Focus Discussion of the Week:
Should your Online Sales Counselor manage comments and questions on your social media platforms, rather than your marketing manager or onsite agents? The short answer is… YES! This week, Group Two’s Chelsey Keenan and Alexis Udine explain why this is a great strategy for home builders to gain qualified leads, and they give specific examples of how it works.
Listen out for Chelsey’s “Homework Assignment of the Week” and share your results in the Building Perspectives Facebook Group!
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Two thought leaders come together to explore all things sales and marketing from their unique perspectives. Each week, Mollie Elkman, Matt Riley, and others from Group Two dive into a focus discussion to talk about the latest trends, changes, and best practices.
Chelsey: [00:00:00] If a prospect is reaching out to you on Facebook, they are most likely reaching out to your competitor on Facebook as well. So who’s, who’s getting to them first. I mean, filling out a contact form, anyone can get an automatic email right after they fill out a contact form on your website. Normally people are going to Facebook so that they can get that more personalized response.
And so think who’s going to be there first. You or your competitor?
Intro: [00:00:51] Hi, and welcome to building perspective with Matt Riley and Molly Altman.
We’re here to bring value
to you and your team by exploring
all things, sales and marketing related all from different perspectives.
Chelsey: [00:01:04] Hey, building perspective. I’m back. I feel like this is like three weeks in a row. You’ve heard from me, but I hope it’s been fun.
I’m here this week with our own Alexis Udine. Hello? Hello? I’m sure you’ve seen her. All over social media, but anyway, we’re here today to talk about something super, super interesting that Alexis and I have just been chatting about for really the past couple of months and how this is evolving. You’ll see in the title here the OSC’s role in social media.
So. Alexis. I want to start off by asking you a little bit about your OSC days and how you are seeing the OSC role transition from your days as an OSC to now as an OSC trainer.
Alexis: [00:02:07] Yeah, that’s a great, that’s a great point. And there has been an evolution. And so going back almost five to 10 years ago, in my role as an OSC you know, many online sales specialists do kind of they’re the front line.
So they control the website. That’s like their online model and they, they were supposed to be looking at listings and social media. So that was part of my capacity, manage social media, post the pictures, get the likes and all that kind of stuff. And so I definitely had a role in it. But really, I was never booking appointments online from social media.
I dunno if Instagram even existed.
Okay. It was on there. I made sure to post as much as I could, but it was all about getting likes and comments on our pictures. It was not engaging with people to see if they were a real lead. It was having a presence and being there, but it wasn’t what it was today. You know, Molly would always go to the builder show and, you know, we would talk about social media and the importance of builders being on it.
And builders were the first to say, I’m not gonna sell a home on Facebook. I’m not going to sell a home from somebody. Yeah. Aha. And Molly used to say, but they’re going to choose not to buy a home from you on social media. And that was kind of showing the difference between builder one and builder two.
You know, if you had a presence and consistency and you were upkeeping with it, you know, you might want to go to that builder. If you were completely stagnant, then maybe I wouldn’t choose you, but now people are buying homes off Facebook. Appointments they’re quality leads coming from social media platforms.
And really that’s what the evolution is. I mean, it’s completely changed and we see it in traffic reports as a source and, you know we have buyers coming from there and so it really has evolved over the last five to 10 years and even more so in the last two with the whole pandemic and the way people it’s gotten even a greater source.
Chelsey: [00:03:57] Well, we were even talking before we got on this podcast about social media messaging and how far messaging on social media has gone and how both of us. And you could tell your story right after this, but both of us, we don’t even go to websites first to message for customer service anymore. We, we go to Facebook pages and message them through Facebook, expecting a response.
Exactly. We’re looking for an answer to our question
Alexis: [00:04:28] and, and it really, you know, I think it’s so important for builders to remember that because no matter what the industry, so my example is I was going to a little BYOB and, you know, someone said, do they take cash or credit card? And I was like, great question, because you know, some of the BYO is only take cash.
And I didn’t even think about going to their website. I went to their Facebook page. I looked at the about section I saw right away. Takes credit cards. I just defer there because I think that information is more up-to-date. And even with that’s the restaurant industry, and then in retail, I find myself going to Instagram before I go to the website to purchase just because, well, you can purchase from Instagram.
And I like to see the visuals and the outfits on people. And so that’s two different, completely different industries. And then, you know, think about your, your home buyers. They’re doing the same thing along their journey.
Chelsey: [00:05:16] And I think it used to be enough for your social media team or for just a sales manager to be on social and to look out for those comments of people saying, oh, I love your home.
