A dedicated OSC is ultimately responsible for handling all incoming leads. Even if you are only receiving a small amount of leads right now, there should be one person handling those leads quickly and efficiently. If you are a smaller builder with 100 leads or less, you can give the OSC additional responsibilities to help justify a full-time position. As you grow, you can adjust responsibilities accordingly. Keep in mind, the OSC must have the right tools and process (we’ll discuss this later) in order to handle the high lead volume. You can expect an OSC to be able to handle, on average, about 200 leads per month before you will need to hire additional support. The higher the lead volume, the less ancillary work you can expect to be accomplished by this person.
Most common job functions for an OSC are to:
- Respond quickly and personally to all electronic leads
- Handle all incoming phone leads
- Provide persistent and targeted follow-up
- Qualify the lead based on individual wants and needs
- Set and schedule appointments for onsite sales agents
- Maintain database of leads with updated information and customer notes
- Track and report on conversion statistics
Secondary functions that most OSCs can handle if work load permits:
- Update and maintain inventory on website and third-party referral sites
- Conduct e-mail marketing campaigns
- Manage or track Search Engine Marketing
- Continually research new sources for online advertising
- Maintain online marketing budget and conversion statistics
The OSC handles the lead until the appointment is set and then turns the responsibility over to the Onsite Sales Agent. Some relocation buyers may request more information from an OSC and want to go through the entire sales process. Don’t allow the process to go too far. Turn the lead over to the Onsite Agent when the leads have been properly qualified.
Some builders have an OSC position set up to handle a lead all the way to closing. That will limit the effectiveness of the online sales program and this position. An OSC cannot properly handle any volume of leads if s/he is expected to work with a client through the whole process. If your OSC is spending time getting financing together, following up on paperwork, updating the buyer on the construction, putting out fires or holding the deal together, s/he will not be able to respond quickly to the new leads arriving daily. This is, in essence, the Onsite Agents difficulty in handling leads and the reason the OSC position was created in the first place.
Unlike a busy salesperson, an OSC who is focused and trained will ask for the appointment every time and repeatedly “close” the lead until achieving the final result – an appointment. As you know, it is very unlikely that a sale will occur without the prospect visiting the neighborhood.
Think of all the calls and e-mails you will miss in one day when your OSC is selecting a homesite, preparing the contract, writing it up and closing the deal. (This has happened to me a few times when I have manned a model home in one of our communities and I was not nearly as quick or effective.)
Also, this will put an OSC in direct competition with the Onsite Agent. This type of competition is unhealthy. If you keep it separate and have the OSC setting up appointments for the Onsite Agents, everyone will be happy and you will sell more homes.
Up Next – Hiring an Online Sales Counselor