Like all of us, Preston Innerst, EYA Marketing's Sr. Vice President of Sales, Broker, has now been working from home for almost five months. In his role, he oversees the sales team. “I’ve always viewed my position as giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed, while also holding them accountable," he said.
While everyone at EYA Marketing has had to adapt to a virtual environment and working remotely, Preston’s sales team was faced with some unique challenges because their job requires them to meet with customers on a regular basis. Prior to COVID-19, there were very few virtual appointments, and now EYA Marketing has launched two new projects virtually with over 30 appointments booked within minutes of the opening events and sold new homes without anyone ever stepping into a sales center or having an in-person meeting. “Part of the challenge was not only acclimating the sales team to meeting virtually, but also making sure the customers feel comfortable,” said Preston.
With 2 teenage boys doing virtual school and wife working virtually too, finding a quiet spot to work often is a challenge
Not only was Preston and his team tasked with making appointments virtual, but he was also part of the EYA Marketing's Sales Task Force, which was created to “rethink how the sales office functions because they have always been designed to be a place where we’re trying to put lots of people in the space together and encourage lots of interaction.” He continued to say, “We really had to look at all of the sales trailers, look at the model homes, the sales office, and think about how you create an environment where a customer is going to feel safe and comfortable coming in and that your sales team is going to feel safe and comfortable interacting with someone that is coming in.”
“As frustrating and inconvenient as it is that we are in the current situation, it is exciting to be challenged to think outside the box and try new solutions that we haven’t done before.”
For example, Preston and his team were tasked with taking a traditional sales opening and turning it into a 30-minute virtual event. Earlier this month, Preston and his team completed EYA Marketing's second virtual opening for The Townhomes at Reston Station. After a successful virtual opening at Riggs Park Place, the pressure was on to replicate the same success. The team was pleased to see that the second virtual opening was as successful as the first.
For Preston, the most difficult part of switching gears has been the increase in the number of meetings. "I used to be able to walk down the hall, grab two people and accomplish something in five minutes. Now, it seems to require a block of time and a 30-minute meeting. A lot of the meetings have really good things come out of them, but you spend your whole day meeting. It's hard to get to the to-do list except for the weekends and evenings.”
Even with the changes and obstacles, Preston feels confident in the way the team has adapted.
“Due to the COVID-19 environment, we have had to adapt both our in person appointment processes to ensure safety for our employees and customers, and we have had to enhance our virtual and online tools so that information that used to require a visit to the sales center can now be all demonstrated during a virtual appointment. The end result has allowed for customers to interact with us in the manner they feel most comfortable with and not miss any information. Opening a community virtually when hundreds of people are online watching has allowed more customers to get more information in a shorter amount of time to make informed decisions, and provided them flexibility to schedule follow up appointments to have specific questions answered at a time that is convenient for them."
He added, "During these changing times, we've really taken on the challenge to create a safe, productive, and efficient way to interact with our customers. We look forward to meeting with folks where they feel comfortable, and where we do too."