Lasso’s OSC of the Month for August is Kylie Byford with McCaleb Homes in Oklahoma. In this interview, Kylie shares her advice for other OSCs, her go-to closing technique, and the different technology she uses to get the job done!
Tell us about your role and company
I am the Online Sales and Marketing Manager for McCaleb Homes. We are located within the Oklahoma City metro area but build primarily in Edmond, Oklahoma. McCaleb Homes was started 30 years ago when my grandfather and father saw a need in the building industry for innovative designs, quality construction, and superior customer service and satisfaction. We are a family owned company and I have the honor to work alongside my parents and brothers. It is amazing to be able to share this passion with my family!
How long have you been in your role/or working in new home sales?
I have been in this role for a little over four years.
What was your career path to becoming an OSC?
I graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. I have been consumed with real estate all my life as my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are all involved in real estate in some form or fashion. You could say the passion for real estate was in my blood! Between my love of marketing and being a people person, this role of Online Sales Consultant and Marketing just fit.
Kylie has always been a sponge and taken every ounce of training and run with it as an excellent OSC for McCaleb Homes. She is wonderful at building relationships with homebuyers, and creating a welcoming atmosphere. Her videos are authentic and she’s constantly striving to create amazing customer experiences. When COVID hit she was ahead of the curve and on top of everything from virtual appointments to virtual entry systems and helped sell multiple homes as she embraced the new normal.
How have you seen online home sales change in the last few years?
Over the last few years, I have seen the mindset shift for both our prospective customers and REALTORS(R). They now realize the benefits an online sales consultant can offer during their home search. In today’s world, everyone expects things to be instant and get answers quickly which is why the role of OSC was created. Especially in the current climate, the role has never been more important. We are there to be the rock to lean on when everything else is uncertain, and to be a friend as they make this big step in life.
How do you see the OSC role evolving over the next few years?
I can only see the role growing. I believe even more people will rely on OSCs in the future since a lot of people look online before meeting in person. In Oklahoma, we also have a lot of buyers relocating here for the cost of living. I believe as more companies establish work-from-home policies, the more attractive the smaller markets will become. This will mean more shopping from afar where OSCs will be needed.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? What do you do to overcome that challenge?
I would say the most challenging part of this position is knowing when it’s time to shut off for the day. When you have a passion for helping others, it’s hard to say “no” to an online chat late in the evening when someone needs your advice/help. Being in a position that requires working seven days a week was very challenging for me at first, but I have learned over the years how to adapt my work/life balance to allow time for both. It takes quite a bit of time to adjust to this unusual work schedule, but if you love what you do and make sure to focus on yourself/family when it is important then you will find your groove!
What are the most important tools you use in your role?
Surprise, surprise—Lasso takes the cake on this one. Being both the Online Sales Consultant plus running all our marketing, I couldn’t do my job without Lasso CRM. It keeps me sane when everything is organized and follow-ups are scheduled out, and the email system is easy to use. My other favorite tools are: Tawk.to which is our online chat system, Canva, which I use for marketing materials, and NterNow which is an instant-access system keypad for our move-in-ready homes. These four systems keep my job running!
What is your “go-to” closing technique to get an appointment?
No matter what, always ask for the appointment. The worst they can say is “no,” but if you don’t ask you could lose out. If they are actively engaged with questions, I say something like, “The next step would be to set up a time for you to sit down in person or virtually with our salesperson, (insert salesperson’s name), to talk you through our process and get all your questions answered in depth. Will Saturday at 1pm work for you?”
Giving them a salesperson’s name, a day, and a time takes decision paralysis out of it. It is easier for them to give you a quick “yes” or “can we do Friday at 1pm instead” than if you ask a broad question for any day or time. Giving a specific day and time makes them realize your sales team have busy schedules so they are more likely to schedule a time with you for that VIP appointment rather than walking in the model home on the weekend.
What/who are your “go-to” resources for training and/or support?
Leah Fellows with Blue Gyspy, Inc. was my online sales coach when I first started in this position a few years back. Even after our paid training was over, she has been a constant to lean on in my work life. She has always been there to answer questions and provide insights into this position. She has put together a group of her online sales consultants that she has trained across the country so that we are able to bounce ideas off one another and figure out how to play out different scenarios. She sets up a monthly Zoom meeting for the group to talk about what is going on in each of our regions and she also brings in experts whom she feels we can learn from.
A few years back, I went to the Online Sales and Marketing Summit that was put on by Do You Convert in Arizona. I learned so much there and loved being able to chat in person with so many others in my position. The biggest takeaway for me from the Summit was Kevin Oakley’s “Presale without Fail.” I have used these methods many times for new neighborhoods or new phases! Great stuff. But Mike Lyon and the DYC team were very helpful during the beginning of this pandemic with their free weekly webinars and reassuring remarks for OSCs that “we were made for times like this.”
I have also been able to go to an in-person training with Jeff Shore with our sales team. Even though I am not an on-site salesperson, his approach to handling customers has really helped me through the years. It transformed the way I handle conversations with potential customers to gain their trust and understand their motivation.
Do you have any specific successes you’d like to highlight?
Even though this year has been crazy, to say the least, it also has been my best year personally in my role! Since the beginning of 2020, my appointments for our sales team have turned into 70% of our overall sales. Instead of backing down in fear amid this pandemic, I have tried to embrace the new normal, figuring out the best technology and tools to continue serving future homeowners.
Any tips or advice for fellow online salespeople and marketers?
Be genuine. There is nothing better than being on a phone call or online chat with someone who is honest with you. Also, always remember that you never know what could be going on in that person’s life. If they have a wall up or have concerns you don’t understand, realize there is probably a story behind that. Make sure to be there for them and give them time to open up. As Jeff Shore would say, be “coffee worthy.”
What are your favorite activities to do outside of work?
I love doing anything outdoors! This summer, almost every weekend you can find my husband and me out on the lake. It’s been the best outlet during the pandemic to be out on the boat enjoying the sunshine and attempting new watersports. We also love visiting our home-away-from-home in Colorado where we hike, raft, ski, or just enjoy the fresh mountain air. I am a huge animal lover (we have three pups!) so I enjoy spending time volunteering or fostering for the Edmond Animal Shelter. Lastly, I love photography. I actually photograph all our homes for McCaleb Homes but I also enjoy taking portraits of family and friends on the side!