Don’t Kill Your Unicorn

“They Are Cutting My Pay!”

The worst text ever to get from a friend who is an online sales counselor. I’ve been there. I know it’s a gut punch. I remember that punch.

Back in 2009 when I was an OSC, after two years of fighting the market downturn, my pay got restructured and I was expected to work just as hard, with no bonuses or incentives. Lucky for that builder I had a very strong work ethic so I stayed for 8 more months after they made this change. But work ethic burns out when there is a lack of appreciation, lack of compensation, and a general feeling of being taken advantage of will take its toll. It also came at a time that my husband was being transferred with the military and I knew it was time for a fresh start. This perfect storm gave birth to Blue Gypsy Inc. In the end, it was all good. But maybe not so much for my builder. They didn’t replace me and didn’t resurrect the OSC position until around 2014. Now it’s moving and grooving under an amazing leadership and from what I can tell some pretty kick butt OSCs. Hopefully they won’t repeat history and their OSC program will keep purring along.

As uncertainty creeps in, and the market begins to shift right now, it’s the worst time to lose your OSC program. It’s in these moments where every lead is going to count. If not today, then next month, or in the next quarter. You want to make sure your lead nurturing is on point, and you truly have a well-functioning, well oiled, online sales program. This is where persistent, consistent processes will be important and just shoving the leads off to your agents isn’t the right thing to do. So…DON’T KILL YOUR UNICORN!

The surefire way to get a top performing person to quit, is to tell them they are earning too much money and you are going to cut their pay. This really goes for any salesperson anywhere. It’s not just in the building industry. I had a friend who was an outside salesperson for a medical company. She worked her butt off cultivating clients and spent her life on the road traveling in her region all over Maryland, Virginia. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. When they decided she was making too much money they reformatted her territory and gave some of her existing clients that she cultivated to someone else. Yep. She didn’t stick around long after that.

My fuming friend who texted me the other night… she may quit.  I don’t know. If she does, I don’t blame her. She works her butt off, and she is a top performer, that’s why she makes a lot of money. Go figure.

Builders, please hear this – Your top performing OSCs should be able to earn 6 digits. And if they are, don’t try to knock them back to under 100K just because some way, somehow, somewhere, you have heard a range of what an OSC should be making. There are so many contributing factors to pay and earnings there is no way to make a blanket statement about what to pay OSCs other than to make sure the earning potential is there to keep top talent.

I’m here for builders to help them create strong successful OSC programs that help support their sales goals and their growth. I am a consultant, a strategist, and an advocate for creating abundance. And as such I’m here to make sure builders don’t shoot themselves in the butt.

About a year ago I wrote a post called I’m Not Just an Online Sales Counselor Trainer, I’m an OSC Advocate. And at the end of 2020 I wrote Help!! My OSC is Making Too Much Money! These both fall under the category of DON’T KILL YOUR UNICORN. These were cautionary tales I wrote when I first heard builders changing pay structures, and now it’s happening more and more.

If there is any knowledge I can impart to you it’s to look at the long game. I’m not sugar coating this. Too many knee jerk decisions are made in our industry that hurt builders in the long run. Short term gain isn’t worth ruining long-term growth, integrity, company culture, quality…shall I go on?

These are just some of the knee jerk reactions I’ve seen and heard, and seen go bad, and seen repeated over a 16 year cycle.

  • The Market’s UP! We don’t need site agents, anyone can write a contract!
  • People are buying homes hand over fist, we don’t need OSCs.
  • We have more leads than homes to sell, cut the Marketing Budget.
  • Things cost so much, cut the real estate agent compensation.
  • OSCs are getting all the leads, let them write the contracts.

It’s so crazy pants some of the things I hear. I could write a blog post about every one of those decisions (I probably have). Honestly, I can talk your ear off about why these are all bad ideas. And in 6 months, a year, 3 years, you will say “Leah, you were right.” Believe me. It happens.

So please, don’t kill your unicorn. Don’t cut the OSCs pay. If anything, give them a raise for all the hard work they’ve done in the last two and a half years. They’ve earned it. And if you aren’t sure how or why you should structure your pay in a certain way, talk with me, I have a spread sheet I use to show you how to pay based on your growth and goals and your OSC expectations. But it also means you have to hold up your end of the deal with proper lead generation.

Take it from someone who started out in this industry making one of the lowest possible incomes and working at a high level of dedication and commitment, rewarding people while providing a strong company culture, and a path toward growth will help you keep talent. This is what you need during any slow down and when they are drinking through a fire hose.