Lasso’s OSC of the Month for August is Terrell Turner with Epcon Communities headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Based out of the Charlotte Division, Terrell primarily covers the Carolinas Regions. In this interview, he shares how he became an OSC, how he thinks the role will evolve, and his productivity hack using Zoom!
What was your career path to becoming an OSC?
I’ve been in this role at Epcon for a year, but my journey started earlier than that.
So, it’s the most unlikely story. Seven years ago, I was freelancing for media production. My best friend called on a Wednesday and asked what I was doing that day. I said, “nothing.” He said, “Well, I work for a home builder, and we just did this marketing campaign, and we’re getting a lot of calls. Can you come help me?” I said yes, having no idea what he was talking about. I arrived, they handed me a headset and said, you’ve got a great personality and can think quickly so, just make these calls. If you get someone on the phone, ask them if they want an appointment. If they ask you a question, tell them you don’t know, but they can find out when they arrive! I did that for a week, and there was a meeting with the whole company. Unknown to me, the VP of Sales introduced me to the company as the new Online Sales Counselor, and that was the start of my seven-year career!
How many online leads do you manage monthly?
We break leads down into two categories because of the market demand. We have an Active Selling category, in which I process around 165 leads, and VIP List, where I’m nurturing about 200!
What’s the best part about working on a team of OSCs?
I have the best teammate ever. I’ve been on a large team before, but being on a small team fits me. We work remotely, and we are in different states, but we text all the time. We encourage each other, brainstorm, and laugh together. My teammate is probably the best part of the job! She’s absolutely awesome.
How have you seen online home sales change in the last few years?
So, I’ve had the opportunity to be an OSC in an up market, but the last few years, it’s been an up-up market, if that’s a word!
I’ve seen the buying cycle shorten and the way customers communicate change. People expect a reply immediately, and they expect it 24/7! I have definitely seen online sales become a more significant part of the business as a whole, making up 40-to-70% of a builder’s sales! It’s interesting, now when I have calls, and I answer the phone, they ask, “Ok, so how long is your waitlist, and is there any way I can get a home this year?” People are more concerned about time and availability than price point and area.
Working with Terrell and helping him grow as an OSC has been such a great experience. Terrell is one of those people who is always opened to learning and growth. While he’s been in the OSC world for 9 years, he’s so open to new ideas and he is great at generating ideas as well. He takes suggestions and runs with them. He sets up new and innovative ways to create outreach to prospective home buyers.
How do you see your role/or the OSC role evolving over the next few years?
Based on where things are right now in the market, especially in the Carolinas, I don’t see massive inventory coming available overnight. It appears this high-octane market will be around for a little while. I think this role is going to be more technology-based, with more leads reaching out through social channels. Because of the volume, I think, ultimately, OSCs who can distinguish themselves creatively in their follow-up and interactions will make a significant impact on where buyers decide to show up.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? What do you do to overcome that challenge?
We are definitely in a unique market, which is exciting and customers are more demanding. Managing the volume of leads received can be a challenge with all the ways people are responding now and how fast they expect to receive the information! We’re balancing realtors, appointments, existing customers, leads who don’t understand the market, and then some who’ve never heard of your company. I’ve really worked on not putting so much stress on myself, because I do pressure myself a lot. Maintaining good mental health is vital for longevity in this role. At the end of the day, I am doing my best to provide excellent service to every inquiry, and the support I receive my team and coach keeps a good balance.
What is the most important technology(s)/tool(s) you use in your role?
Lasso, 100%. I’m so glad Epcon uses Lasso. At my previous location, we pitched Lasso and company leadership turned us down. It sounds so simple, but having the ability to mass email my leads or segment a group of leads in under three minutes is HUGE! Having the ability to pull a report of all my appointments and segment them by time and ratings to send appropriate messages is a game-changer.
I also use Notes that sync to my phone. In the app, I have templates pre-typed with FAQs and appointment confirmations for my locations. I can quickly copy/paste and email through Lasso or text out.
What is your “go-to” closing technique to get an appointment?
I love overcoming objections! The main technique I use is maintaining control, and it really depends on the buyer’s personality and how the conversation is going. I was taught to think 3 questions ahead, so I ask questions that lead them to the response I want them to have. I narrow the buyer down by giving them two options, so that basically, they are making a decision to come out. In essence, they set their own appointment!
I would like to add that in this market, a lot of buyers are used to OSCs, which is great, but they are in a scramble for homes. So they are automatically asking for an appointment. So, I’m now actually working backwards, slowing them down, and saying ok, let’s find out what you are looking for and what is your price range?
What/who are your “go-to” resources for training and/or support?
I’ve joined several Facebook groups, which is a cool way to meet people across the country. I also work with Leah Fellows of Blue Gypsy Inc., who is my professional coach. She understands my personality, so when I’m feeling negativity, she always offers perspective, and she is a great support of industry best practices helping me keep my skills sharp. She also hosts a monthly Zoom chat with OSCs around the country, so it’s cool to know I’m not alone and meet all different kinds of people and share our experiences. I love that.
Do you have a productivity hack you’d like to share?
Earlier, I mentioned technology being a major part of the evolution of the OSC role. One thing I’ve started tapping into is hosting monthly Zooms. Lots of my customers are relocating and are further out in their process. So, I’ve found using this tool is a way to get a response and switch that Lasso rating from Non-responsive!
I spend 30 minutes once a month giving all the information to multiple people once. So, now I don’t have to repeat myself! For the customers, it’s non-threatening and helps them get introduced to the company and see if we’re a fit. From there, I just set appointments for those who are ready to take the next step.
Do you have any specific successes you’d like to highlight?
While talking to so many people each day, it’s nice when you make connections, and people get the warm fuzzies. I’ve had customers text me on Christmas, and even recently for the 4th of July emojis and just “hi” and “thank you” messages. It centers me back to the idea that what we do really impacts people’s lives, and that for me is the greatest success.
Any tips or advice for fellow online salespeople and marketers?
If you think the leads are terrible, you’ll treat them terribly, and you’ll get terrible results. Use your Apple Watch Breath App and think from abundance!
What are your favorite activities to do outside of work?
I have 4-year-old twins, so they pretty much take all my time. But I enjoy flying my drone.
What are you reading/watching(binging)?
I just finished “The Ride of a Lifetime” by Bob Iger, and I’m all about Loki and MasterChef right now!
Where is the first place you’re going when we get back to normal travel?
I’m so thankful I was able to go to Charleston this year for my birthday. I’m so looking forward to going on a cruise to Canada/New England, but it’s going to be another year before I step foot on a boat! So, I’m hoping that gets back to normal.