As I got going writing this up, I realized it was waaaaayyyyy too long for a single blog post. So here’s part one of three!
As an online sales counselor, whether you are new, or you’ve been doing this a while there are questions you simply can’t answer. Either because you don’t know the answer, the information doesn’t exist, or it’s not your question to answer…
I’ll explain these scenarios in a three part series, but no matter what, never say, “I don’t know.”
The minute you say, “I don’t know,” over the phone you’ve lost that buyer’s trust. The very thing you are there to build in order to set a strong appointment. This is often when an OSC hears those words, “Well connect me with someone who does know.”
This doesn’t mean lie. It doesn’t mean misdirect. It doesn’t mean take a stab at it and hope for the best, and It doesn’t mean stay in your lane… there’s a very good reason for you to not answer certain types of questions and a way to say I don’t know, without saying I don’t know.
Scenario One: You Don’t Actually Know the Answer off The Top of Your Head
You are a newbie OSC and someone calls in and asks about the HOA fees and you have not yet committed those to memory. Rather than saying, “I don’t know, let me look that up for you,” and then leaving 45 seconds of dead air space as you get into your Z drive of your slow computer…. Meanwhile kind of irritating the potential home buyer on the other end of the phone who has been researching your community or your builders for days, weeks, or months and finally picked up the phone to call… This is how to handle that scenario without uttering the words, “I don’t know.”
Prospective Buyer, “What are the HOA fee for Groveland South.”
“That’s a wonderful question, we have a variety of communities and all their HOA’s are different depending on what they cover. They range from $X to $Y – While I look up that specific community and their HOA fees, tell me more about what caught your eye about Groveland South? And what were you hoping the HOA fees would cover?”
In reality you should have a cheat sheet with all the top info you’ll get asked on a regular basis for each community. I often suggest this be put in an old-school binder and ride around in your computer bag with your laptop. You may not always be able to fire up and find every digital cheat sheet, sometimes the old-school methods can help you be faster. After all, 45 seconds to wait for a system to come online can be an eternity of dead air on your phone. Flipping to a binder sectioned off in 7 communities, with each community having a cheat sheet of top info takes seconds.
Asking a question while you look up information helps fill the void and give you more information on their actual home search. And hopefully you can multitask and listen while looking it up. Why was the HOA so important for them to know about? Was that the last piece of the puzzle they needed in order to set an appointment?
In all cases – always know the ranges. Have things written down. And don’t make stuff up if you really don’t know. There are all kinds of ways to get information for someone without giving away trust or control. Other questions could stump you, but you need to keep moving.
“That’s a great question, and I want to make sure I give you the most current information on that, I need to do a little research… in the meantime, tell me more about what you are looking for so I can best assist you.”
“Wonderful question, I am new to this role, and I want to make sure I give you the correct information, I need to double check that, what other things did you want to know about the community? We actually build in 7 different communities, what was it about that one that stood out to you?
Whenever you are new, there are going to be questions you come up against that you just don’t know. That’s okay. It’s okay to let people know you are new, sometimes they will give you more grace. It’s okay to say, I want to verify that information for you. I want to make sure I give you the most up to date information. That’s a complex question and one I haven’t heard before, let me do some research for you.
No matter what you say, it’s not the end of the conversation, but the beginning. You need to continue your discovery as this may be the one and only time you get this prospect on the phone. “While I research that for you, were there other things you wanted to know?”
“Okay well to help me help you, please give me a little more information on your home search. Do you have an area you are interested in, we may have more communities that fit your needs.”
“Do you have a price range in mind? We may have other homes in other communities that fall into your desired range.”
And so on, keep the conversation flowing and keep discovering the things that are important with the intent to get back to them with a direct answer and the right answer to their question.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Don’t Say I Don’t Know.