Note: This post is the second of a two-part article. Click here to read part one.
I hope that everyone is doing well and prospering in their business. In the second half of this article, I wanted to expand on the idea of Constant Marketing, and the fact that every move you make has an effect on your business. In part one of this article, we discussed how focusing solely on short-term profit can lead to long-term failure. We also touched on the fact that everything you do, in every facet of your (business) life, reflects on you and your future business. In this article, we will discuss how this happens and what (if anything) we can do about it.
When we were teenagers, we had a very myopic view of the world: everything revolved around us and we had little knowledge (or cares) of things that may happen in the far-away future. At that age, it’s all about the present. But we had an excuse: our brains were not operating at peak connectivity. Our pre-frontal cortex had yet to fully integrate itself with the rest of our brain. (Unfortunately, that doesn’t fully occur until we hit our mid 20’s.)
The reality is that many of us look at our business in the same manner as our teen-aged selves looked at the world: through a myopic lens that doesn’t allow us to see any farther than our bank account. Yes, we are in business to make money and we should take full advantage of each individual business transaction, earning the money that we need to keep the doors open. If we don’t, we won’t be in business for long.
However, if we plan on being in business for a long time, we need to also perform a bit of regular self-evaluation. Step back and take a look at your business from 10,000 feet. Try to imagine what type of far-reaching effects each individual business interaction can have on our long-term business goals. While the money we make today is certainly important, if it’s not helping us garner more money for our future business, then we might as well lower our stress levels and go back to working for an hourly paycheck.
As an example of this 10,000 ft view concept in action, consider one of my recent inspections. I pulled up in front of my afternoon inspection and quickly realized that something was wrong. I was scheduled to inspect a 10-year-old, 2500 square foot slab home, but was staring out my vehicle window at a raised home. Now, you should know that we charge an extra $100 for inspecting a home with this size crawlspace, as the added work (crawling around under the house) adds more time to the inspection process.
In most situations, our standard operating procedure is to immediately inform the agent and client of the scheduling error and advise them of the additional fee (as well as reminding them of the additional work and time that will be needed to inspect the crawlspace.) And while I certainly am entitled to the extra $100 fee for the extra work, I should not blindly cling to this additional $100 charge at all costs. The $100 up-charge is certainly our policy, but always remember that there are exceptions to every rule. Don’t forget that your future business success can often be affected by your ability to “read the cues” in every different situation.
Yes, each home inspection is a business transaction and should follow a well-worn path, adhering to a normal routine and having expectations met at each checkpoint along the path.
When I inspect a raised, 2500 sq ft house, I expect to be paid an additional $100 fee for the crawlspace.
Image what you can do with $100. You could have a nice evening with your significant other (or a really nice time by yourself!) You could buy that new tool you’ve been eyeing, or you could pay that fee that’s due at your child’s school. However, you are certainly going to encounter situations where not collecting that $100 may be the smartest business move; a better investment in the future of your business.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Why would I give up that $100 that I’m earning while crawling under that nasty house?” And I certainly agree with you, as I can attest, home inspectors earn every penny of our fee when we crawl around under a house. However, I challenge you to think about that $100 in a different way. Think of it as a marketing expense and not as lost income. Think of it the same way that you think about sponsoring a breakfast meeting or paying for an advertising position at an industry event.
It’s all marketing, all of the time. (Constant Marketing)
I’m certainly not advocating that you do all of your crawlspace inspections for free; that’s not what I’m saying. I’m merely pointing out the fact that sometimes foregoing a small amount of income now can lead to much more income in the future. Maybe it’s an important client that knows lots of other potential home buyers; maybe it’s a high-profile agent who’s radar you’ve been trying to get on; maybe it’s a real estate office where you’ve been trying to build a presence. There are a number of different reasons why you would consider doing something like this, but they all point to one thing: a potential for more business in the future.
I leave you with a quote from Sir John Lubbock: “What we do see depends mainly on what we look for.” Step back, get a different perspective and take a look from 10,000 ft; you may be surprised what you can see from up here!
For Home Inspectors only!
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‘Professional Home Inspector centered’ take on Constant Marketing.
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