And just like them. But as social media messaging is evolving and people are noticing that. It’s easier to go to social media, to get an answer. First social media has become really your second website and it’s, it’s your next online source of content of contact. And so as an OSC, I think it’s extremely important for not just the social media team, being there to answer those soft questions.
You’re for the OSC is to be really behind the scenes on social media. Looking for those people that are asking qualifying questions. For sure.
Alexis: [00:06:21] So I mean, well, one thing, disclaimer, and it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t, you have to stay up to date with your website because I don’t think this platform is taking the place of the website.
I want to say that, but if you’re a serious buyer, you’re going wherever you can to see all you can, like if I’m, you know, in the market for a new home, I’m, I’m stalking them on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever I can. So it’s a multi-channel approach for sure. Yeah. I mean your, and there’s different roles.
You know, sometimes the OSTs manage the posting. A lot of times group two does the posting, but they really need to be there just like, and have the same expectations as if a contact form comes through. Yeah. Same exact approach, same kind of standard, same processes in place. We tell her a little bit differently, but that’s kind of what it’s become.
It’s the same as getting a contact form on your website. And so yeah, your home is beautiful. Oh, what color brick is that? What is the siding? And we will still get some of them, but we also the role of an OSC. And I see this so many times is not just to, yes, no. Right. And people will ask and ask those.
Yes, no questions because they don’t necessarily want to talk. Your job as an OSC is to elicit response. You want to start a conversation with the buyer. You want to see how serious they are, and you want to make sure you do these things before you kind of move on from that person. So, you know, so many times you see people just kind of move on from someone they don’t know if they’re a quality lead, they don’t know how serious they are.
You need to take your online, your Facebook lead or your Instagram lead. Just the same, like you would a phone call because if you’re getting a phone call, you don’t know how serious that person is or what their buying timeframe is until you start asking those qualifying questions. So when we’re on the phone call, you know, kind of finding out what their wants and needs are, what’s their timeframe, what’s their budget.
What area are they interested in? These are all things that we’re trained to do in this role to really find out where we can direct this lead, what is the best fit for them? And at the end of the day, deliver a quality. Appointments who are onsite salespeople. So we really need to take those practices and those foundations that we have, and we need to bring them to Facebook and Instagram and make sure we’re doing the same exact things.
We should have consistency across all channels that we’re advertising our marketing.
Chelsey: [00:08:33] Completely agree all obviously, but of course I’ve seen so many messages come through on builder’s Facebook pages that a prospect just asks and I’m not even going to call them an audience member B because they took the time to go to this Facebook page, click message type of question, ask a question.
They would not have done that if they weren’t. At least the interested in hearing a response. And so I’ve seen people ask, oh, do you build in this area? And just right away, the person responds no. And nothing. No, no further questioning after that. And it’s it’s I think it’s because people see social media.
Leads or anyone that comes through social media without filling out a contact form. And without you getting that little that little notification that says, oh, someone filled out a contact form on the website and they came from. A Facebook page, rather that person coming from directly in Facebook and not going through your website first people think they’re so top of the funnel that it’s just not even worth wasting your time.
So again, what are some of those qualifying questions? To make, to lead that person, even if they are super top of the funnel to lead them a little bit, to rope them in and not just say no and end the conversation.
Alexis: [00:10:10] Totally. So that hurts my heart. When you tell me that example and they say no, and guess what?
I’ve listened to recordings of people that are training and say, oh, do you build in this area? No, we don’t. All right. Have a great day. And I’m like, it’s like daggers. And so I wanna talk about that funnel real quick, because you know, some of your leads on your website are top of the funnel. They really, really are, you know, they just have either interest or awareness and we not, we need to kind of slowly convert them down to like action.
And so I think you take the same approach, but how would I handle it? For example, if I had a lead come across, do you build in this area? Rather than just saying no. Why is that area important to you? Is it convenient to your work? Do you need to be in a certain school district? Just. Pry a little bit more and find out why they need to be there.
I think a lot of what I talk about is the why behind the what, right. And really finding out the needs of customers while it, while they’re making the move. And when you dig a little bit deeper, you can uncover something. So again, we don’t know that they’re just set on this one area and then we kind of get into like distinguishing between objections or conditions.
Right. And so a condition is something that cannot be overcome. No amount of selling is going to convert that prospect, but objections, objections are questions in disguise. And so do you build here? That’s a question, so no, but we build here, here, and here. Would any of those areas work for you? And again, finding out why they need a certain location and prying into the, the reason behind their move.
