FloorPop -  Internet Marketing that Works, July 2, 2003

Vol. 3, Issue 4

Copyright (C) 2003 Blair Kuhnen.  All rights reserved. May be reproduced in any medium for noncommercial purposes as long as attribution is given.

The Online Sales Counselor

Is there a key to converting Internet leads into sales? For many builders, the Online Sales Counselor ("OSC") role has come of age. Receive a free copy of Lux Solutions new white paper explaining why the Online Sales Counselor has come of age (registration required).

Let's assume you are already convinced that this is the direction you need to go. The most critical decision you will make is hiring for this position. First, let's take a look at what the OSC does.

The OSC will likely work out of your divisional office and handle all incoming sales leads from Internet sources as well as any off-line resources (e.g., toll-free phone numbers, direct mail). Their goal is to develop rapport and drive physical traffic into your communities.

They are unlikely to meet the prospect. The Internet prospect is probably a little on the shy side when they first request more information. Starting the dialog is key and trust is a prerequisite for driving physical traffic into your communities.

Here's what to look for when hiring for this position:

  1. Self-directed - the OSC works independently and is rarely provided with guidance in the way an on-site sales representative is coached. Because they work independently and in ways different than other sales representatives, they need to be self-directed if they are to improve their performance. The OSC is self-directed with a can-do attitude.

  2. Sales, Communication, and Service skills - the OSC uses e-mail and the phone as their primary tools. Using these tools they attempt to turn the first contact into a customer dialog. That dialog can build trust. This trust develops through providing customer service, making commitments, and delivering on those commitments. Think of the OSC as the Internet lead's concierge to your company's many product offerings. The OSC is salesperson with a strong service orientation.

  3. Extensive Product Knowledge - if the OSC is to provide value he/she must be able to provide detailed product information. In doing so, they build credibility and trust. They will have binders of information, and other crutches, but they must understand both the communities and products being sold. The OSC needs to be perceived by the Internet prospect as a single information source.

  4. Solid Computer/Web Skills - the OSC needs to be facile with all the tools of the trade (e.g., email, simple databases, Web sites). He/she, is not an expert, but a strong end user of technology. The OSC is highly comfortable with technology.

The User-Centered Web Site

The User-Centered Web Site (pdf 127k) - Seven steps to a site that sells homes. Due to publish in the July/August issue of TecHomeBuilder, Blair Kuhnen shares his recipe for creating a website that excels at meeting both your customers' goals and your company's expectations. Read it at www.luxsolutions.com/usercentered.pdf.

Internet Marketing Articles for Builders

The Lux Solutions website now contains expanded articles for builders. In addition to the FloorPop archive, you will find useful links and numerous articles that can help improve the usability and effectiveness of your website. Find them here at: www.luxsolutions.com/articles.html.

FloorPop is published on the first Wednesday of each month.  We welcome your comments, thoughts, and questions.  Please send them to blair@luxsolutions.com.

Blair Kuhnen is the owner of Lux Solutions, an independent consultancy serving the homebuilding industry by providing Internet related sales and marketing solutions.  He can be reached in Fort Worth, Texas at 866-923-4026 or via e-mail at blair@luxsolutions.com