The past couple of posts have explored how to build trust and not use the words, “I don’t know.”
It’s not that we are trying to be dishonest when we don’t know the answer check out Scenario One for situations where we just may not know the information because we are new, or we haven’t committed something we SHOULD know to memory.
Or that we are trying to be deceptive when we haven’t been given information yet on something in particular like an upcoming community check out Scenario Two.
Our goal as OSCs is always to build a relationship and rapport with the person who calls us with questions about a community. Many times, their questions and what they are looking at can be used as a jumping off point to better understand what they want. We need to be proactive vs reactive with our answers. It’s not just a Q&A when you get a phone call. It’s the starting point of a beautiful relationship with the new home builder who will be building their dream home, and we need to make sure people get the correct information.
But sometimes the question may not be the OSC’s to answer. This scenario is a hard one.
Scenario Three: It’s Not Your Question to Answer
You’ve been an OSC for a long time. You know enough to make you dangerous. You know how much it costs to put hardwood floors in the Madison, you know what it will cost to add the third car garage to the Jefferson, and you know what the breakfast bump-out costs in the Washington, and you know the price varies for finished basements in all of those floor plans.
But you aren’t supposed to know. That’s a question for the site agent, or so we’ve been told. In reality ALL of this information should be transparent and online, but it’s not for an OSC to answer. But there’s a reason for that…
If you tell Mr. Jones, the hardwood floors in the Madison are a $21,000 upgrade, and then when he goes out to the community and wants to build the Washington with the hardwood floors, and those are a $33,000 upgrade. Well Mr. Jones is going to say, “Well Leah told me they’d only be $21,000.” He figures it’s all the same. He didn’t remember which floor plan he was talking about online. He isn’t factoring in that when he went out to site and fell in love with the Washington, it was 800 sq ft bigger than the Madison which he originally asked about… see where I’m going with this?
But you don’t want to lie and say those three trust-erasing, irritating words, “I don’t know.”
What you can say to Mr. Jones is, “Mr. Jones, the pricing for the hardwood floors will vary depending on the flooring you choose and the model you ultimately end up falling in love with. Tell me what it is about the Madison that caught your eye?”
Hopefully Mr. Jones will open up to you and tell you more about what he liked about the Madison. One of two things will happen – he’ll open up to you… or, he will say, I just want to know what the hardwood floors cost in that house.
That’s where you can say, “Flooring can range from $20K – 50K depending on the floor plan you choose. Do you have a price range in mind? The Madison starts from $450,000 without any options. Does that fit your budget?”
Always know your ranges – don’t commit to a price. You are still trying to get timeframe, price range and area as part of your discovery from Mr. Jones. Hopefully he’ll say that does or doesn’t fit his budget. IF it does fit his budget you can say, “Great Mr. Jones what was it specifically about the Madison that you liked, we do have 2 other floor plans in that neighborhood that fall into the same range. I’d love to help you find the right fit.”
Or Mr. Jones may say that doesn’t fit his price range. “Well Mr. Jones, the great thing about talking with me, is that I have information on all 10 of our communities in the area, and the homes range from the low $300’s upward. Maybe we can find something that does fit your budget, tell me more about what you want in your home and where you want to be.”
Now if you’ve been talking to Mr. Jones for quite a while – a while could be 15 minutes on the phone, 3 emails back and forth, several weeks of intermittent communication – and he finally asks, “Well what is the price of hardwood flooring in the Madison.”
You can say, “you know that’s a great question for our site agent, Jennifer. She has all the details and pricing on options for the houses. Your best bet is to go out and make sure you are in love with the Madison before we start pricing out options. You might get there and fall in love with the Washington instead.”
You could easily spend hours and hours pricing out houses for buyers over the phone, but the objective is once we know what they want, why they want it, when they want it and how much they can spend… it’s time for them to go visit the community and make sure it’s a good fit. It’s not that you don’t know. It’s that you don’t want to give someone information that isn’t relevant once they get there.
If Mr. Jones keeps insisting on the pricing for the floor plan you can revert to ranges, and let him know, “Mr. Jones, I work with all 10 of our communities, and know enough about each of our 58 floor plans to make me dangerous. I know hardwood can be as low as 20k and goes up to as much as 52k I’d hate to tell you an exact price and be wrong. There are so many factors when picking your hardwood. Your best bet is to set up an appointment with Jennifer, make sure you fall in love with the community and the Madison and then she can start pricing out the details for you.”
An OSC’s job is not to sell the house, but to sell the appointment. It’s also not to set any appointment it’s to set a qualified appointment. It’s not just to get a customer’s information, it’s to grow their trust. An OSC creates the first impressions of the builder, it’s not in our nature or our job description to say, “I don’t know.”