I always tell people to think about the why behind the what you know, why is that important to you as a great question to ask? Why do you need that? Another example that I always talk about is, you know, do you have a, can I build a four car garage on this home site? And some people might just be like, oh, does this community allow three?
For people that like, no, it doesn’t. I’m so sorry. All right. Thanks for your time. Have a great day. That’s another every time, because why garage important to you? Oh, well I need extra storage. Oh, well, if you need extra storage, our homes have the choice to do X, Y, or Z. And so again, finding out the need and seeing if you can direct them in a different direction, because as an OSC, that is your job to lead them to the best fit for them.
Right. Because if you get them to the place they’re supposed to be, that fits their budget. Their area, their community, their timeline their wants, needs, and desires. Then you’re delivering a more qualified lead to your onsite sales team that they’re more likely to convert. So that’s one thing you can kind of do just pry a little bit deeper, find out there, and then.
Talking about the qualifying questions. Really the things that we need to be asking is what is your budget? You know, that way we can direct them to a community that works for them. And, you know, you don’t have to say, what is your budget? You can say, you know, what is your desired investment range?
There’s different ways of asking that? Do you currently rent or own, or did you have a monthly payment in mind? How did you get to that? And again, it’s just developing a rapport getting them comfortable. And some people are. Some people are very, you know, want to give you those one word answers, but at the end of the day, you know, your things are slowing down a little bit, we’re hearing.
And so a lot of times you hear that I don’t have the time to get to the social media leads, or I’m only getting the ones that are, you know, right in front of me. And that’s just not an answer because you know, the art, there are people who have longer buying cycles and they’re doing their research and, you know, we need deliver the same.
Customer experience and the same customer service that we would just like someone who gave us a phone call or found out a web, we, social media deserves the same attention experience. Definitely.
Chelsey: [00:13:43] And we’ve seen it work if people really put all of these tactics that you’re talking about. Fourth on social media.
We have one builder who’s OCS do monitor all of the incoming questions on social media. And what’s interesting that your website doesn’t do, but Facebook does is Facebook rewards you for having quick responses and for answering people back and your website doesn’t do that. It’s not like your website brings you more leads.
If you answer people’s emails faster. But Facebook definitely, definitely rewards you for answering those questions. And so you’re missing out on like five gold stars for if you’re, if you’re letting those questions just kind of go by the wayside.
Alexis: [00:14:37] Yeah. And it’s the same thing, like the same processes that you would do on your website.
So we always say like, what’s your response time? Five minutes or less? I’d like to see that applied to social media as well. You’re in front of your computer, you have your notifications speed cells. And so, you know, if they’re on Facebook and they’re like chatting a couple of people or whatever, the person that gets back to them first is more likely to convert than the person that gets to them last.
And so you have to remember that. To miss an opportunity to connect with a prospect they could eliminate you before you even get the chance to talk to them. And so you kind of have to remember that. And then same thing, you know, if a lead comes in through social media and you get their contact information, which we’ll talk about.
Yeah. I, I want to see the same processes in place that if it’s a Zillow lead or a website lead or a new home source lead no lead left.
Chelsey: [00:15:26] I like that. Print that out and put it on your wall. People, I
Alexis: [00:15:29] literally just came Monday morning. I’ve had three cups of coffee and that just came out.
Chelsey: [00:15:34] Write it down right now quickly.
Here’s just a curiosity question for you, Lex. What are your feelings on. Keeping the conversation on social media or really trying your hardest to get that person’s contact information right away and start talking to them off of social media. What, what’s your vibe?
Alexis: [00:16:03] I definitely think you want to take it offline or as soon as you can.
So I think it’s nice to have a natural conversation just as you would, as like a chat, right? Like say someone’s on your website and their online chat you know, get those questions answered and then say, if you find out that, you know, they have a budget that works with one of your communities and they have a timeframe that works for you, you.
Thanks so much for you know, all your, your answers to the questions. I love to send you some more information. If you’re not able to make the appointment right there on social media, would you mind giving me your contact information? I can send you over some information. You can look through it. I can answer any questions you have.
That’s what I, I would take it offline sooner rather than later. So once you determine that there is a community or Homesite that might work for them, get their contact information again. Talking back and forth. You’re establishing some kind of rapport. You’re not just a robot, you’re a real life person.
