Running a small business is hard work. With so many different things on our plate, and trying to do them all at the same time, it’s no wonder that many of us turn to drinking. Quite often, we find ourselves looking for short cuts; tips and tricks to help us move our business along. We’re searching high and low, trying our best to discover that one piece of information that will open the flood gates to a successful new future.
If we had to take a step back, and try to boil it down to the one most important thing that any new business owner should know it’s this:
People like to do business with people they trust.
Think about this statement for a moment. Most of us have a favorite restaurant, the place we go whenever we’re celebrating a big event in our lives. We trust them to get it right, because we have a relationship with them. We’ve eaten there enough times to know exactly how things are going to go when we sit down for dinner. It’s also likely that we’ve got a doctor that we swear by for our healthcare, who’s earned our confidence by taking care of us whenever we get sick. We feel comfortable with that doctor, and believe that they’re going to do the right thing by our health.
We’ve all got trusted people and businesses that we turn to, believing that they’ll take care of us when we’re in need, and the common thread running through all these relationships is time. We’ve had enough time working with them, utilizing their services and frequenting their establishments, that we can trust them, that we feel like we know them on a personal level.
But, in the home inspection business, time is not on our side. We don’t get the chance to meet our clients before the inspection. We can’t really sit down with them and get to know each other. There is no opportunity to meet for coffee, first date style, and feel each other out. It’s a strikingly unique business relationship that we’ve got going: they don’t know us, likely have never met us, yet they’re entrusting us to advise them on what’s likely the largest financial decision they’re ever going to make.
Who thought that was a good idea?
Regardless of how insane it sounds, that’s the reality of our business and there’s not much we can do to change it. Sure, we can do some marketing or put out some catchy stuff online, hoping to make a personal connection, but when push comes to shove, they’re really just trusting a stranger (us) with their future.
There really should be something else that we can do to help bridge this gap between us and our clients. Thankfully there is: trust by proxy.
Most home buyers use a real estate agent to help them navigate the home buying process, and many of them are quite familiar with their agent, dare I say that they might even TRUST them. With that level of trust comes some ancillary benefit for us, the inspectors. If their agent has enough confidence in our company to recommend us to their valued clients, then, by extension, the buyers will also have trust in us.
Now, that doesn’t mean that we can show up and make a mockery of the whole inspection process; we’ve still got to hold up our end of the bargain. But, the “foot in the door” advantage that we gain by having the trust of the real estate agent can go a long way toward making our lives easier.
Trust by proxy. Who knew?
Now all we’ve got to do is figure out how to gain that agent’s trust.
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