Real estate agents are the referral bread and butter for many home inspectors. And where are you bound to find them? At an open house.
With all of the new and inventive ways to promote your home inspection business, sometimes the best approach is to get out there and meet people. Social media is ideal for networking and ads can drum up business, too. But there’s nothing like an in-person connection.
Here’s how to make the most of the open house events in your area.
#1: Polish up Your Positive Attitude
Many home inspectors appreciate the relatively solo nature of the job. Even if you invite customers to the inspection, you probably only speak with one or two people, and sometimes the agent. An open house is a very different environment, and that might feel intimidating.
Psych Central recommends eliminating “like” and “um” from your vocabulary. Fillers such as those reduce your credibility and make you appear less confident. Another speaking tip is to match your speech with the agent’s. Too soft or too loud, too fast or too slow, and you might not hit it off.
#2: Dress for the Occasion
You don’t have to dress up. But it’s a good idea to look the part. If you have a company badge or logo shirt, this is the time to wear it. And if not, wear clothing that matches your industry, but of course, nothing that’s old or stained.
If you think about this meeting as a job interview, and in a way it is, Ziprecruiter recommends going for a “smart casual” look. A button-down shirt or a nice polo and khakis should do the trick. Dark jeans will also work, especially if you decide to wear a blazer.
#3: Think About What You’ll Say
How will you approach the real estate agent that you want to meet? You need a plan, so think about what you’ll say. Practice it, if you must. In time, open house events will be second nature. But for now, it’s a good idea to work on a conversation opener.
Home inspector, Amy Kleptach, tells ASHI Reporter that this is a good way to begin:
“‘Hi, I’m Robert Smith, and I’m a home inspector. I came to see you!’ If the conversation stalls, you can add, ‘I heard that real estate agents like gifts, so I brought you a treat.’ Hand them the gift and watch them smile.”
#4: Bring a Gift (And Lots of Business Cards)
Speaking of gifts, who doesn’t love a treat? You should have something interesting to give the agent. Candy, fruit, a snack mix or anything small but of good quality will work. Present the treat in a small basket or a gift bag. Staple or tie a business card where it’s clearly visible.
Along with the treat, tuck in plenty of brochures and a stack of business cards. If you have a business newsletter, print out a few copies and add those, along with a pen, recommends Kleptach.
#5: Be Ready to Tell Your Story
Here is perhaps the most important part of the meeting. Once you have the agent’s attention, you can talk about your company and why you’re the home inspector they should call. You should plan this conversation the same as you planned your opener. But be brief.
Explain how long you’ve been an inspector, talk about your areas of service, and think of a reason why your inspection business stands out. Then ask the agent questions. Kleptach recommends these:
- How long have you been a real estate agent?
- Which office do you work from?
- How do your clients usually choose a home inspector?
- Do you recommend one home inspector regularly?
- Does your office have a list of qualified inspectors? May I be added to the list?
- Which day of the week is your staff meeting? May I attend one?
Meeting real estate agents sometimes takes a bit of creativity. They’re busy people, and they’re often out of the office. And if they’ve been in the industry long, they probably have several home inspectors they recommend.
An open house is one of the few places where you’ll find an agent in one place for more than a few minutes. So craft your plan, and get out there to find the agents who could send valuable referrals your way.
If you’re still on the fence about a career change, now is a great time to get started with ICA School’s online training. Enroll now and you could be on your way to an open house in a matter of a few weeks.