January 18, 2023
7 Traits Home Builders Should Look for in an Online Sales Consultant
The right online sales consultant (OSC) is an important asset for any home building or real estate company. But finding the right fit for your organization can be incredibly difficult, especially when you have goals and tight milestones to meet. Finding online sales consultants who can be incredibly valuable to organizations is different from looking for on-site real estate agents so home builders need to search for some additional skill sets.
Online sales consultants create a customer-first foundation for engagement and sales. To focus your search for employees in these critical positions, look for people who are:
Online sales consultants set the tone of the interaction between potential home buyers and realtors, home builders, and the on-site sales team. They are also integral for creating the foundation of a long-term relationship that leads to a home sale and future referrals. Potential referrals include both realtor and homeowner referrals to continue to grow your business and reach your sales goals.
That means your online sales consultant must be enthusiastic during the first interaction — whether on the phone, live chat, or via email — and every subsequent touchpoint and conversation along the way. A great home, community, and ideal price point combined with an unfriendly or bland interaction will almost always result in a lost sale.
Your OSC must help home buyers narrow their search to the ideal community and home design, thus making them excited to schedule a showing and move them one step closer to purchasing. Enthusiasm doesn't mean explosive energy and constant calls or emails about the home builder or community. Instead, enthusiasm should come through with authentic interest in home buyers' requests and lifestyle needs and a clear focus on helping them find their dream home.
Ultimately, your online sales consultant needs to bring in results. They need to assist in selling your homes, turning online leads into on-site showings and appointments, and helping ensure that you meet your revenue goals. Because of that, they need to be strongly motivated by their results.
Excellent online sales consultants are ambitious, invested, and hyper-focused on producing qualified leads and appointments for your on-site team to convert into a happy homeowner and create a loyal realtor following. Whether you have specific follow-up processes you want your online sales consultants to follow or if you want your OSCs to create a systematic process for online success, you achieve the best results with consultants who want to reach their numbers.
However, that characteristic can be too aggressive if it's the only one you look for. Make sure you balance out your search for results-driven applicant characteristics with the others on this list.
3. Active Listener
Active listening is a process of listening that communicates engagement with the speaker. Active listeners give nonverbal cues, such as body language and eye contact, to indicate interest in what the speaker is saying. Listeners can also confirm statements with positive sounds of agreement or summarizing what the speaker said when they're done. Prospective home buyers want to know that the online sales consultant is listening to their needs in a new home and community and not just trying to make a quick sale
The skill of active listening — even in the digital environment using Zoom, emails, texts, and phone calls — makes home buyers feel listened to and more confident in what they're expressing.
Online sales consultants need to be excellent active listeners to make the home buying process enjoyable for clients. Active listening also helps OSCs learn more about their prospects so they can find the perfect home for them.
Prospects will only share their motivations, goals, pain points, and uncertainties if they feel comfortable, and all of those elements are crucial details for salespeople (especially if they're selling luxury real estate or expensive homes in a master-planned community). Without being able to actively listen and encourage clients, they won't be able to create good, successful relationships and create a positive home buying process with your company.
4. Organized Communicator
Along with active listening, successful online sales consultants must be able to communicate well themselves. This starts with organization and frequent interactions. Constant outreach and open lines of communication strengthen the relationship and lead to a sale. Home buyers will quickly look to other communities or competitors if they do not receive quick and helpful responses from your online sales consultant.
One of the most necessary tools that OSCs use to be an effective and organized communicator is a CRM tool. This allows them to organize all of their leads, tasks, correspondence, and more to improve communication and customer experience.
But every touchpoint should have a purpose and not waste the client’s time or be perceived as spam messages. That's why the organization is so important. OSCs must be able to follow-up with questions in a fast time frame, avoid unnecessarily repeating information or forgetting at what stage of process their prospects are in, and otherwise manage the flow of information.
5. Sales Expert
While the relationship itself is important, making sales is one of the most important metrics for salespeople. They need to be able to successfully convert clients to paying customers and home buyers. Finding people their perfect forever home is a long, time-intensive process. Losing leads at the very end of the process means losing all of those hours of work, the leads themselves, and the opportunity cost of the sale the OSC could have made.
Ideal online sales consultants should make an on-site agent’s job easier by driving qualified prospects to their dream homes. To do this, OSCs must nurture relationships, understand their prospects’ biggest needs, and set appointments that are more likely to result in a purchase. They must also provide the on-site agent all the important details of the home buyers needs in a new home that they learned during their nurturing process. This way the prospective home buyer won’t need to repeat everything once they visit on-site, and the on-site agent will be prepared to continue moving them along in the sales process. .
It is also important that OSCs need to be able to determine when a lead is not the right fit for the home builder's community and filter them out of the sales funnel, or direct them to another community you offer that better matches their needs and price point.
6. Industry Expert
Expertise is the foundation for many of these skills. OSCs can't actively listen to buyers’ detailed expectations if they don't understand the details. They can't set prospective home buyers’ expectations on pricing, features, and amenities without an in-depth understanding of the development and the local real estate market.
Online sales consultants are home buyers' first point of contact for getting information about homes, the local community, the buyer's next steps in the process, and property trends. If your OSC doesn’t know the answers or gives the wrong answers, prospective home buyers lose trust in your online sales consultant — and your business.
In today's real estate market of virtual home tours and online searches, technology is more important than ever. Your ideal online sales consultants need to have a complete mastery of communication technologies, CRM platforms, industry news sites, and more.
Online sales consultants, especially, need to be able to help their clients navigate through online home buying resources on your website in an engaging, supportive way. With the continued popularity of Zoom and other video meeting sites, they should be very comfortable incorporating this technology when needed.
Check to ensure your applicants have a good understanding of the tools and platforms your company prefers.
Set Your OSC Up for Success With Milesbrand
Online sales consultants are an integral part of your strategy. You need reliable, highly motivated, and competent team members to nurture leads and sell homes. Here at Milesbrand, we can assist with all of the branding and marketing efforts that improve your digital footprint and give your OSC the perfect platform for success.