My son has played competitive basketball since 3rd grade. He’s in 7th grade now, and for the first time in five years, he’s playing school ball. It’s fun watching him play with his buds from class, seeing the comradery, and cheering them on with the families we've known since he was in kindergarten. I’m also a little concerned. School ball is different. The competition from the other teams isn’t at the same high level he’s used to, and I can already see bad habits creeping in. He’s hot-dogging, getting too fancy, treating it like a pick-up game, and not going full speed when his team has the lead. The competitive basketball season starts after school ball ends, and I know he’ll need to get rid of those habits to compete at the next level.
If you haven’t caught on yet, this is my analogy for our online sales teams and the market shift. They’ve been playing school ball, and it’s time to switch to competitive ball. As our online sales coach Jessie Suggs said on a call the other day, “We’ll need to relearn some skills for this new market.”
Also, I loathe the phrase "back to basics." Isn’t that a negative thing the kids throw around these days? “You’re so basic...ewwww.” I hear people using this phrase, and I think, “Really, that’s what we are talking about?” We should have never let go of the basics and fundamentals. Plus, if we are going back to the basics from 2019, before this insane market roller coaster, we won’t be getting the same results. We must move BEYOND the basics. I know we created shortcuts, hacked the system, and increased automation, but that should all be switched off now. (Have you checked to make sure?)
This new market will be full of prospects with low urgency trying to buy a new home that is maxing out on what they feel is a fair price. If your Online Sales Team isn’t bringing their A-game, they won’t even get a chance to compete for the sale. It’s like Joyce Meyer once said, “New level, new devil.” So now is the time to knock off the rust and get after it.
Let’s look at what is required to get to that new level in this new market:
We not only need quick responses to new leads but to everything that comes our way -- responsive customers, VIP launches, and shifts in demand. We need to get that sales cardio up.
For the past 18 months, the job of the online sales specialist has been pretty straightforward. Customer calls in, we tell them how it works, and they agree or they don’t. Next! Now we need better awareness of the customer and their situation and to pay attention to all the angles.
Every “lead” is a real person, which means you have to adjust to where they are and what motivates them. We can’t just push them along in our process and say they weren’t interested if it doesn't work out. We need to increase personalization and work to connect one-to-one with every engaged prospect. Double-check that webcam to make sure it works. I know it has been a while since you have sent that personalized video email.
Be open to letting others give you some tough love and constructive criticism. Reaching elite status in any area of your life requires constant evaluation and coaching. Sales leaders need to evaluate their online team proactively, and the online sales specialists just need to get over it. I say that with love in my heart. You want to be the best? You want to win awards? Let others hear how you talk and let them read what you write. And don’t freak out when you get shopped.
I would have never told my 13-year-old boy, “You can’t play school basketball because you will pick up bad habits.” It’s fun for him, and it’s fun for us to watch. However, before every game, I tell him, “Don’t play down to their level; bring them up to your level.”
This market is shifting - playtime is over!