As a home inspector, you depend on referrals to drive more customers to your business. More customers mean more income, but that all hinges on who hands out your business cards and sings your praises. In many cases, real estate agents.
Agents are your friends, or they should be. While you can drive business with traditional and word-of-mouth advertising, few things are as influential and effective as the good word of an agent. Here’s how you can make friends with some of the most important people in the real estate industry and encourage them to recommend you to the buyers they work with.
Identify an Opening
Real estate agents are busy folks. You could walk into an office, as some inspectors do, and drop off a stack of cards. And they’ll sit alongside the stacks dropped off by other home inspectors in the area who hope for the same bit of good luck. But if you want to get an agent’s attention, you need to find the right opportunity. Real estate office sales meetings might be your “in,” but you can probably find another.
You can’t, or at least you shouldn’t expect to cut into an agent’s already hectic workday. But if you can find an opportunity when agents are together and the phone isn’t ringing, you’ll stand a better chance of having an impact. Meetings might be your very best chance at a somewhat captive audience. If that doesn’t work, think about offering up a lunch meeting where you foot the bill. Food can sometimes break down barriers when nothing else will.
Make Your Sales Pitch Meaningful
Once you have the attention of agents, you’ve got to use it wisely. It doesn’t matter how delicious those sandwiches from the local deli happen to be. If you don’t offer them an interesting discussion to support your request for handing out business cards, you’ll lose them halfway between the roast beef and potato chips.
Develop a presentation that the agents can use and share with buyers. Maybe you’ll talk about the most common home defects found in your area, complete with dramatic images that show duct tape around a drain line or chimney that’s clogged with creosote. Or maybe you’ll focus on one important element of a home inspection and offer talking points for the agents to use with their clients. It doesn’t matter what you present. What matters is that you make it useful and memorable for the agent.
Don’t Fear Self-Promotion
While you’ve got the attention of agents, that’s the time to explain why your home inspecting business helps them protect their clients. Show the benefit for everyone involved. Explain how you are experienced in spotting defects that many other inspectors miss. And demonstrate the risk that buyers take on if they’re uninformed.
Give out small-size cards or brochures with talking points on one side and your business contact information on the other. Make it easy for agents to help you. Self-promotion can feel uncomfortable, but no one else will do it for you. At least not unless you take the first step. The important part is giving agents a reason to listen, and another reason to pass on the word to clients.
Some agents have home inspectors that they’ve worked with for years. Those are relationships that develop over time, but they all started somewhere. Chances are it wasn’t from the inspector meekly darting into an office and dropping off a stack of business cards on an etagere. Create a great pitch, give them something to think about, and watch the referrals start rolling in.
ICA School is committed to offering the education necessary for people just like you find a rewarding career in home inspecting. If you’re still on the fence, try out a free course demo and see what makes our program different and so much better.