Chat Girl: Ms. Marvel or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Did I catch your attention? Are you wondering more about my TV watching and how this could possibly relate to Online Sales?

Today I got a call from Chat Girl, and it was eye-opening and reinforcing why online sales training is so important and why you can’t just slap a Band-Aid on it. Some builders don’t have Online Sales Programs, but they do have live chat on their website. Some builders have OSC programs and Live Chat, and they still use it incorrectly. But builders with well-structured online sales programs and a smart implementation of live chat have some great potential for lead generation and conversion.

Let me explain. I used to be very anti live chat because I saw too many builders using it wrong, and when builders would call me up and ask me about chat, I’d talk with them first about setting up a proper OSC program and then exploring live chat for lead generation further down the road. Chat should just be a single tool in the OSC toolbox. It shouldn’t be the only thing a builder is using to generate leads, and if it is, it’s often being used wrong.

On my call today, as Chat Girl described what she was doing for the builder, I immediately pictured the whole Chat Girl thing going one of two ways.

One is Chat Girl Mrs. Maisel Style

Lately I’ve been binge-watching the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which is about a 1960’s housewife turned standup comedian in New York City. It is the perfect caricature of women and the expectations of them being in the home, being pretty for their husbands, and not working salacious jobs like standup comedy. It shows all the roadblocks she has to success. And there is one point where she is working at a departments store (What’s that?) at the makeup counter and gets demoted to the switchboard (what’s that??) where all she can do is route calls instead of help people buy makeup, even though she was exceptional at matching the right lip color to the right complexion.

Sometimes I feel like this happens to OSCs, or if a builder doesn’t even have an OSC but just has someone manning the chat, they really are expected to hand off the lead as quickly as possible to salespeople switchboard style, and not get too involved in lead qualification. This is when OSCs get mistaken for secretaries. In this day and age, if you are going to put someone on chat, you should be doing it as an overall strategy to a successful online sales program. Not just a quick hot potato handoff to the sales agents. If you just have a switchboard operator you are creating too many missed opportunities and lost leads.

The other is Chat Girl Ms. Marvel Style

Yes, another show I’ve recently binge watched with my husband is Ms. Marvel teenage superhero. Gotta stay up to date with the Marvel Universe so I can go to movies with my husband.  But this Chat Girl in my mind, is a superhero trying to find her way in the world. Her origin story is interesting and when she finds out she has powers she needs people to help her hone them for good.

This Chat Girl is the superhero who converts leads as part of a strong online sales program with well thought out benchmarks, and goals. This is where the superhero swoops in on any channel – not just live chat – and assists the buyers within 5 minutes or less but works with them to find out more about what their wants, needs, and desires are so that she can help set expectations for the new home buyer before the appointment.

Chat Girl, the superhero, is not hindered by antiquated ideas or misconceptions that believe she can’t convert a lead into a viable sale like Mrs. Maisel who is relegated to the switchboard. Chat Girl the superhero is given the runway to do her job and do it well, and she can show the metrics to back it up.

Be Strategic

If you are planning on hiring a Chat Girl (or Boy) then make sure it’s part of a well throughout program and strategy. Not just someone who is tasked with answering the online chats and quickly shuffling them to the agents. Without enough information these leads will get dropped if the agents don’t have enough information or the prospect does not reply immediately.