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What type of marketing have you done with realtors

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I know realtors can have a major impact on the success of a home inspection business.

How have any of you went about reaching out and working with different realtors?

What are you taking in to the offices and what is your approach for networking with different realtors in your service areas?

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I don't solicit agents. Agents and buyers don't have the same interests. Agents are interested in their commission. Buyers are interested in the house. The effect of an agent on choice of inspector is to recommend those inspectors whose reports are minimal because of ineptitude, apathy or occasionally downright willingness to collude with the agent and mutually exploit the buyer.

Soliciting should be prohibited. Buyers will still find their inspector. Soliciting has the capacity to damage buyers and isn't even necessary in the first place. There's the internet, etc.

Marc

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That's Marc's opinion. He's been doing this for a long time and has an established business. You have to make up your own mind on how to get your name out there. We all know we can get sued if we miss something. I've just made it clear to realtors that I'm very thorough when I do my job, and I won't put my business in jeopardy. I also tell realtors "If I find more problems than your client wants to deal with, you may have to work a bit harder but I will make you look good for bringing me in." Lots of realtors get asked if there is a HI that they trust/recommend, why not cash in on that? The clients usually trust their buyers realtor over the sellers realtor.

I've found when going to the larger offices you will just get the brush-off from the secretary. I've gotten some good results by going to open houses and meeting the realtors face to face. Sure some just tell you what you want to hear.(they are very good at that). If you want a good response from the realtors treat the house like it's their office, don't interrupt when they are talking to a client, have clean shoes or take them off. And if you have decals on your truck you may get business from someone checking out the open house.

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I don't solicit agents; haven't for >30 years. That said, it's different now. Imagining one is going to get started dismissing realtors is not realistic. I agree with Marc completely and I also believe in compromise. So,

1) don't waste time putting brochures in realtor offices. Actually, don't waste time with brochures.

2) figure out a presentation about something that's actually interesting and pitch it to office managers for their Tuesday morning sales meetings.

After that, I don't know. I don't talk to realtors if I can avoid it.

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Candy, doughnuts, pizza, pens, key chains, and other, are worn out, and old school. They've seen it all.

If you want to make a lasting impression that will get them talking about you, just pass out envelopes of ca$h. Everybody likes cash and it won't screw up anyone's diet plan.

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I have been in this business for 3 years. Realtors will not help you. They all have "their guy" and they have a back up for him and a back up for their back up.

Going to their office is a waste of time. They will throw away your business cards and anything else that you give them that's not edible. You might make some headway by going to an open house, but probably meeting a buyer directly.

Bottom line; if you write a thorough report and take your time at the inspection, you won't be getting realtor referrals.

Google Adwords is a decent tool, but it isn't cheap, so you better be able to convert sales or you'll just be throwing money out the window.

The best thing that you can do is do a good job for your customers and ask them to refer you.

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Call around to all the other home inspectors, go to organization meetings if possible, you are looking for a successful inspector who is thinking of getting out of the business in a year or so. Ask him if you can ride along and sit on his shoulder during a few inspections, meet people, but do all this with the idea that you will pay him for his company name, phone number, and website when he does retire. If you are lucky, you will meet up with someone who will agree to that and also send you their overflow and that can get you started. Your reputation for doing a good job will get you more work than anything else, so ask people to rate you on whatever website they can rate you on - Angies List, Yadzooks, Yelp, Google pages, etc. Good luck, it is tough to get started.

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In my experience, the only realtors I've marketed that resulted in work are people I knew before they were realtors.

I've had lots of marketing people tell me they got my name from realtors who have never referred me. They hand out your cards like candy to all the unsolicited sales peeps that walk in their door.

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Raymond sez...."In my experience, the only realtors I've marketed that resulted in work are people I knew before they were realtors.

I've had lots of marketing people tell me they got my name from realtors who have never referred me. They hand out your cards like candy to all the unsolicited sales peeps that walk in their door."

That's how it's worked with me, mostly.

I'm an equal opportunity business person. I don't really care where the referral comes from and I don't care if they refer me again. Everyone gets the opportunity to refer me. I don't turn anyone away.

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I've been doing this for 3 years and each year I've picked up more business. About 3/4 of my business comes from referrals from satisfied customers or people who know that I'm in the business and happen to be buying a house.

The other 1/4 come from Google.

I've had 3 or 4 inspections from an agent referral and have NEVER had a second referral, even from agents who I've known my entire life. If you do a good job for your customer, the agents simply won't recommend you.

Chad touched on something else that I left out; don't quit your day job or marry someone with a great job/income. For me, it was the latter.

It's going to take a few years to build this business. I'm aware of that and you should be too.

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And back to the OP....

Don't let the noobs tell you how to market your business. If you wanna push to realtors, go ahead. It's not about who you market to, it's how you do the job.

