In the new home sales industry, we’re constantly holding out hope that the next prospect who registers online or walks into the sales center will write a contract and close within 30 days. While that does happen every now and again, the equally imperative task should be moving the majority of prospects more quickly along the sales cycle. Here are five suggestions to help with this achievable task.
1. Fast Response Time – Studies have shown that calling online leads within one minute of registration increases the conversion rate by 391 percent*. While it may be a tall order for every lead to be contacted this quickly, it’s evident that speed wins the race. Here are two ways to increase your follow-up response time.
- Online Sales Counselor – The sole responsibility of an Online Sales Counselor (OSC) is to qualify leads and convert them to appointments for the onsite sales team. With 9 out of 10 home buyers starting their searches online, and the exponential growth of online marketing, more consumers are conducting research on the Internet before ever stepping foot in a sales center. With an OSC, leads are effectively managed, quickly contacted and properly nurtured, freeing up the onsite team to focus on the hottest prospects and revenue-generating tasks.
- Auto-Reply Emails – Once a lead registers on your website, an automatically generated email reply lets them know their request was received and is important. It also buys the sales rep or OSC a couple of minutes to craft a personalized response, and provides an opportunity to draw leads further into your website or social media channels.
2. Lead Qualification – It’s important to grade every single lead in the database so that the appropriate sales process can be quickly launched based on need and interest. Many builders use A, B, C, D or Hot, Warm, Cool to grade prospects. Grading online leads is just as important as grading walk-ins, since they are oftentimes more qualified, they are actively looking at your community, and have expressed interest. Here is where an Online Sales Counselor can be an outstanding asset. On average, it takes between 5-7 points of contact before an online lead will respond. This can be a time-consuming process, but often pays off with an appointment conversion. The OSC’s job is to provide relevant, enticing information with each point of contact until the lead responds.
3. Lead Nurturing – Prospects in various stages of the sales cycle don’t have the same needs, so why feed them all the same information? For example, an A prospect who has visited the sales center twice may benefit from financing information, while a C prospect who is waiting to sell her home could use “top-of-mind” reminders like an e-newsletters or pricing updates. Tailor your content to what a particular prospect needs to pique interest and quicken response time.
4. Prospect Web Tracking – With website analytics and registrant tracking tools built into your CRM, you never have to guess what information your prospects are viewing online. You’ll know which of your webpages they’re looking at, which floor plans or amenities they’re most interested in, and how long they’re spending on each piece of content. These are all indicators of interest level, and can be used to tailor and focus your sales presentations to meet those interests.
5. Reporting & Metrics – With the ability to review big-picture data and trends, it’s easy to see which sales and marketing programs are most effective, and where there are opportunities for improvement. Sales managers are able to see patterns in salesperson behavior, enabling them to coach their teams to better results. Marketing managers can see which sources are driving the most qualified leads and how budgets should be prioritized.
Shortening the sales cycle is about being responsive, connecting with prospects on a personal level, understanding their interests and needs, and providing relevant, timely information that creates urgency and prompts action. Want more ideas to help shorten the sales cycle? Contact a Lasso team member or subscribe to the Lasso CRM Blog. For more information on the Online Sales Counselor, visit DoYouConvert.com or download the OSC white paper.