Our Online Sales Counselor of the Month is Karen Reichert with The Providence Group in Johns Creek, GA! Karen has worked in new home sales since 2002, and has seen the landscape shift from analog to digital. Her recommendation is to become an digital expert, but never forget the power of a personal touch.
What is your company, role and location?
I am the Online Home Advisor for The Providence Group in Johns Creek, GA.
How long have you been in your role/or working in new home sales?
I have been in new home sales since 2002, starting as a closing coordinator in my senior year of college. Since March of 2016 I’ve been the Online Home Advisor at The Providence Group.
What was your career path to becoming an OSC?
In my senior year of college, while working as a closing coordinator and finishing up my degree from UCF in Liberal Arts (with a minor in Marketing), I knew new home sales was the perfect fit of doing good in the community I lived in by helping families build their lives and being able to put my creative energy to good use.
Right after I graduated, I was promoted to Marketing Manager and I worked for six years prior to the unfortunate turn in 2008. During that time, I worked in the marketing departments for the American Heart Association and Simon Property Group, but I always wanted to venture back to new home sales.
In 2013, I made my way back to new home sale but quickly realized the game had changed. During my time away, digital marketing became the main channel of content distribution. With that, a new set of evaluation/analysis tools was needed to understand all market conditions. I set out to become an expert in in all things digital marketing, which lead me to The Providence Group!
How many online leads do you manage monthly?
I average over 250 leads per month and manage a database of over 17,000 leads.
How have you seen online home sales change in the last few years?
Online home sales over the last few years has gone from consumers that did not know how to use the internet for their due diligence to leads that have become “007” experts with an attention span of less than seven seconds. This has changed how the content flows, the delivery of messaging, and the urgency to respond to incoming leads as quickly as possible.
How do you see your role/or the OSC role evolving over the next few years?
The Online Home Advisor role has become less of a sales role and more of a digital marketer that drives lead generation and engagement. Being experts in engaging content will be key. Some tools that I see the Online Home Advisor using more and more of is video and its use in follow-up as well as in advertising. The robotics of our industry needs the personal touch that only the Online Home Advisor has a chance to create for the end user and sometimes is the reason the lead walks through the decorated model or sales office.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? What do you do to overcome that challenge?
The most challenging part of my job is balancing giving too much information away and being vague all at the same time to convert to an appointment! In these situations, I try to see what information is needed for leads to make the next step in the buying cycle vs. answering all their questions and possibly telling them the one thing they did not want to hear (pricing, availability, etc.). My main job is to get leads to the communities, so I don’t want them to hear the reason they don’t schedule a VIP tour!
What is the most useful technology tool to your job?
My phone! Calling leads and texting leads as quickly as possible is the most effective way to make a personal connection.
What is your “go to” closing technique to get an appointment?
My go to close is, “How about a one-on-one with our Community Sales Manager so that you can ask specific questions about each home site and home design available?”
What/Who are your “go-to” resources for training and/or support?
Since being at The Providence Group, I have made friends with everyone in the office who supports the field. It is useful for when my VP of Sales and Marketing is not nearby and none of our Community Sales Managers are answering their phones! I have learned who has what information and programs to assist me in helping leads in their new home search.
Do you have any specific successes you’d like to highlight?
I have taken the initiative to become a superuser in Lasso, taking on the lead trainer role for our community sales managers and new hires. I help make them proficient in the tool so that the company maximizes each lead.
Any tips or advice for fellow online salespeople and marketers?
Don’t be afraid of the phone! Most of the leads I work with appreciate the timeliness of my response to their inquiry and appreciate that I had the right information and picked up the phone and called them.
Favorite thing to do outside of work?
I am the proud mother a seven-year-old named Kasen. We love movie nights, going on travel adventures, and playing superheroes with the most magical powers!
Read about more OSCs of the Month here.