Lasso’s OSC of the Month for April is Nichole Smith, Online Sales Consultant with D.R. Horton in Columbus, Ohio. In her interview, she shares the challenges she faces, her go-to closing technique, and advice for other OSCs in the industry.
What was your career path to become an OSC?
I have been an OSC for three years, but with D.R. Horton for over 10. I started as the receptionist, greeting visitors at the front desk, answering phones and assisting in accounts payable. Next, I became the closing coordinator, moving on to contract manager.
I worked at the corporate office for about 6.5 years before deciding to take the leap into sales. I worked in a model home for a few months before the OSC role was created. My boss recommended me for the position, mentioning I was the perfect fit and it the perfect opportunity! I interviewed and the rest is history!.
How have you seen online home sales change in the last few years?
In general, even before COVID people were relying heavily on getting their information online and by phone. We live in a society where people want info and answers quickly! Besides the website, the OSC for a company tends to be the first impression the customer experiences. Buyers are looking for a reason to eliminate and narrow down their search, so we have to do everything we can to make sure we stand out. Since the start of COVID, I have noticed a huge change. The uncertainty from the pandemic, coupled with low inventory on the existing market is generating leads (including realtors) that are exhausted from bidding wars and feeling like they’re settling. This combination is creating urgency with our spec/inventory homes as well as leads who are considering a new build for the first time. These leads are not tire-kickers, which means appointments are smooth and easy to schedule and they’re ready to make a quick decision!
How do you see the role of the OSC role evolving over the next few years?
I see the OSC role becoming even more important over the next few years, especially in the Columbus market. Columbus is thriving and we are growing as a builder. With the market booming, I am seeing a lot of out-of-town buyers which rely heavily on me to get the process started. I also hope to eventually have another OSC or team to work with as we grow.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? What do you do to overcome that challenge?
Time management! It took me a while to figure out my schedule and how to be the most productive while leads are coming in throughout the day. I have learned there are busier times in the day when my phone tends to ring more. It’s important to plan out your days/weeks and use your ‘quiet time’ wisely! Certain tasks I do are not conducive to interruptions, therefore I usually try to tackle those first thing in the morning.
What are the important tools you use in your role?
Lasso is my bread and butter and keeps me on track! Without this CRM I wouldn’t be able to provide the consistent follow up and drip campaigns! Also sitting in on our weekly sales meeting really keeps me up to date on everything. And I cannot neglect to mention my trusty cellphone. I never leave home (or a room) without it!
What is your “go to” closing technique to get an appointment?
When put in writing my ‘go to’ is usually “I would be happy to schedule a time for you to meet with a sales representative at one of our model homes to go over everything more in depth”. *Depending* on the day of the week- I list a couple days for availability (I don’t want them to think the schedule is wide open) and then I say, “let me know what day works for you” and I always end with “Looking forward to hearing back from you!”
Over the phone is very similar – “I know we went over a lot information so if you’d like I can schedule a time for you to meet with a sales representative so they can go more in depth with everything including financing, monthly incentives and what options and upgrades we offer. What days are usually best for your schedule?”
What/Who are your “go-to” resources for training and/or support?
I work on an amazing team with people that have been in the business for several years and have experienced all the highs and lows. Working together is easy—the chances they’re going to convert the appointment to a sale is extremely probable!
We have a sales meeting every week and I attend those as well. My sales manager is a wealth of knowledge and offers our team solid, quality training. Every week I feel like I walk away with a nugget I can use in my role! Jeff Shore is someone we often listen to and read from his books. My boss has quoted him many times!
Do you have any specific successes you’d like to highlight?
2020 Nominee for BIA Columbus Online Sales Consultant of the Year
Any tips or advice for fellow online salespeople and marketers?
We grow up hearing the phrase “treat others the way you want to be treated” but my sales manager once said, “we really need to treat others the way they want to be treated.” It’s important during your discovery to pick up on certain cues and get on their level. Don’t try to bring them to your level (remember you’re the expert and you know this like the back of your hand), slow down and listen. They will connect with you and the appointment will fall into place.
What are your favorite activities to do outside of work?
I have 3 school aged children that all play sports, I spend most of my free time watching them play! I love hanging out with my husband who happens to be my high school sweetheart. We try and sneak in 1-2 trips a year just to get away from it all. He’s also in sales so it’s nice the get a break together. I also love spinning; I recently got a Peloton and it is my escape during the week! Love the music and the inspirational instructors!