Look, I’ve been doing this since 2007. Back when I began as an OSC we did not have the same kind of marketing and lead generation as we do now. I worked for a builder that sold about 350 or more homes per year, and back then we said if an OSC was doing 20-25% of overall sales for the company they were doing a great job. As a producer hitting 32% of overall sales for the company I was hitting the number out of the park!
Back then we didn’t have Facebook marketing, we didn’t have Twitter, or even Pinterest or Instagram. None of the social platforms existed when I began as an OSC. I used to joke that our CRM was put together with bubble gum and duct tape. As I flagged follow up in my outlook and kept paper notes on people. Our websites were billboards on the in internet. I could work 7 days a week and still there never seemed to be “too many leads.” I could step away when I needed to, and I did not experience burnout.
Fast forward to 2020 and not only are our website lead magnets when we have everything flowing correctly, but now, thanks to a little thing called a pandemic, even more traffic than ever before is initiating on our websites. We used to say about 90% of people begin their search for a new home on line. Now I’d say it’s safe to say 100% of people begin looking online. But whereas before buyers might look, they still drove out to the model home without ever contacting someone through the website. Now there is a greater expectation of a response through the builder’s website then ever before.
One of my previous clients is seeing as much as 150 in and outbound calls per day. One person, note even two people can handle that flow without burning out. And that doesn’t even include their leads coming in via website, targeted marketing, and third party lead generation. One of my smaller builders is seeing 70% or more of sales originating with their OSC. That is huge! But she is handling it. One because they are smaller and two because they have some of the right tools in place.
How can you prevent OSC burnout?
Have the right tools for your online sales program
You need a CRM that is not just a glorified database and your entire sales force needs to use it. For more on CRM’s check out this recent post. Utilize a calling program like CallRail. This will give your OSCs the ability to easily change call flow, set up call trees to branch calls that shouldn’t be going to them, to the right department and it also allows more tracking and accountability. Have inventory home lock systems. Make it easy to set up self guided tours through inventory homes with self tour lock systems like NterNow and UTour.
Create the right communication between online sales counselors and onsite agents
OSCs shouldn’t be chasing down agents to set appointments. There needs to be a sharing of calendars and an appointment setting process.
Have the right coverage for your online sales counselor program
If you have such high volume that you are getting more than 50 leads a week, it’s time to add a new team member. Productivity goes down when an OSC is snowed under by leads, and they are constantly playing catch up. This means long-term follow up goes out the window and you have a very leaky pipeline. Agents may only work with people who are ready to close in 60 days or less, but the whole point of that OSC is not just the fast personalized response, but the long term nurturing. Don’t hesitate to grow the team. It’s only going to cause stress on the OSC and loss of leads.
Give your online sales counselors a break
Gone are the days of working 7 day work weeks. No one can sustain that. We used to have more of an ebb and flow of leads where 7 days didn’t feel like 7 days because there were slow periods. But now, especially if your OSC is working 100% from home, there is no let up on the flow of leads and they need to take a break or you may permanently lose that OSC.
Stop thinking this is temporary. Ultimately life as we know it has changed. Our processes need to change with that, and they have to be a permanent change. We’ve been moving in this direction in the building industry for a long time. And now it’s inevitable.
Grow your team, create time off for your OSC’s make sure you have thee right tools and communication. This is the recipe for success.