And so, you know, there’s nothing for them to lose at that point. And if you responded quickly, wow, this builder has great customer service and, you know, I have a great you know, your OSC is the first impression of your company. And so if you’re quick and you’re polite and you know, you’re representing your brand in a great way, they’re going to be having to give you that information.
And so I do think, yeah, The sooner you can take it off and get that contact information. That’s really your goal. If you can set an appointment right there on Facebook, kudos to you and I’ve seen it done, but if we need, if we can’t do that, our goal is to get their contact information, put it in our CRM.
And then now we’re like, you know, we’re doing our outreach and we can talk about what that looks like too. But that’s a great question. And I would say yes, as soon as we can get the contact information, the better.
Chelsey: [00:17:39] Yeah. I think. Important to note too, after, while you were saying all of that and thinking of my question, I was like, Ooh, if someone just right away was like, Hey, what’s your contact information.
Thanks for asking us a question. I’ve been a little creeped out. I don’t think I’d give that. I think you’re right. You, you definitely do have to have some and develop some type of rapport with that. That prospect before getting their contact. Yeah. Think
Alexis: [00:18:11] about when you answer the phone. Right. You know, Hey, it’s Alexis with ABC builders.
And someone says, oh, you’re not right away. You’re not saying, yeah, what’s your worry about like, I mean, sometimes that might happen, but same thing. You’re asking you questions. You’re providing information. You’re asking them questions to be able to guide them. It’s the same thing, you know, that you would be doing with your answer to phone call you, you know, you do it in a way it’s like a natural fit.
It doesn’t, you’re not drilling them with questions. And I always talk about that because there are like at least five qualifying questions that you want to ask to really see where you can take that lead, but it’s not. Boom, boom, boom, boom. It comes up naturally and sometimes they’ll give you the information.
So, you know, I’ll, I’ll be training people and I’ll listen to their call recordings. And I’m kind of seeing if they’re answering or they’re asking these questions a lot of times the prospect gives you the information you need and they’ll tell you, you know, I’m relocating and I have a job and I to be at home within 60 days and my budget sometimes they’ll just spew it out to you.
And that’s great. So it actually kind of becomes a natural conversation. Not that you’re kind of like asking them question after question after question.
Chelsey: [00:19:14] Yeah, it does. It definitely makes sense. And I’ve, I’ve seen it work when that happens and I’ve seen it. Definitely not work when people don’t follow those rules.
Alexis: [00:19:27] Yeah, for sure. And so another thing that we’ve done recently, and I’m really keen on, I’ll say is. You know, no lead left behind no two follow-ups she look the same either. So I think it’s so important for builders to have follow-up that’s not only personalized to them, but also personalized to their lead source.
And so if I’m an online need, I have a whole follow-up plan if I’m Zillow VDX. So, you know, and, and they might be very similar. But, you know, people are out there shopping and sometimes they’re shopping 10 billers at a time and they’re just putting their contact information all over the place. They forget who they even gave their contact information.
So if you can read it right. Who you are, where you got their information. So, oh, I received your inquiry on Zillow or all new home source. If you can identify the location where they put that information, that might be like, oh, and it makes more sense rather than having one size that fits all response.
Right. And the same goes for social media. And I know you’ve done a lot of fun things, but why not? A follow-up plan in place that is specific to that lead and where they found you and kind of what their behavior is. And so I think you can take it to the next level, if you can craft some follow-up that’s specific to the source where they kind of inquired about you.
Chelsey: [00:20:47] Yeah. That was a really fun project to work on. With the builder that I referred to earlier, who has their OSTs on social media. And they garner so many contacts just from social media. We said, wow, wouldn’t it be so much fun to have an email followup series that used social media language and kind of reminded people.
That you talked to us on social media. Exactly. Like you were saying, but give them a little bit more information about the home builder. And that was, that was so much fun. And then I even started thinking, well, I have, I have filled out so many contact forms for brands on Instagram contests and Facebook contests, and I’m just added to their generic.
Email list. But I thought to myself as we were making this how much fun I, it would be and how special I would feel to receive an email that was based off of where I put my contact information in. And it kind of shows that that brand or that builder. Is not only looking at you as a contact, but looking at where, where they contacted you, what your journey is like, how they can add to the journey that you’ve already been on and kind of make it a little bit more exciting and a little bit.
Maybe a little bit less about the homes and less about your journey and more about your journey.
Alexis: [00:22:28] It’s all about connecting with them, right? Like, you know, this is one of the most important and biggest investments and purchases they’re going to make in your life. And so why not go the extra mile and it’s all at the end of the day.
