Trust. It is one of those words that evokes a certain, unique mental imagery for most people. Some people will immediately think about a parent or favorite family member, some will think of lifelong friends and others may think of a pet or a favorite place. The point is that trust can be hard to define and even harder to explain.
One of the many definitions of trust is to allow someone to have, use, or look after something or someone of great importance and/or value, such as trusting someone with your life. The reason that I bring this up is that to be successful in business (and in life), you must develop trust between you and the others close to you in your life.
In the home inspection industry, an inspector must obviously develop trust between their clients and themselves. Successful inspectors also develop and nurture a level of trust between them and their source of referrals. Whether that source is real estate agents, lenders, title companies or some other type of human or digital intermediary, success in that space demands a certain level of trust.
So how do we develop this trust with our sources? How do we gain the trust of the person that controls the referrals? Successful home inspectors realize that in business, as in everyday life, relationships must be nurtured, and typically take a long time to develop to a deeper level of trust. Unfortunately, many inspectors walk right up to an agent that they have just met and immediately ask the agent to recommend them for their real estate clients’ inspections. And while there is certainly something to say for guerilla style marketing (attempting to overwhelm your opponent into submission), we have always heard that ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ Another way to say this is that giving a consistent and effective effort towards your goal will ultimately increase your chances of success.
When we are trying to develop a business relationship with a new person, we must think of it in terms of what will happen in the long term. Can we see ourselves forming a mutually beneficial business affiliation with this person for years to come? If our goals and standards align, this could turn into a long-term relationship. And like any long-term investment, it demands consistent, small deposits to achieve any growth.
Unfortunately, building relationships takes time, and when you are starting out in a new business venture, time is your enemy. Many small business start-ups fail in the first two years due to a lack of capital. For home inspectors, this means that if you are not doing some type of inspections, you are not creating income. Proper planning for these lean times is essential to surviving in the inspection industry. Planning ahead helps increase the possibility that you will be able to survive the time it takes to begin to develop these business relationships.
In the next post, we will continue the discussion of trust, explaining how providing value to your clients can assure value for your business.
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