We are excited to introduce the OSC of the Month series to the Lasso Blog! This series began in the Facebook group, Selling New Homes Online, which Lasso helps moderate. These Online Sales Counselors have so many great tips and insightful advice, we wanted to share here on the blog as well!
We are kicking off the series with Jodie McCormick, Online Sales Consultant for Infinity Custom Homes in Pittsburgh, PA. Jodie has over 10 years of experience working in new home sales, and has quite a bit of knowledge to share. Read on for her perspective on closing techniques and her words of advice for every online salesperson.
1) What was your career path to becoming an OSC?
I started with Heartland Homes, a small family owned custom home builder in Pittsburgh, back in February 2008 as a sales assistant. A few years later I was promoted as sales representative. In 2012 I had the honor of joining the OSC team at Heartland Homes, working under Kevin Oakley at Do You Convert and Sara Williams (now at Lasso CRM) as the second OSC. And if that were not enough, I also had the privilege of being trained by Mike Lyon at Do You Convert and other key players in our industry, Myers Barnes and Jeff Shore. I later joined the NVR group when Heartland Homes was acquired by NVR Corporation.
2) How many online leads do you manage monthly?
I manage anywhere between 100-150 online and model home leads. I follow up not only with incoming calls, online leads and chats, but also with all model leads.
3) How have you seen online home sales change in the last few years?
The OSC role is becoming increasingly important as technology grows and as buying habits change. More buyers are starting their search online and making quicker decisions since they have spent so much time educating themselves on the market and your specific company.
4) How do you see the OSC role evolving over the next few years?
OSCs are now more recognized in the industry as a vital role in the sales process. We are helping people over the phone/online prior to stopping at a model and expediting the sales process. More than ever, onsite sales representatives are appreciating this role because we are saving them time and getting qualified buyers, who are ready, willing, and able, in front of them. This is still a growing position and many builders are now getting board with having an OSC and process in place.
5) What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? What do you do to overcome that challenge?
Work/Life balance is challenging but I think every OSC feels same way. Most OSCs have a very caring nature which is a great quality; however, we are hard on ourselves and we struggle to say no. People are drawn to our homes all across the country and internationally and will reach out to us at all hours. One way to overcome the challenge is if someone calls in during a time that I am with family, playing with my kids, or getting ready for bed, I will follow up promptly with a quick text and ask if I can call back at another time.
6) What is the most useful technology tool to your job?
Lasso CRM!!!!! Texting is also something I have added into my follow-up and I am seeing tremendous results. Our culture views texting as a valuable tool, and is no longer viewed as unprofessional. In most cases clients will be more receptive to respond as an initial contact and future follow-ups. There are other effective tools that we are incorporating, such as LiveChat, and BombBomb video emails.
7) What is your “go to” closing technique to get an appointment?
If the people on the other end of the phone know that you genuinely care about what is important to them and their family with regards to their home search, you really do not need to actually close. Scheduling an appointment naturally occurs once you have had a fruitful conversation with a home buyer where what we offer is a possible match that warrants a further conversation. I use the word “conversation” instead of “appointment.”
In some situations if I will incorporate the Dating and Marriage concept, which is a little more humorous and light-hearted. I relate meeting with our team as first date. You cannot get to the marriage part (building a home) until you go on some dates. At some point, you will eventually find “the one.” Kind of cliché, but if executed properly, it works well.
8) What/Who are your “go-to” resources for training and/or support?
I have a great support system at Infinity. I go to Amanda Druschel (our Sales & Marketing Director) and my co-workers for advice. Sara Williams at Lasso is another great resource since she is considered an expert in the Online Sales and Marketing field. I reach out to other OSCs that I have either worked with in the past or ones that I have met in our industry. I utilize websites like howtopronounce.com in case I am not sure how to pronounce a buyer’s name and want to impress them.
9) Do you have any specific successes you’d like to highlight?
I do not necessarily have one specific success that I would like to highlight. I would just say that I am proud and grateful for the opportunity to have initial communication with close to every client that ends up building their dream home with Infinity.
10) Any tips or advice for fellow online salespeople and marketers?
YES!!!!! First, activity breads activity. Just pick up the phone and make calls, even when you do not feel like it sometimes. I suggest not waiting until a slow period, but maybe make 10-20 calls a day on top of your normal activity, or whatever is manageable – even if only 5 – and your funnel will always be full. Making calls after 5 p.m. sometimes works really well. REALTOR calls also are a personal fave. You always want to stay top of mind with them.
Second, the goal with every lead is to get them on the phone. Of course chat, text and email are extremely effective ways to initiate conversations and to follow up from previous conversations. But before scheduling any appointment, I feel it is important to get them on the phone. I should clarify, though, that I have had situations where I could only communicate with someone via text or email and they ended up scheduling an appointment and building a home, but that is rare. So many details are left out in translation except for phone calls and the real magic happens when you are having a verbal conversation.
11) Favorite thing to do outside of work?
I enjoy working out and learning more about nutrition, fitness and health. I also love spending time my husband and kids (18, 13, and 4). We love to go swimming, biking, hiking, and just spending time together outdoors. We also enjoy binge watching NetFlix shows.
Congratulations, Jodie, you are certainly a star in this industry!
For daily tips about marketing and selling new homes online, join us on Facebook!