Creating a successful online sales counselor program doesn’t happen over night, and it doesn’t happen by accident. Here are a few details to help you assess or get started thinking about how to start or improve your online sales program. There are so many more details I could share about setting up a successful OSC program, but I’m going to try to give you some of the 8 essential things you should think about when either starting or evaluating your current program that will help you get the most out of it.
1 – Audit and Evaluate Your Goals and Metrics – Before you make any changes take a breath and figure out what your goals and objectives are, and then evaluate where you currently are. This means taking a look at your lead generation, your current goals for sales, and your plans for the next couple of years as well.
2 – Shop Your Own Website – All too often websites are not set up for ease of use for the buyer. You need to take a look at your website through your buyers’ eyes. What do they want to find, how easy is it to find those things, where can you make things easier, faster, clearer, and concise? Is it mobile friendly? Stop sacrificing usability for design.
3 – Survey Your Tools – What sort of tools do you have right now for someone doing follow up with your prospects? Do you have a calling system that branches calls to different departments and has the ability to track in and outbound calls? Do you have a CRM system and is it user friendly? What other tools do you have? Do you even fully understand everything you need?
4 – Assess Your Time – What kind of time do you have to actually evaluate and improve your program? Do you even know what you are looking for? All too often I meet builders who know they need to make changes, but they don’t know where to begin. You wouldn’t try to change the engine in your car with no mechanical skills, why would you try to put in place one of the most important programs that influence your company sales without expert help?
5 – Know Where are Your Leads Going – You pay a lot of marketing dollars to generate inquiries to your website or even through third party sites like Zillow, BDX, and the like. Where are you sending those leads and how are they being handled? Right now you already have an OSC, a team, or they are going to your marketing department, or your site agents. Or for very small builders they may be coming straight to you, or your office manager… there are many places we see new leads going. Once they get there how are they being handled? Is it consistent? Is it persistent? Is it process driven?
6 – Shop Your Process – Do you already have an OSC or a marketing process when a new lead comes in? Shop that process, take a look at the messaging, what would a buyer receive today if they were to inquire off your website? What would that look like 30 – 90 – 180 days from today? You need to know where you are to know where you are going.
7 – Hire the Right Person – This isn’t an entry level role, nor is it a place where you can just put someone in and get excellent results. You need to make sure you are hiring for this role with the idea of longevity in mind. Someone who wants to grow the role, be proud of it, and grow your department over time. It’s not someone who is just sitting in this seat temporarily so that they can gain knowledge and run your marketing, your social media, or go out on the sales site. You are looking for a person with different priorities.
8 – Support and Training – The role of the online sales counselor, or even the teams can be a lonely one. They are situated between marketing and sales. They have different goals and objectives and different personalities than your typical marketer or your typical salesperson. While many people can “figure it out” it may take time, missteps, and cause friction along the way. When you have the right support, coaching and training an OSC can be set on a quicker path to success and your whole company can be more confident in the program. But it’s important not to train in a bubble. Training, mentoring, and coaching is not just for the OSC or the OSC Team, it’s also for the leadership in the company on how to think about this program, and for the sales team on how to engage with this department. The more support and training there is the better the program adoption will be and the stronger the entire sales process will be.
Ultimately there are many considerations in keeping your online sales program in top shape. This list just scratches the surface. But if you’d like to discuss it more you can reach out and set up a virtual coffee with me. I’m more than happy to help.