Sales & Marketing Tips
"The easier you make it for people to buy from you, the more likely it is that they will buy from you."
Email Introduction to Realty Agents
When you are contacting realty agents via email for the purpose of winning their referrals, be personable and friendly. Speak to them with familiarity and expectation.
You cannot simply say, "Call me if you need me." You have too many competitors who want the attention of the very same realty agents whom you are trying to win over. Human beings (in general) are "creatures of habit" who "take the path of least resistance". Knowing this, you need to make it as easy as possible for agents to refer business to you. The easier you make it, the more likely it is that they will direct their clients to you.
Here are few things you can add to your email message that will improve your chances of having agents refer their clients to you:
- Create a web page that shows your calendar and availability. Send the link inside of your email and ask agents to "pin" the URL to their smartphone homescreens after opening it in their mobile browser.
- Create a electronic business card that agents can "pin" to their smartphone homescreens. There are several web-based electronic business card vendors whose products will not require agents to download or install anything to their phones. (See InspectorCard for an industry-specific virtual business card.)
- Suggest two dates and times for a personal phone call between you and the agent. Ask the agent to reply with the best one (or an alternate). The fact that the agent replies shows their interest in forming a relationship with you.
- List the top-three reasons why agents should refer you to their clients. Avoid sending an extensive list of certifications and qualifications that are filled with acronyms and abbreviations. By keeping the list to just three compelling reasons, you leave the door open for agents to inquire about your certifications and qualifications which, in turn, starts a conversation.
- Do not attach documents directly to your introductory email. If agents have never heard of you or your company, then receiving a blind email with an attached file could cause them to assume that your email is SPAM or a "spoof". Instead, tell them that you would like to forward your sample report, and ask them to provide the email address to which your sample report should be sent. Again, this elicits a response from agents which, in turn, starts a conversation.
Lateral Marketing to Neighbors
Nearly every home that you inspect will have neighbors on either side of it. Most of those neighbors will not be in the market to purchase a home right away, so they will not likely need an SOP inspection any time soon.
However, every homeowner is a prime candidate for related services such as:
- Home Maintenance Inspection
- Roof Inspection
- Air Quality Inspection
- Water Testing
- WDO Inspection
Create a one-sided flyer that lets the neighbors know that you just completed an inspection for your client who is their neighbor. (Knowing that you were "invited" into the neighborhood builds instant credibility with many homeowners.)
Place the flyers where you think the neighbors will see them. Repeat this at EVERY inspection.
Facebook Connections Group
A popular trend is on the rise in Facebook. Local business leaders are creating something known as "Connection Groups". These are essentially exchanges where members can post their offerings or request referrals and recommendations for an unlimited array of products and services from other members.
Connection Groups are usually created around counties, and members who join these groups usually work and/or reside in these counties. When they have something to offer, they tell people about it. When they need referrals and recommendations, they ask other group members to provide contact information and validation. It's that simple.
If your county does not yet have a Connections Group, then be the first to set it up. As the group's administrator, you will become well-known to every member. Best of all, the "social" aspect of a Connections Group practically guarantees that members will invite more member, so your name will reach a potentially massive market of locals in a very short period of time.
CLICK HERE to see an example of a very active Connections Group with over 14,000 local members.
Sign Up for MOZ.com NOW
Search engines used to value META tags and keywords in order to raise your website to the top of SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Today's search engines value "validation" more. Once your business is "validated" with search engines, then it is much more likely to appear at the top of SERPs simply because a validated business provides search engines with the ability to serve more-reliable results.
One of the best (and cheapest) validation services is MOZ.com.
MOZ.com works with major data aggregators to assure that your business information is accurate. Search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing rely on the information provided by these data aggregators in order to serve accurate results. As expected, those companies that can be validated are much more likely to appear in SERPs. Think of "validation" as a quality-assurance for search engines.
If you have not registered on MOZ.com yet -- DO IT NOW.
Conversational Marketing: Five-a-Day for More Referrals
The two most illogical things home inspectors can say are, "I'm too busy to do any marketing," or "I have enough business that I don't need any more." The very same inspectors who say either of these phrases today are often the very same inspectors who struggle for new business tomorrow.
The terms "marketing" and "sales" are NOT synonymous. Marketing can be defined simply as engaging in activities that gets you company seen and remembered by a target market. Sales can be defined as any activity that involved asking for a target market's immediate business and payment for your products and services.
Marketing is what you should do EVERY SINGLE DAY if for no other reason than the fact that your competitors will try to "overwrite" any thought of you in the minds of your target market with their own marketing campaigns. The more your brand (company name) is kept in front of your competitors, the more likely it is that you will be remembered as the "go-to" inspector when a housing correction occurs and business slows down for everyone.
Because the inspection industry is very much a referral-based industry, the inspectors are referred the most are the ones who have the best reputations. A good reputation means you have the trust of those who refer you to their friends, family, peers, and clients. Building a good reputation always starts with effective communication. If people don't know you, they certainly cannot "like" you. If people don't remember you, they certain cannot refer or hire you, either.
We live in an age of email, texting, and social media. We do our best as a society to make relationships as impersonal as possible, so we distance ourselves from others by using the Internet as a barrier. In a referral-based industry like home inspections, it is detrimental to use the Internet as a barrier.
In order to build real and lasting relationships with people who can refer a constant stream of business to you (especially during housing corrections), you need to start with a phone call. The human voice is one of the most powerful relationship-builders ever created by God or nature. A baby's cry causes parents to take action. A person's laugh eases blood pressure and stress levels. A parent's scolding voice serves as a warning to children. A sentimental whisper can bring tears to a person's eyes.
Knowing this, it should go without saying that hearing a person's voice during a marketing-related phone call is the first step in establishing a lasting referral relationship. Referrers will trust you more when they hear your sincerity, passion, and enthusiasm as opposed to just reading an email. But, the reason to make a phone contact actually extends beyond having people hear YOU. Those people on the other end of the line also want to be heard. They have something to say. Listen. You might just hear everything you need to know to convert that person into an ally.
Of course, email has its place here. Use email strictly as an introduction and opportunity to schedule an introductory phone call. Avoid using email as a sales tool (until people opt-in to receive your sales offers via email). If someone replies to your offer to schedule a conversation by phone, then you know that you have started to earn their respect because you didn't SPAM or solicit them via email upon your first communique.
Remember, "marketing" and "sales" are two different animals that require different skill-sets, and they have two different purposes. You aren't "selling" anyone here. Setting up phone calls with people who can refer business to you does not require you to be a slick copywriter or have extensive marketing training. All you trying to do is start a conversation ~ nothing more.
If you send out just FIVE introductory emails per business day with the express purpose of inviting them to have a conversation, then you will have made 260 new contacts over the course of a year. If you build referral relationships with just 10% of them, and each one refers just ONE inspection client to you per month, then you will have 26 inspections to do per month. If your average inspection is $275, then you will earn $7,150 per month from referrals alone!
Again, make FIVE contacts per day is just minimum. Feel free to contact SIX, EIGHT, TEN, or more per day. Invite each and every one of those contacts to have a conversation. You will find that some of them will never speak on the phone with you, but they will still respect your approach enough to refer some business to you anyway. This is a simple and effective way to build a referral pipeline, and no effort is wasted here.
Get started with your first FIVE new contacts today, and invite them to have a conversation!
* Be patient! More sales & marketing tips are on the way!