Our December OSC of the Month is Kerrie Bornkessel with Fonville Morisey Barefoot New Homes Sales and Marketing Company (FMB) with offices in Raleigh and Wilmington, North Carolina. In this interview, Kerrie shares her go-to closing technique, the success of the OSC program at FMB, and discusses how she sees the role evolving.
Tell us about your role and company:
I am the OSC for Fonville Morisey Barefoot (FMB). FMB markets and sells new homes for builders and developers and is locally owned and operated in Raleigh, NC with a second office located in Wilmington, NC. FMB currently sells new homes in the Raleigh – Durham market as well as the Coastal region of North Carolina.
My job as the Online Sales Counselor begins with immediately responding to all online leads, to providing continual follow-up, and ultimately to qualifying customers by setting appointments at the community that best fits their needs.
How long have you been in your role/or working in new home sales?
My role as OSC is new—both to me and FMB New Homes. We launched our program in February 2019, but I have been selling new homes for 20 years.
How have you seen online home sales change in the last few years?
Buyers’ agents are beginning to embrace OSCs and see them as a valuable tool instead of fearing that the OSC will hurt their business.
How do you see your role or the OSC role evolving over the next few years?
In general, I see the role of OSC in new home marketing expanding over the next few years. As more and more home buyers rely on the internet for their new home search instead of relying on general brokerage agents, the OSC is becoming their valued link to the company, neighborhood, and builder. And with so much competition in the new home business, an agile, responsive, knowledgeable, likeable OSC is becoming indispensable. OSCs are the “face” of the company and without one to qualify and capture solid leads quickly, a marketing firm, builder, or developer, is at a disadvantage.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? What do you do to overcome that challenge?
FMB is a multifaceted company that represents both custom and production builders with product ranging from $230K to over $3.5M. We have neighborhoods throughout the Triangle and Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington area, and about 50 active communities currently.
And we are always adding new neighborhoods! Keeping up with available spec and presale opportunities for buyers, providing accurate neighborhood information such as homesite size, neighborhood dues, amenities, taxes, deposit requirements etc. can be challenging with so many and diverse neighborhoods to represent. To overcome this challenge, I communicate regularly with our onsite agents and have them complete a neighborhood information form for me which I can update and access on my iPad or phone at any time. I also rely heavily on the FMB New Homes website which features each community, available floor plans, and up-to-date available inventory.
What is the most useful technology tool to your job?
I’d be lost without Lasso, the FMB New Homes Website, and my iPhone! It’s important for me to be able to respond to an inquiry from anywhere and at a moment’s notice.
What is your “go to” closing technique to get an appointment?
Instead of asking a prospect if they would like to visit a community, I mention our onsite agent by name, explain that their site is quite busy and say, “allow me to arrange a meeting for you so that ‘Olivia’ can give you her undivided attention. Which day works best for you?”
Do you have any specific successes you’d like to highlight?
Appointments are up 16% from Q1 to Q3. Sales resulting from OSC appointments are up 66% from Q1 to Q3. Since we started our OSC program, we have seen a 60% increase in form submission to our website.
Favorite thing to do outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy fine wine and dining, live music, yoga, and travel. I’ve been to 5 of the 7 continents and over 30 countries.