National Online Sales Counselor (OSC) Trainer and Founder of Blue Gypsy, Inc., Leah Fellows joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to discuss the 2021 Online Homebuyer Mystery Shop results. Fellows joins hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the All About Real Estate segment.
With over 16 years of industry experience, Fellows started her career onsite and in 2006, became an online sales counselor. After seeing a lack of education for OSCs and realizing that most builders needed assistance to help successfully adopt an OSC program, Fellows founded Blue Gypsy, Inc., a company dedicated to the training and development of OSCs.
“There just weren’t enough trainers out there teaching people how to be online sales counselors,” said Fellows. “Currently as a boutique trainer to builders…I only work with about six to eight builders a year…to focus on personalized assistance.”
In partnership with Denim Marketing and Melinda Brody and Company, Blue Gypsy, Inc. organized the second annual Homebuyer Mystery Shop to collect data on the follow-up engagement of 50 builders across the country. Online inquiries were submitted with specific information and a question to evaluate a builder’s follow-up and the success of its lead follow-up program. The survey analyzed local, regional and national builders while looking at a variety of factors over a 30-day period to see how companies are engaging buyers on a personalized and marketing level.
An online sales counselor is a dedicated role on a builder’s team that responds to all incoming website contact forms, as well as leads from other advertising sources. These individuals or teams respond to the initial inquiry as well facilitate ongoing engagement with potential homebuyers. In 2020, 58% of builders had OSCs and in 2021, the number of builders adopting an online sales program increased by 2%, a slight improvement. Fellows shared that she was surprised the number was not higher.
Fellows shared, “My other surprise was that the actual engagement was lower.”
With the dedicated OSC position, there is an expected higher quality of follow-up. However, the survey found a decrease due to several contributing factors. Pandemic complications such as supply chain shortages, land availability and a higher number of buyers led to home builders limiting sales in developing communities to combat the inventory shortage. With more than enough buyers for available homes, homebuyer follow-up can fall by the wayside, negatively impacting customer service and a builder’s future reputation.
While the housing industry is experiencing a boom in sales, the real estate market historically experiences ebbs and flows. When buyers are experiencing doubts in the face of skyrocketing prices and bidding wars, an OSC can maintain a personalized follow-up to nurture the lead. When the buyer is ready to purchase a home, they are more likely to return to that builder due to the positive follow-up experience.
Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. Blue Gypsy, Inc. and New American Funding are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (November/2021)
New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit www.branch.newamericanfunding.com/Atlanta.
The Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio “All About Real Estate” segment, presented by Denim Marketing, highlights the movers and shakers in the Atlanta real estate industry – the home builders, developers, Realtors and suppliers working to provide the American dream for Atlantans. For more information on how you can be featured as a guest, contact Denim Marketing at 770-383-3360 or fill out the Atlanta Real Estate Forum contact form. Subscribe to the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast on iTunes, and if you like this week’s show, be sure to rate it.