Demystifying Sales and Marketing for Home Inspection Professionals
By Brian Bell, VP Sales and Marketing at Carson Dunlop
Operating your Home Inspection business comes with many challenges and
the most neglected part of the business is always on the sales and
marketing front. Here's some help
sorting things out.
inspectors say sales and marketing cost a lot and have no guaranteed
return, which is why they place it on the backburner.
This article is designed to
demystify the sales and marketing process
and provide home inspectors with an easy and hands-on approach
to sales and marketing. Building and growing your home inspection
business should be top of mind for any professional in today’s fast
paced real estate market.
Sales & Marketing: What’s the Difference?
Marketing is about spreading the word about your products and services
through many different media channels in order to create awareness.
Think of your website, press releases, product sheet information and
social media as marketing tools to help increase awareness about you
and your services.
Sales is about building one-on-one relationships with prospective
clients or partners to directly tell them how your products and
services solves a problem for them or their clients. When you
effectively combine sales and marketing, you are able to take your
Home Inspection business to the next level.
Do you want to make more money? The vast majority of Home Inspectors answer YES which means they have
to make a major commitment: CHANGE.
You have to be
committed to doing things
differently in order to build and grow your business. Doing the same
things over and over again and expecting
different results is the definition of insanity.
Now that you have taken the most important step of committing
to change, the next step in the process is to build a sales and
marketing plan. We know this sounds like a complex and difficult task,
but in fact it is relatively straight forward and easy.
We have developed a simple
five step sales and marketing process and created an easy-to-use free
template that can be downloaded at
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How important is setting a goal? This story makes it clear: 3% of
the 1979 Harvard MBA graduates have made
10 times as much money
as the other 97%. Why is that? The big difference was they wrote
down their goals and their specific plans to achieve them. The
majority of the graduates had set no goals and had no idea where
they were going.
Making SMART Goals
Goal setting is incredibly easy, and yet most people don't do it. A
simple guideline is to set a SMART goal. That means Specific,
bound - SMART. Sound complicated? It's not. Let's have a look:
Your sales goal might be to
Achieve $100,000 in sales in 2013.
Let's look at it.
Is it Specific? Yes,
$100,000 is a very specific number.
Is it Measurable?
Absolutely, I can determine whether I get to $100,000 in sales.
Is it Achievable? Make
sure it is. If sales last year were $80,000, a target of $100,000
seems very achievable.
Is it Relevant? It's
relevant to your ability to put food on the table.
Is it Time-bound? The
guideline of 2013 gives a very specific time frame.
The first important rule in building your plan is that “It's not
Look at everything from the perspective of your audience. They don't
care about the features
of your company. They care about the
benefit to them. Most
don't care about your qualifications. They assume Home Inspectors
are qualified and know how to inspect homes. They want you to
help them. Try thinking
like a customer and asking yourself this question, "What do I want
from a Home Inspection?" The answer might be, "Help me decide
whether to buy this house." Or they might say, "Tell me what
condition it's in so I can make a good decision." That's what they
want from you. That's pretty simple.
What else might they want?
Be available when I need you.
Talk to me in simple language.
Be friendly and patient.
Answer my questions.
Give me a report I can understand.
Be there if I have questions down the road.
Can you do all those things?
The goal is to create incredible value
for your clients. At the
risk of being repetitive, it's not all about you; it's about them.
What problem can you solve for them?
What need can you address?
How can you make their lives easier?
How can you make them more successful?
Your marketing message answers these questions for your audience.
Who is Your Audience?
Is it prospective home buyers, real estate sales professionals, home
sellers, lenders, someone else? Your message changes because
different audiences have different needs.
Your Value Proposition or Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Everyone should have an elevator pitch. When people ask what you do
or who you are, you need to be able to explain it in 10 to 30
seconds. The first part is about you and the last part is about
Here's our USP, "We are an engineering company that has been focused
on Home Inspection since 1978. We are pioneers and one of the
largest inspection firms in Canada. We are passionate about using
our knowledge and experience to help home buyers, owners and sellers
make informed decisions on the biggest investment they'll ever
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Create your own value proposition based on what you bring and how
you help. And of course, you probably have different USPs for home
buyers and real estate sales professionals.
Don't Make it About Price
Price should never be part of your value proposition as it is not a
differentiator in your business. We view Home Inspection as a
professional consulting practice that helps customers make an
informed decision when buying or selling a home.
Focus on value by providing more benefits to your clients and
partners instead of lowering your price. Ask yourself the question:
“Are the most successful Home Inspection companies the cheapest?”
People don't typically buy the least expensive house on the market,
or the cheapest car on the road. They buy what represents the best
value to them. That's
how they should choose their Home Inspection company as well.
How You Deliver the Message
We said your message will depend on your audience, so decide which
market(s) you will target. Here's a partial list to get you started.
hey will benefit directly from your serviceThey will benefit directly from your service
-Most are looking for a Home Inspector
-It's hard to know who's about to buy a home;
message has to go out broadly
-People only buy a house once every 5 to 7
years; one-time event
Real estate sales
-They work with home buyers and sellers all
-possible stream of business rather than a one-time event
-They are easy to identify and target
-Their goals are different than the buyer's
to some extent
-They are an intermediary between you and the
-They are easy for your competition to
identify and target
Now, prepare your messages to meet the needs of each audience. Here
are a couple of starters you can build on.
Home buyers needs: protection, information, reassurance.
Real estate sales professionals needs:
What are Your Messages?
We can't tell you, because we don't know what you bring. You are
unique. Think about matching your assets to the needs of your
audience. Remember, most will not be challenging your technical
competency, they assume it. Go back and look at the list of things
they might want.
We said that people will assume you are going to perform a competent
inspection. There some other things that you need to do well. While
they are not unique skills, it's amazing how many people mess these
up. These are basic business skills and life skills; not at all
specific to Home Inspection. They are however, critical to success
in Home Inspection.
These are things like first impressions, how your website looks and
feels, how you answer your phone, how easy it is to make an
appointment with you, whether you show up on time, how your vehicle
looks, your appearance, your smile, your first words, your manner
and attitude, your respect, patience and interest in people, the
promptness and usability of your report and your availability to
answer questions after the fact. While you may not think of these as
your marketing messages, each of these sends a message to your
Somewhat sadly, if you get these right every time, you have beaten
95% of your competition.
Go back to your unique selling proposition. Think about your
background. Think about your clients’ wants and needs. This obsolete
list may give you some ideas about how you can make yourself
-We never keep you waiting - if we're not on time for the inspection,
-Will provide free technical consulting firms long as you own your
-We offer a money back guarantee. If you are ever less than
completely satisfied with us for any reason, we will gladly return
your fee, no questions asked. (Some offer a double or even triple
money back guarantee.)
-Give people a tape measure with your logo.
-Give people your report on a memory stick that they can use. Of
course it has your logo.
-Give or send people change of address cards.
-Bring colouring books and crayons to the inspection for children.
-Bring water and/or healthy snacks to the inspection.
-Give clients a water bottle or coffee mug.
-Brings slip on booties that people can put over their shoes as they
walk through the house.
-Build a custom maintenance program for your clients based on the
-A carwash coupon on their windshield.
-Cut their grass on move-in day.
-Send handwritten thank you card.
-Offer a home warranty.
-Offer a free one-year update inspection.
Building your Home Inspection business is not a one-time event; it
requires an ongoing commitment and effort. The information in this
article is excerpted from Carson Dunlop’s Building Your Home
Inspection Course. This course provides you with the tools to help
you take your business to the next level. To learn more visit