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Editor’s Note: This story appears in Working RE Home Inspector’s Summer 2018 Print Edition. OREP insureds enjoy it free along with many other business and risk management benefits! WRE reaches 20,000+ Home Inspectors in Print and Online!
Realtors, Referrals & Relationships
By Joel L. Singer, CEO, APPLICA / Home Wizard
You are a good home inspector. No wait…you are a GREAT home inspector! But do real estate agents consistently give out your name for referrals to homeowners?
There is no substitute for being qualified in your inspection work and treating real estate agents and homeowners with the respect they deserve. But the secret for growing your inspection business is building strong relationships with agents who continually generate ongoing referrals for you. You do that by:
• staying top-of-mind,
• helping them personally, and
• helping them professionally.
Top of Mind
We all know the expression: If a tree falls in the forest, is it heard? Similarly, doing a great job or making a great sales pitch to a group of real estate agents is essential but what good is it if they don’t remember you when opportunities come up? The key to achieving instant recall is staying top-of-mind with agents by continually sending them reminders of who you are and the good work that you stand for. It is one thing if they remember your name when asked but when you truly occupy top-of-mind status, your name is the first one they think of without even being prompted.
Achieving this level of awareness is challenging. There’s a name for contact when the receiver does NOT find it valuable . . . it is called SPAM. So the ongoing reminders agents receive must be valuable to them personally or professionally. Of course the best is when they are helpful personally AND professionally.
According to a survey done by the National Association of REALTORS, repeat clients account for an average of 20 percent of most real estate transactions. Even more significant is that higher-producing real estate professionals report that up to 40 percent of their business is repeat business. When you add that another 24 percent comes from referrals from existing clients, it paints a picture where up to 64 percent of real estate business can be generated by referrals and repeat business! That’s almost two-thirds! If the story is even close to being similar for your business, it means that the potential is great for increasing your business from existing clients and contacts. These stats make a very compelling argument for the power of staying top-of-mind with the contacts in your current sphere of influence. But there is another compelling reason for staying top-of-mind, and that is that it is highly cost effective. The reason is that it leverages the efforts you have already made in getting to know these contacts and demonstrating the great work you can do. More than just leveraging your efforts, it leverages the investment you’ve made in the years of training and business experience that have made you who you are. Just compare this to the high cost of generating leads from scratch with people who have never met you and still need to be convinced of your capabilities. Staying top-of-mind is more than just people remembering your name. It is helping them remember the positive experience they’ve had from working with you. This positive experience is a very precious commodity. This is pure gold!
Ideally you want to stay top-of-mind in ways that deliver value to clients and will show them that you respect the privilege they have given you of allowing you to keep in contact with them on an ongoing basis. And further, these regular contacts will help build your brand.
Helping Them Personally
Real estate agents are people. As such, continually connecting with them personally is important for favorably maintaining a top-of-mind business relationship with them. So how can you help make their lives personally better? Like you, they tend to be very busy people, so making it easier for them to take care of their home is something that they will definitely appreciate. Providing them with timely home care reminders and tips is a great way to help them take care of their homes. But these reminders MUST be personalized for their goals and particular home, otherwise they will not be considered valuable.
For example, APPLICA/Home Wizard provides home inspectors with an interactive e-Newsletter that gives each of their subscribers personalized monthly home care reminders and tips for their specific home features and the particular goals that they have for their home. So if an agent’s home has a heat pump and one of their top goals is saving energy, then their monthly reminders and tips would include energy saving tips for operating a heat pump . . . which provides valuable, personalized, ongoing contact with this agent. The nice thing about helping make it easier for them to take care of their homes is that since they are in the real estate business, this increased knowledge of home care can also help them professionally.
Helping Them Professionally
Conducting a home inspection is a critical part of the overall real estate transaction process. The more a real estate agent understands the ins and outs of home inspection, the more effective they will be professionally. Sending your real estate contacts helpful articles that help them understand the subtle and not-sosubtle nuances of the inspection business will help make them better at their jobs. They will also appreciate you including articles with tips that will help them improve their marketing and sales techniques. Another way to help agents is by sharing your knowledge of who you believe are the good local contractors. This of course can help them both professionally and personally. The more you can help agents professionally, the more you will have opportunities to stay top-of-mind with them.
Other Examples of How to Stay in Contact
There are other ways to keep in on-going contact with agents without seeming “spammy.” These include:
• Social Media: consistently posting helpful home care tips, improvement ideas, articles and videos.
• Web SEO Enhancement: Providing helpful information on your website that is frequently updated on a daily and monthly basis.
• Mobile: Offering a customized mobile app that provides value- added information, which serves to keep your “business card” with them in their pocket, purse, or tablet on an ongoing basis.
You’ve worked hard to build your qualifications and reputation as an excellent home inspector. This is a solid foundation for a successful inspection business. But growing your business requires consistently generating referrals from real estate agents, which you can accelerate by staying top-of-mind and helping them both personally and professionally.
About the Author
Joel L. Singer is CEO of APPLICA / Home Wizard, which offers marketing automation tools for home inspectors: interactive e-Newsletters with personalized home care reminders & tips; automated social media postings; customizable mobile apps; and web SEO enhancers. To learn more, visit: www.applica-solutions.com/homewizard.
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