I know that this may seem to be an unusual title for today’s post, but don’t bail on me just yet! Obviously, I am going somewhere with this idea. We have all heard the old axiom that people do business with people that they like. This is an obvious fact, and should always remain in the back of our minds as we are attempting to market and grow our businesses.
While recently listening to a podcast about marketing on Digital Marketing Radio, the guest was speaking about running an effective business. I apologize for not remembering the name of the guest, but I remember his statement as clear as day: “No one cares about your qualifications, they just want to do business with someone they like.” This statement resonated with me, as it is generally true in all business, and particularly true in the home inspection business. As a matter of fact, I use a similar line when I am training new inspectors in my home inspection school, to prepare them for the reality of the business world. I tell them that I can teach almost anyone the practical knowledge that is required to pass the National Home Inspection exam. However, it is very difficult to teach someone how to talk to people.
Inter-personal relationship acumen is something that comes naturally to some people, and must be learned, practiced and agonized over by the rest of us. And while you may be able to develop good people skills, you will never be as accomplished as the person that is “born with it.” The reality is that it is difficult to change your method of handling personal relationships if you don’t already have a passion for personal interaction.
There are many home inspectors that have a laundry list of qualifications, and they are all too happy to let you know about those qualifications. Unfortunately, the one thing that they never bothered to get certified in, the one training class that they failed to register for, is interpersonal relations: how to effectively deal with people. I know many of these inspectors personally, and they are constantly complaining about not being able to generate enough business to sustain themselves in the industry. They constantly shift the blame for their lack of business success onto other things: other inspectors’ prices are too cheap; the Realtors are united against them or are being paid off by other inspectors for referrals. What they fail to realize is that most people really don’t care about qualifications, they simply want to be comfortable with the person that they hire to work for them.
Now, I am not saying that qualifications do not matter, as experience and education are an invaluable part of what we do. What I am saying is that if you come across as a crusty, old, mad-at-the-world individual, you will probably be spending a lot of time alone with your issues. And while not everyone can be happy all the time, you can certainly suspend your personal issues long enough to do a good job for your clients, presenting a persona that lets them know that you genuinely enjoy your job and are more than happy to be able to help them in their home buying decision.
If you have a genuine interest in other people, and in helping them, it is possible to improve on your interpersonal relationship skills. I highly recommend a book that was given to me by my father when I was 16, which I have re-read multiple times over the course of my life: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Originally published in 1936, it has sold over 15 million copies and been revised and republished multiple times. So, whether you were born with a silver tongue or born with two left feet in your mouth, this book can help you refine your people skills, which will only help you in your business ventures.
I will leave you today with two quotes. The first one is typically attributed to an anonymous author: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” And the second one is a quote from Dale Carnegie: “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” Enjoy your home inspection career; enjoy the fact that you are helping people make a major life decision; enjoy meeting and interacting with new and different people; accomplish these things and you will ultimately be successful. And you may even have a bit of fun while you are doing it!
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