How Can We Engage New Home Buyers As Fears Increase Over COVID-19

Builders who already have online sales counselors already have a leg up in helping to alleviate concerns as they engage and interact as the front-line for new home builders.

As an online sales counselor, we already work virtually and there is a way that we can help ease some of the fear factor home buyers may be experiencing surrounding COVID-19 especially when it comes to setting up appointments and sales for our communities.

I’ve watched things escalate over the past week and while we are joking about no toilet paper at Costco, and whether or not we should have in-person meetings and events, how is that going to actually effect the building industry and sales?

It may mean relying more heavily on virtual techniques and virtual engagement, something your OSC is already an expert at and can help get the rest of your team up to speed with, but first there needs to be an action plan.

Have a Team Meeting (Possibly Virtually) Create a Company Plan

This is the time to have a sit-down team sales meeting (maybe virtually) and discuss what the strategy is moving forward.  There needs to be a united front that comes from the top down on how to handle consumer concerns. By utilizing the tools that Online Sales Counselors already have, those that are already versed in these techniques are going to do better and have a better on-the-ground turnaround as we pivot to a different way of looking at sales appointments.

Consider Offering Virtual Appointments

Today in one of the groups for online salespeople, someone asked the question as to whether or not anyone is seeing a drop in leads due to Coronavirus. As salespeople and OSCs began to chime in my immediate response was this:

“It’s a good time to offer virtual tours in place of in-person appointments. Doing an actual video or live video/zoom meeting with prospects can address their concerns and yet allow them to take into consideration that interest rates are super low right now.”

The OSCs Should Not Be Running Virtual Appointments

This is perfect time to work on scheduling and offering virtual tours and live video tour appointments. Your site agents can utilize Zoom or Skype or other live video software and provide a tour and a live Q&A with a site agent so they can still get their questions answered, begin to get a feel for the community, and keep the momentum moving.  After all, all my friends in the mortgage industry can’t keep up with these record low mortgage rates.

For OSCs who already use video email and live video to talk with people and set appointments they will be able to provide insight and assistance to help teach the value of video and virtual appointments to the site agents. As an OSC you should not be leading the virtual appointment, but instead be able to set the site agents up for successful virtual interactions with their appointments.

Get Ready for an Uptick in Online Traffic

I believe that OSCs will probably see an uptick in online traffic and inquiries because more so than ever, they are going to have people asking questions before they make a decision to go out and visit the site. But if your traffic is down it’s a good time to work on aged leads and let them know what your builder’s new policy is to help them navigate any fears they may have built up in their mind about visiting a new home site.We don’t want home buyers to miss out, and in a time of uncertainty we want to make sure we are still here, rock solid and stable.

Setting Expectations and Execution of Clean Model Homes

Also emphasizing cleaning processes of the models and keeping them spick and span is more important than ever.

Wiping down: Doorknobs, pens, appliance handles, toilets, faucets and knobs are all important. Keeping a clutter free work area will set people at ease when they are walking into the models for those who are willing to make in-person appointments. Joking about not shaking hands and perfecting your wave and winning smile will be a gentle ice breaker. Having sanitizing wipes in plain sight will offer reassurance.

We used to offer home baked cookies… now we can offer a squirt of our favorite hand sanitizer.  It’s important during situations such as the Coronavirus that we do not feed into the fear or the miss information, nor do we downplay it and take it lightly. But instead we lean into it virtually and look at ways we can refine our process to keep everyone safe, and still confident about buying a new home.