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I, my company, participate with the local real estate association. We teach classes, sponsor charity events, sponsor agent orientations, and generally try to engage with the entire real estate community. I speak to most local banks on a regular basis, interact with the local bar association, am fairly active with/in politics and support the chamber of commerce.

Hello, my name is Les and I am married to a real estate broker.

I asked for work in the late 1980's and early 1990's. I stopped asking twenty five years ago. Six families are supported by this company and in truth, I would do most anything to keep it going. I am blessed that I have not had to grovel for several decades and have let our company's reputation lead us.

I read nothing in the previous posts that I disagree with. This is a tough business.

Brother Kurt wrote several paragraphs on another site that I printed and framed and have required everyone in this company to read. I is long, but worth the read. If he grants permission, I will post it.

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If you solicit agents, you are complicit in the conflict of interest that is created when the agent you solicited attempts to influence the buyer's choice of inspector.

Soliciting is not ok...anytime.

Marc

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If you solicit agents, you are complicit in the conflict of interest that is created when the agent you solicited attempts to influence the buyer's choice of inspector.

Soliciting is not ok...anytime.

Marc

I really don't agree with this.

I will freely admit that I market to Realtors. You can accept Realtor referrals and still do an unbiased thorough inspection.

In my market many many realtor think I am too picky and call me a deal killer.

There are over 1000 realtors in my small county, if only 10 percent are decent people thats a 100 good realtors. If only 5 precent have integrity and appreciate a good inspection thats still 50 agents. If they all sell a half dozen houses a year thats 300 inspections.

On top of that I still get many referrals from satisfied customers.

As a business man it makes no sense to ignore Realtors as a referral source.

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I booked a job through an agent today. He found me on the web. There is only one other agent who has sent a few jobs my way. He works in investment property and deals with a lot of return clients.

I am always pleasant to the agents, give them my card and such.... but I don't beg for work.

It's true, they aren't ALL bad, but many are. I prefer to not rely on them.

I have 3 years experience in this business, not 30 like the folks above.

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Sure, there are both ethical and unethical agents but that doesn't enter the equation I'm setting forth. I accept agent referrals also, always have.

Point is that inspectors who solicit agents tempt them to get into the practice of steering buyers to an inspector that the agent knows from experience renders mostly benign reports (for any of several reasons). Add to that the absence of any prohibition against engaging in COIs, the commissions that can be saved by doing so, the current popularity of colleagues doing it without the slightest pause and it becomes hard for a typical agent to not just jump on the bandwagon and do it themselves.

On the new inspector side, the same factors are there, add to the difficulty in ignoring that advertising method when he feels his success is likely dependant upon it.

Once the dollars are flowing in (to agent and inspector alike), those dollars take over as justification...and the mechanics of this COI are first blurred then forgotten altogether.

I'm going to bow out of this thread for now.

Marc

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I pruned this topic. Email me if you believe I removed something important. First time I have pruned a thread since 2010. I have the highest respect for all participants on this site but saw this topic as having gone astray.

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Brother Kurt wrote several paragraphs on another site that I printed and framed and have required everyone in this company to read. I is long, but worth the read. If he grants permission, I will post it.

Go ahead and post it. I want to know what it is. You don't have to ask to reprint anything I have to say related to home inspection, or really, anything. I write a lot of stuff in a lot of different venues. I've lost track of most of it.

Les said..."I pruned this topic.....but saw this topic as having gone astray."

Astray? It was a 3 ring circus of nauseating implications. It carried the essential elements of great literature and onanistic fulmination. In short, a mudbath. Way better than Facebook.

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This is something that has worked in the recent past - provide a free IR scan of the house along with your thorough inspection.

This can be done in 10 minutes, believe it or not. You stress that if the client wants a comprehensive IR scan done, then of course there is a charge for that. This is the free version that picks up blatant issues if they are there. Put a few IR pics in the report to show that this was done.

In the boonies, this might still attract some attention, and is a great way to get in with a presentation.

You need to make contact with realtors. You need to gain their trust. You need to avoid getting black-balled, as that sucks. One broker was happy with my work when it led to a sale. I got a second job, foot in the door. There was water flowing down the side of the stucco condo building. I pointed it out to the young female client and said it could be fixed, an issue with the balcony above, but would need to involve the condo association. Black-balled. [:-boggled

Another issue another time, clients walked, the realtor was gushing praise and heaping referrals upon me. Tread lightly until you can walk the walk and talk the talk. Be thorough but work quickly to gather the info. Never late getting there, always courteous, and never walk thru the place with dogshit on your shoes.

If you can't hustle up 100 inspections per year in your town, move to another town or you will go broke.

Trade shows get you out there with samples to show, but mostly you need friends in real estate that can send you several jobs a month. Those guys have no time for trade shows, and rarely are seen in the office.

On the flip side, they expect you to find major issues and keep them out of court. They have other houses to sell if that one is a dud.

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Yeah, a bunch of old cowboys, circled around the pot-bellied stove at the general merchandise store, chewing the fat.

Marc

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