There is an old axiom about making sure that as you go through life, you must work hard to get your fair share of the pie. Hard work is always valued, but I am not really sure where the pie reference originated. I have always been more of a cake and cookie guy, but that’s a topic for another day. Today we are speaking of pie; not in relation to dessert, but in relation to market share.
It seems that there are many home inspectors that believe when a new inspector or a new inspection company enters their market, this new competition will automatically have a detrimental impact on their business. They subscribe to the belief that there is only one pie, and when someone else gets a bigger slice of pie, it means that there is less pie for them. The reality is that there is plenty of pie to be had. Just because (in your opinion) someone is being greedy and taking more than their fair share of pie, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will not be able to enjoy your slice of pie. In reality, there are many different pies out there to be had; you simply have to determine what flavor you prefer.
While the home inspection industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 20 years, and the percentage of home buyers utilizing our services has certainly increased, the reality is that there are no markets that have achieved total saturation. There is no area where every time a new contract is signed to purchase a house, a home inspection is scheduled. We have all seen a steady rise in our market share, but there will always be more home sales than home inspections performed. The reality is that there are still a large percentage of home buyers who are unfamiliar with the home inspection process. This means that there are still new clients for our services. There is always more pie to be had.
While there is certainly an abundance of pie available, the best course of action is to determine which pie is your favorite. I’m sure we have all experienced a dinner buffet at some point in our lives, and I’m sure that we have all been guilty of overindulgence at a buffet. When faced with so many different options on the dessert bar, the best course of action is not to take a piece of every type of pie offered. While this can be done, there is typically a detrimental gastronomical effect that we (and our loved ones) must endure as a consequence. The best course of action is always to focus our attention (and appetites) on the pie that we enjoy the most.
The same can be said of the home inspection industry. There are many different types of inspection products, there are many different types of clients and there are many different types of agents. You must determine which type of product, client and agent you are comfortable having as the focus of your business. While some inspectors attempt to provide every type of inspection service under the sun, this can often come across as a desperate attempt to garner business: a “jack of all trades and master of none.” You cannot be proficient in everything, and must decide what works best for your business.
There will be things that you excel in, as well as things that you do not enjoy doing. There will be clients that you prefer to work with, and those that you wish you had never met. There will be agents that you thoroughly enjoy working with, and those that ask you to do things that you are uncomfortable with. Only you can decide where your limits lie, and only you can erect the barriers that keep you from overstepping your bounds and traveling outside your professional comfort zone.
One of the most difficult things for a business person, especially a new business person, to do is to say “no” to a client. While making our clients happy and doing things that are in their best interest is typically good for business, we must remember that (ultimately) doing things that are in our best interests is what keeps us in business. While I would like to garner business from every Realtor, the reality is that there are some agents out there whose ethics and business practices do not align with mine. I have learned many hard lessons over the years, but I now know that a short term gain may not necessarily be worth the long term implications. There are agents that I will not work with, and they typically do not call me for their clients’ inspections.
Learning to say “no” is very difficult, as it is not in our (business) nature to turn down an opportunity to make money. However, sometimes it is the best course of action. Don’t be afraid to say “no.”
I will end with a quote from one of the most successful business men of our age, Warren Buffett, who said: “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” Be successful; know when to say no.
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