Down to the buyer experience and making it the best it can be from start to finish. And so if you can do that and make for a better experience, I mean, think about it. If you’re doing that. And you know, a competitor, isn’t like how it just makes you stand up. It just puts one up and like, why wouldn’t you want to do that?
At the end of the day, I just think it goes into the thoughtfulness and the experience. And I’m going to want to build with a builder or buy with a builder that goes the extra mile and has an attention to detail it. Doesn’t cut the corners of using that one automated email across the board. And that’s what it comes down to.
Chelsey: [00:23:18] You brought up a really good point about what you’re doing that other builders aren’t. And I think really just to, to tie this full circle too, is. A prospect is reaching out to you on Facebook. They are most likely reaching out to your competitor on Facebook as well. So who’s, who’s getting to them first.
I mean, filling out a contact form, anyone can get an automatic email. Right after they fill out a contact form on your website, but normally people are going to Facebook so that they can get that more personalized response. And so I think if, if your competitor who’s going to be there first, you or your company,
Alexis: [00:24:02] Because if you’re it’s you, then you’re 50% more likely to get that buyer.
I mean, that’s just what it comes down to. You’re more likely to convert and you’re more likely to win them over. And so I can’t stress how much I love that. Social media up that’s specific to it. Cause you can have a little fun with it, right? So it’s just a great way to represent your brand and who you are and what you do.
And you know, if you’re not doing that, First of all, I found out many people, aren’t doing followup that specific to the source where the lead came in, but this one for the social media and the creativity behind it is just, it just goes the extra mile. And so think about having it in place for you.
Chelsey: [00:24:40] All right, Lex we’re I wanted, I wanted us to keep this short and sweet for, for all of our listeners, but aside from no lead left behind, are there any, any little nuggets of wisdom you want to share before, before we depart?
Alexis: [00:25:00] I would say it’s been a very interesting 15. And the role of the OSC, not over the last 10 years, but over the last 15 months, since, you know, we’ve been in this pandemic, if you will, has really evolved and shifted and the way that people, you know, people just expect to make an appointment now.
Right. They don’t, they don’t just show up places anymore. So I, I just can’t stress enough how important this role is and how important it is to have a followup that has multiple touch points in place over 60 to 90 days. Because there are some people that, you know, aren’t converting right away, but you need to stay in front of them with your messaging and your brand, and you need to win them over at the end of the day.
But if you don’t have an OSC in place, consider. Getting one, you don’t a CRM with a great follow-up system. You need to have it in today’s day and age. And you know, it’s been crazy with these. I have some OSTs that are just struggling to get by and they’re answering the phone and but they’re not going that extra mile and they’re not continuing with their outreach.
And so things are in some markets quieting down and returning to normal, whatever that looks like now. But it’s so important to remember all these foundations and these processes, because I think a lot of people got away from it in the pandemic because people were just, you know, buying sight unseen and, you know, calling for an appointment, we didn’t have to work for it.
And, you know, I think depending upon the market, it’s no matter what you always have to have. These processes in place and not get away from, you know, all of it, because you know, there will be a time that you need to work for these appointments and you need to like, kind of keep on them to get them in the door of your model home.
And so I can’t stress enough that, you know, don’t get away from your best practice. Because I think the market will continue to evolve and shift as always, you know, that’s what our industry does. And so just not getting away from the basics because I, I think that’s, that’s really important and pay attention to your social media leads.
I can’t stress that enough, you know take them seriously, qualify them, just like you would a phone call or a website lead because that’s where people are going and we just, we have to be everywhere. And we have to kind of treat everyone the same, honestly. That’s what it comes down.
Chelsey: [00:27:16] Great piece of advice.
Great. So many pieces of advice in this podcast, I’ve learned so much just talking to you during this short 27 minutes. So as I’ve been hosting more episodes of building perspective, I had started something new of giving people, some building perspective. And so your building perspective homework this week before the next episode comes out is to have, let’s say two, just 2, 1, 2, count them two qualifying conversations on social media.
And then I want you to join the building perspective group on Facebook, the group. And tell us about that. And let’s start a conversation about what your qualifying conversations were like and how they went. Did you get appointments out of them? Did you use all the tips Alexis told you and how did it go?
That’s your building perspective, homework
Alexis: [00:28:18] I’m in. So definitely share your comments. If you have a question or, you know, something that came up and it’s a challenge, I will jump in there and help answer any questions I can as well.
Chelsey: [00:28:29] All right, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this episode and we’ll talk to you soon.
Thanks alliances for coming on. Bye.