“The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it’s very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.” This quote is from Thomas J. Watson, an American businessman and Chairman and CEO of IBM for over 44 years. This quote can be used to summarize the most important part of your marketing efforts as a professional home inspector: to earn the trust of your clients.
It is commonly said that our paying customer, typically the home buyer, is our number one client. However, the most successful home inspectors all realize one thing: your most important client is the Realtor.
Successful home inspectors garner the vast majority of their business from the Realtors that are their clients. I’m not saying that marketing directly to the home buyer is not an effective technique, as there are many inspectors who successfully employ this strategy. My point is that marketing to Realtors is a more direct and concise method of developing business relationships.
Yes, by marketing directly to the home buyers you will earn home inspections, and those inspections may lead to satisfied customers, some of whom may even refer you to their home buying friends. However, the Realtor is (traditionally) intimately involved in every process of buying a home, and can be an unlimited source of referrals for years to come. If the professional home inspector and the professional Realtor’s values are in sync, then they are both working toward the same goal: to ensure that their (shared) client gets the maximum value out of their business relationship and ends up in a house that they are comfortable with.
Earning someone’s trust, in life as well as in business, is a long-term proposition. There are no shortcuts on the journey to developing trust. Trust is earned by consistently doing the right thing, day in and day out, over the course of a (business) relationship. This includes the small things involved in an interaction, as well as the large things. Albert Einstein said “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” In my opinion, being consistent in your actions allows your clients to feel comfortable with you and your business practices, and they will be confident in your abilities, will know how you will react and what you will do and say when a specific situation arises.
One of the most gratifying things about my business relationships is that when specific problems arise during an inspection, the agent has already told the buyer how I will handle and explain the situation, and the agent typically gets it right! Being consistent in your methods, actions, reactions and verbiage builds a level of trust between you and your clients (Realtors) that will serve you well throughout your years of business.
I will close with a quote from Bo Bennett, PhD, successful entrepreneur, author and educator, which should become a driver for your daily interactions: “For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” Powerful.
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