Agent, OSC, and Customer Communication for the Perfect Hand-Off

creating the right lead hand-off from online sales to onsite salesYou know the old saying buyers are liars? Well they aren’t liars, but sometimes they get their information wrong. And at times that can cause strife between OSC’s and Agents. That’s why it’s so important to get the lead hand-off right.

Often when we teach the lead hand-off between online and onsite it’s a one-time training and we just figure everyone will remember forever and always. But that’s not the case. The lead hand-off should be an ongoing discussion and something that helps create rapport between site agents and online sale people.

Inevitably scenarios happen like a client seems to “no show” to an appointment. But then the OSC gets a call that the client is lost. Or worse the client is sitting at the wrong address waiting for someone that isn’t going to be there. Or maybe the OSC gets a call that the agent is pissed, because the client no showed. And meanwhile the OSC is caught in the middle.

Communication can get fumbled easily in these scenarios, and sometimes human nature, and knee jerk reactions raise stress levels for everyone involved.

We can get busy playing the blame game… Or we can continue to refine our lead hand-off process.

Remember there are 3 different perspectives on what is going on and they all intersect. What is actually happening falls somewhere in the middle.

Clear Introductions and Directions

The OSC needs to create a clear introduction when setting an appointment. In every appointment it should include the agent’s name, the location where they will be meeting, and special emphasis if it is different than the community or area where they inquire. Nothing worse than having someone show up where there’s only a patch of dirt where a community should be, because the models are in other communities and in many cases right now there’s nothing to see in the upcoming location where the buyer wants to buy.

As the OSC emphasizes in the appointment who the prospective buyer is going to meet, a hand-off video is even better introducing the agent whenever possible. I highly recommend taking the budget and time to create videos with every OSC and every new home sales agent. Where the OSC is introducing the new home sales agent and visually showing the hand-off.

Possible Script:
We are so excited for your upcoming visit to view one of our premier communities. I’m Leah your online sales counselor, and I’ve loved getting to know you. Your next step will be to meet our onsite sales specialist Nick, who will give you a wonderful community tour and help answer more in-depth questions as you see what Superior Homes has to offer. Hi, I’m Nick and I’m looking forward to meeting you in person and assisting you with all the information you need as you tour our community. I look forward to seeing you soon!

This visual hand-off does two things:

  • One, it gives the buyer a chance to see that they’ve been talking with one person, and they will now be changing to another.
  • Two, it gives the OSC and the site agent a chance to spend a little time together in person. Strengthening that bond.

It’s just as important for the OSC and the site agent to build a cohesive team as it is for the OSC to build rapport with the prospect.

Agent Responsibility

Once the agent gets an introduction to the buyer via email and in the form of the appointment. It’s important that they consistently remember to reach out to the buyer, So, wonderful to meet you Mr. Matthews, I look forward to seeing you at our upcoming appointment. If you have any problems with the directions day of, feel free to give me a call at 555-555-5555 and I will help you with any landmarks to make your trip easy.

What Not To Do

The introduction on the agent’s part is not a time to get the buyer on the phone and talk them out of the appointment. Don’t try to do your sales process over the phone. Don’t try to introduce doubt to the buyer on whether or not they should come in. The OSC is doing that already for you, don’t pick apart the process.

Within 24 Hours Before the Appointment

A reminder should go out either from both the OSC and the Agent reiterating their role in the hand-off.

From the Agent: Hi Client’s name, I’m Nick, I’m the onsite specialist you’ll be meeting with at 1234 address, at 10:10am time. I’m excited to meet with you. If you get lost, please give me a call at 555-555-5555. Don’t give them an option to change their mind.

From the OSC: Hi Client’s name, Nick is looking forward to meeting with you at 10:10am time and 1234 address. If you need anything give him a call directly – 555-555-5555 and if for some reason you can’t reach him, you can always reach back out to me. 555-555-5555.  Enjoy your visit! I look forward to hearing what you think of the community.

The reminders should contain: the appointment time, who they are meeting with, the agent’s phone number, and the address where they are going. Sounds easy, but it just doesn’t always happen.

If The Buyer is Late

Within 10 minutes of a no show the agent should be picking up the phone and calling the buyer to see if the buyer is lost. We all know that often new home addresses and models are not easily found in a GPS. Help the buyers out. They could be driving around lost, or worse – sitting at another model waiting for you and they think YOU are the no show.

Things Not to Do

Do not play the blame game.

From the Agent’s perspective: If a buyer no shows, is late, or calls from the wrong location don’t immediately assume the OSC has screwed up and given them wrong information.

From the OSC’s perspective: Likewise, if a buyer calls and says there is no agent there, calmly have them tell you where they are. They may think they are in the right place, but they very well may be in the wrong location. Then let them know that the agent is one of the best and if they are not there you want to double check and make sure everything is okay.

There are always mix ups. Things happen. The most important thing is to maintain a professional environment where the OSC’s and Agents support each other and strive for a strong customer experience. No one should be throwing anyone under the bus. No matter how angry or panicked a buyer sounds because things aren’t going smoothly, we all must maintain a pro-active positive environment.

It’s all too easy to pick up the buyer’s panicked energy and let it fluster you. Agents and OSCs need to be a cohesive team. The strong hand-off helps to create a seamless buyer experience.

Practice makes perfect, but each team member must remember their role and their responsibilities in the hand-off.  When done systematically and the same every single time there is less likelihood of no shows and mix-ups.