Keeping Online Follow-Up F.R.E.S.H.

Keeping Online Follow-Up F.R.E.S.H.

Dec 8, 2020 | By Jen Barkan

Keeping Online Follow-Up Fresh


A Fresh Foundation

It goes without question that this year has challenged us in ways we could never have imagined. For online sales specialists specifically, the practices and results that many of us knew to be true just did not work these past eight months. The overwhelming demand for new homes, plus the many changes in our personal lives, has caused many of us to work at a frenetic pace just to keep our heads above water. We’ve been in reactive mode, setting appointments left and right, skipping (out of necessity) some of the steps that ensured that we delivered only high-quality leads to our onsite teams. Right now, everyone wants a new house, and our challenge is simply to keep up with demand, while keeping our sanity intact.

Inevitably, though, things will either settle down or this “new normal” will stick around for a while. Our task now is to figure out how to move forward through the next few months and years. The good news is – once you’ve re-established a strong foundation for your online sales program, it can withstand any changes thrown in your direction.

Below I’ve outlined five attributes and behaviors that can re-set the foundation for your online sales program to grow and thrive in 2021 and beyond. Together, they are F.R.E.S.H.!

F – Fix Your Attitude
R – Refocus Your Priorities
E – Set Your Expectations
S – Shift
H – Hire


Fix Your Attitude

First, fix your attitude, or else nothing else will work! Like Ronda Conger often says, it is your mindset, and not necessarily your skillset, that determines your success. I get it, this year has been hard in a lot of ways, both personally and professionally, and it hasn’t always been easy to have a positive outlook.

Here’s what I challenge you to do: start your day with one positive thought. What’s one thing that you accomplished yesterday? What was your most recent win? What’s one thing you’re looking forward to today?

Dr. Ellen Langer, a Harvard University psychologist, has studied this type of mindfulness for four decades and published a now-famous work, Mindfulness. The premise is that once we actively notice new things (like minor accomplishments), it brings us to the present, and we act according to our new observations. This makes us perform our work in a more engaging way, and makes us more innovative and charismatic. It’s scientifically proven that where positive thoughts flow, positive actions follow! Use this technique to set your intention that each day will be positive and productive, to the best of your ability.


Refocus and Reset Your Priorities

As an online sales specialist, you may have 500 pending tasks in your CRM, new leads coming in like crazy, and your phone ringing off the hook. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, it’s time to take a step back from the daily grind and ask yourself, “What will make the biggest difference in getting my critical work done?”

My two suggestions… focus on speed and personalization. Your primary responsibility is to connect with people and convert their interest into appointments. For that you need speed. Once you connect with prospects, you must be 100 percent focused on their needs and wants. That’s where personalization comes in. Anything that pulls you away from those two aspects of your job should be automated, delegated, or put on the back burner.

For new home online sales specialists, anything that pulls you away from speed and personalization should be automated, delegated, or put on the back burner. - Jen Barkan
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Set Your Expectations

…with Leadership

If you are working from home right now, there’s a good chance you’re not alone. Many of us have children doing virtual school from home and spouses sharing remote office space with. It’s… a lot. Our time and focus is necessarily split between between a million different things (even more than usual).

The reality is, some things you were responsible for pre-COVID, you just don’t have time for right now, especially if your leads volume has substantially increased. That may include marketing activities, MLS updates, website maintenance, extraneous meetings and similar activities.

You must realign your priorities according to what your primary goals are, and reset everyone’s expectations of you. That means meeting with your leadership team and being very honest about what your bandwidth is, and how prioritizing your activities will mean more appointments and sales for the team.

… for Conversions

It might be necessary to take another look at your conversion goals. In the blog post, Corona Conversions Don’t Count, But Here Are The Metrics That Do, I talked about not being overly focused on the record-level conversions we’re seeing today. DO have the mindset that you have to handle the current volume of leads differently, but DON’T get used to the idea that the conversions you’re seeing now are normal and will last indefinitely.

Today, instead, focus on the raw data – the lead sources and numbers, the types of appointments, and the backstories behind each of them. Report your data weekly to marketing and leadership, and keep everyone informed as you see changes in online sales activity.

… with Customers

A true online sales appointment is one where the lead is vetted and qualified, then handed off to the onsite team. Those leads are more valuable because they’ve gone through your process. As more technology emerges that allows your leads to “sign up and make an appointment,” those who choose to do that will need to follow a different process, and expectations need to be set that that they’re not necessarily getting a champion to guide them through the process, as is the case with traditional online sales leads. Depending on where your lead is coming from, and the type of appointment they want, make sure they understand what they’re getting in terms of customer service.



As online sales specialists, you’ve had to shift your mindset, processes and focus. Your traffic has shifted from walk-in to online in a major way, causing you to constantly be in a reactive state. At some point; however, you must prepare for the shift back. You’ve been working in overdrive for so long that returning to a “normal” pace will feel uncomfortable, like you’re not performing. That’s not the case, but it will be necessary for you to remember how to work under more normal conditions – exercise your muscle memory, as Mike Lyon likes to say.

A return to normalcy will mean revisiting your foundational techniques and processes – how to qualify someone over the phone, the 5-step phone call, what information to be prepared with, etc. For the past eight months, you may have had to skip some of these steps out of necessity, but now is the time to take out the old training manuals, review your scripts, or brush up on your notes in Browsers to Buyers.

My challenge to you is to think about one thing in your online sales process that you’ve had to cut in the last few months – that could be a video email, extra qualification questions during a phone call, etc – and add it back in. The question to ask yourself is, if someone called in today, but did not want to make an appointment, do you remember how to overcome their objections and help them through the process from start to finish?



Even before COVID-19, many online sales programs needed extra support. But oftentimes, you – the online sales specialist – can get in the way of your own program’s success. Yes, you are working the best market of our lives and your success rate is through the roof. And yes, if you hired another person you’d have to share dividends. In the meanwhile, you are drowning in leads and have no time for prospecting, sending video emails, visiting communities, or establishing relationships with your onsite sales teams. At the same time, sales leaders are saying they can’t bring on anyone else because of hiring freezes.

In order for a program to operate at maximum efficiency, an online sales specialist should manage no more than 200 leads per month, and should set no more than 100 appointments per month. The reason is that you’ll reach a point where you can no longer effectively manage each lead and appointment properly, because there’s literally not enough time to do the personalized work that’s involved. The ability to focus on each customer is the cornerstone of the online sales foundation. If you’re not able to do that, it’s time to bring in help.

By focusing on these five practices, you’ll reset your online sales foundation to leverage continued growth in the short-term, and be prepared for the inevitable shifts and changes that will follow.

This article was adapted from Jen Barkan’s live 2020 PULSE presentation,Keeping Online Follow-Up Fresh.

The post Keeping Online Follow-Up F.R.E.S.H. appeared first on Online Sales and Marketing for Home Builders - DYC.

Jen Barkan
Online Sales Coach

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