsite agent when the leads have been properly qualified. Having the OSC position handle a lead all the way to closing will limit the effectiveness of the online sales program and this position.
An OSC cannot properly manage any volume of leads if they are expected to work with a client through the whole process. If an OSC is spending time getting financing together, following up on paperwork, updating the buyer on the construction, putting out fires or holding the deal together, they will not be able to respond quickly to the new leads arriving daily. This is, in essence, the onsite agent’s difficulty in handling leads and the reason the OSC position was created in the first place. Also, this will put an OSC in direct competition with the onsite agent, leading to an unhealthy rivalry. Having the OSC set up appointments for the onsite agents will keep everyone happy and you will sell more homes.
There are four key benefits to implementing a dedicated person, the Online Sales Counselor (OSC), to handle your leads:
- Immediate response will increase your conversion rate
- Unbiased qualification speeds up home search
- Continual follow-up builds trust before initial appointment
- A focus on setting appointments accelerates the sales process
This is the number one factor that will increase the number of conversions from a lead to a sale. Online shoppers expect immediate follow-up. It is the OSC’s responsibility to meet or exceed these expectations and, consequently, will do a better job at this than the traditional agent whose activities are focused on the buyer.
An OSC is only concerned about qualifying customers and setting appointments at the community that best fits their needs. This style of informational selling puts the customer at ease and is seen as a true benefit. One thing that slows down the buying process is when leads inevitably go to a neighborhood that does not meet their needs. An OSC can be sure to set qualified appointments at the perfect community based on each customer’s unique criteria.
By responding quickly, sending customized e-mails, and establishing a line of communication based on permission, customers become familiar with the builder and the builder’s main selling features. By the time they do visit the sales agent at the community, they feel like old friends. This buildup of trust increases the likelihood of a sale, with a higher tendency to write on the first visit.
Focus on Setting Appointments
One of the biggest challenges when working with online shoppers is to get them out from behind the safety of their computer and into your model home. By starting a one-to-one communication and using well-crafted e-mails and scripts, an OSC will motivate them to visit the onsite agent in the model. They can sell without selling, meanwhile weaving a message of uniqueness, urgency, and value into their communications.
As renowned new home sales consultant Myers Barnes (www.myersbarnes.com) states, "New home sales is all about the acceleration business. An intense focus on setting the appointment speeds up the sales process and will take the buyer "out of the market.""
Be quick on the draw.
Online Sales Counselors (OSCs) know they are more likely to set an appointment if they catch a lead while still on their website. That means lightning fast response time. Firing off an email when a prospect is still on their computer engages the lead quickly with attentive customer service.
Use Lasso and implement a process.
Once contact is made and key information is identified, the OSC begins building a relationship. Lasso, via its Registrant Management functionality including Sales Process and Activities, allows OSCs to create short-term or long-term follow-up consistent with the buyer’s specific needs.
Sell the appointment, not the home.
In this position and process, the “close” is setting the appointment. Understanding how to ask and being prepared for the common objections that will follow gives the advantage to those who are ready. It may seem obvious but that’s what separates people who send emails from highly effective OSCs who facilitate sales.
Builders that have a dedicated person focused on online leads see significantly more success in lead conversion than those who have leads go directly to sales. Are you beating your sales goals? Are you confident that it's not simply due to an improving market?
In the guide below, you'll learn:
- The three main components of a successful online sales program
- How to hire an Online Sales Counselor (OSC)
- How to train an OSC
- The path to success
Download No Lead Left Behind below.