There’s been a marked slow down of walk-in traffic to models all across the country. With agents twiddling their thumbs in sales offices it may be tempting to ask the question why don’t we send the digital leads to them and eliminate the “middle man” The OSC?
That would be a big mistake.
Lead development is a process within the sales process. If done correctly we optimize sales. If done incorrectly, we flush marketing dollars down the toilet, piss off buyers, and make less sales.
There are 3 distinct departments that play a role in sales for a new home builder:
- Marketing Drives the Interaction – They Plant The Seed – Marketing drives traffic to the various channels that gather leads. Marketing is great at crafting messages, and enticing people to visit, revisit, research, and fall in love online. Marketing done right cultivates quality leads and places calls to action to get the prospective buyers to engage.
- Online Sales Develops the Leads – They Grow the Plant – Online sales counselors are trained to not only be the first personalized fast response for the builder, they are trained to build rapport, trust, and engage the buyers to find out their pain points, their why, and their wants, needs and desires. In the digital world this happens over time, it’s not all discovered during one in-person visit to the model. When the OSCs can match the buyers wants with one of the communities, their goal is to then set up an encounter with an onsite sales manager. This moves the onsite agent much further ahead with this lead then if they were to walk through the door.
- Onsite Sales Closes the Deal – They Pick the Flowers – The community expert is the one who can help the buyer through the final phases of falling in love. This is where the buyer experiences the home and the community. The site agent takes the knowledge the OSC has gained through the process of lead development and they use it to demonstrate why the builder and the home is the right one for the buyer. It’s an opportunity to dig deeper into their questions that pertain to the community, the builder and the home, and help the buyer through the actual process of buying the home.
There is a symbiotic relationship between these 3 departments, but the lead development phase happens in the OSC Department.
Why can’t those leads be passed directly to the sales agents?
Because being the first quick response to new leads, and doing long-term follow up and lead nurturing is not the strong suit of new home sales agents. Nor should it be. Between walk-in traffic, OSC appointment traffic, and the act of writing contracts and answering questions from people already under contract, there is not a lot of time in an onsite agent’s day where they can deal with new incoming leads. On slow days they may be on top of it, but on busy days we lose the leads.
Whether you like it or not, we live in a digital world where people have no patience. When they finally reach out for information they want an instant answer.
Sending the leads directly to the sales agents will cause many leads to go dead before contact is ever made. And in most cases agents are not the right personality type nor do they have the right training to do the kind of repetitive follow up that an OSC needs to do in order to get that lead to appointment. Far more leads will be thrown in the trash bin if they go to site agents.
Don’t Break The Process
Some “Churn and Burn” sales people want to know why the lead can’t go to the sales agents if the OSC’s haven’t converted them to an appointment in 3-5 days. Again, there is a process for engagement that requires patience, multiple touch points and outreach through different methods. OSCs utilize emails, text messages, and phone calls to video emails and even zoom conferences in an effort to engage. Sometimes this just helps the buyer dip their toe in the water and start to share what they are really looking for. It doesn’t mean they are ready yet to come in and buy a house.
Lately 50% of buyers are buying within the first 30 days. That means that 50% of buyers take longer than 30 days to buy a home. If a sales agent gives up too quickly a prospective home buyer can be lost, or even worse – pissed off by the lack of care and attention. Let OSCs do what they are trained to do: develop the leads and pass them on to sales when the lead is ready.
Don’t Break the Process