Today we’re going to be talking about The Savvy Inspector’s favorite topic…
How To Market A Home Inspection Business.
The Number One Reason Home Inspection Companies Fail
When we ask people, “Why did you join The Savvy Inspector?” They’ll usually say…
“I’ve been around a long time and I’m not very good at marketing my business. There’s all these new home inspectors coming in out of the schools and they’re running cheap prices and I’m finding myself losing business. I need to be a better marketer of my home inspection business.”
Then they ask, “What’s the magic bullet? What is it that if I just did it, boom! That’s it. I’m successful.” Well, that’s not the way it works.
You could be the most technically proficient inspector in your area but if no one knows about you or why they should do business with you over your competitors, you’re set up to fail.
Do The Home Inspection Schools Prepare You For Real Success?
This is what Coach William had to say about that.
“From the schools that you go through if you’re a license state, and the classes you have to take and the exams you have to pass. These are really geared specifically towards being your own business, a one man shop. They don’t share a lot of effective marketing strategies or tactics.
“Just go around to the real estate offices or the lenders and drop off your business card.”
I did that. I made a little one page document of “I’m the bomb because I got XYZ certifications and construction experience.” All that good stuff that everybody says.
I went around and dropped them off. And I think I did about 20 inspections that year.
But I saw the potential and the opportunity. I just needed to find somebody out there that knows how to get the word out and market it correctly because I was clueless. So that’s how I ended up joining the Savvy Inspector.
I think most everybody starts that way. They think they can just go out there and throw out their name a little bit and get instant work. It just does not happen that way.”
What could your home inspection business really look like?
Coach William started like any other home inspector. He didn’t know how to market his business most effectively. But him and Mrs. Sherri have implemented what they’ve learned at the The Savvy Inspector and today they have nine inspectors. They’re going strong. They’ll be at a seven figure income revenue stream this year.
Coach William still runs Certainty Home Inspections and coaches at The Savvy Inspector. But the beautiful thing of what he’s done is he and Sherri have set up a management committee. The project managers of the different departments in their company now handle the day to day stuff which frees Coach William and Sherri up to work more with The Savvy Inspector and have a life that they’ve earned.
What Marketing Techniques To Use To Achieve Your Dreams
When people ask us how they can achieve their dreams, we have to say, “Let’s find out a little bit more about you.”
We want to know if you’re new to the business or if you’re a one man shop and happy. Are you a one man shop that wants to hire or do you already have inspectors working for you and you need growth? Because how you achieve these things really depends on where you are in those cycles.
Recently in our private Facebook Group, one of our members listened to one of our podcasts and asked about our inner circle agents and doing price matching for them. Another member commented you shouldn’t price match ever. You need to hold your price. He’s booked out out a full week in advance and he’s the highest priced.
I I totally understand and agree 100%. I need to be more clear about looking at it through the eyes of a multi-inspector firm versus a one man shop. Because if I was a one man shop, by all means I would hold my prices. And if I were the highest price fellow as a one man shop and still booked out a week in advance, you probably need to raise your prices.
You have to know where you are right now and where it is that you want to go.
One of our favorite strategies is top producer marketing. If you’re new in the business though, that’s not a strategy you want to pursue. You going to need a little time under your tool belt before top producers are even going to consider you.
So what strategies that we recommend to our clients really depends on where they are right now in the business.
What other questions do you need to answer for your business?
Most folks come in to the business flying by the seat of their pants. As soon as they get their license or get certified, they go out there and start doing inspections. Then they’re making a living off this. And hopefully they realize they can’t keep doing this day in and day out… crawling through the crawl spaces and answering the phone and trying to market.
It takes a lot time and effort to get this done. And if you want to grow and be in a position where you’re able to sell it for a profit or step back and let it run itself, then you need to start with those kind of things in mind so that you can end up there. Because if you don’t know where you’re going, you could end up anywhere.
Anybody that thinks that way coming in is an exception to the rule. I think everybody else comes into it the other way. They’re a home inspector first. Then they think, “Gosh, I guess I need to learn to be a business man here, too.” Because that’s what it’s going to take to survive.
Ken Compton: And William is saying, I don’t know those of you that know me certainly know this, but those of you who don’t know me very well, have never come to one of our events, you haven’t heard it, but in ’97 I started a home inspection company called The Southern Home Inspection Services. And I wasn’t a home inspector for the first five years. But I had always owned a big launch company in the financial services industry. And so what happened is I switched over because it as a good opportunity I saw. And I brought in eight inspectors and we had three divisions: new construction, residential resale, and EIFS or synthetic stucco. And so we did a very successful first year and then went from there.
But that was pretty funny because my friends are saying, “You’re going to own a home inspection company? Wait. Do you even know what a home inspector is?” You know, back in those days.
And I’m like, “It’ll be all right. It’ll be all right.” Because [inaudible 00:07:36] I’m a business person first. I’m a marketer and a business person. So we would love for you to be that as well.
We said on a previous call, and this was the epiphany for Coach William really, when I said in a workshop my goal for you, my goal for you guys watching this call, too, or gals … I shouldn’t say guys because we have a lot of lady clients as well, but the folks watching this call, if you’ll understand this, this is so important to you. I want you to move from being a home inspector to being a marketer of home inspection services. So, I don’t want you to be a home inspector. I mean you got to do some inspections, maybe, maybe not. But I want you to be a marketer of home inspection services, all of the services [inaudible 00:08:12] when you’re a great marketer, then you understand that, good things happen to you.
Coach William, and that was true for you, wasn’t it?
Coach William: Yeah, you know, cause you’re in the mindset of all inspector, technical stuff, how can I inspect better? Are there better gadgets I can buy? Are there other gadgets I can buy to offer services with? And that’s the mindset. But when you step back from that and say, “Hey, that is what it is, that’s what I need to sell. I don’t need to be out there actually looking upon those kind of things. I need to be thinking about how am I going to get that next job and secure out a week’s worth of jobs.”
So, when you made that comment to me and as I said in the other video, that was the big light bulb came on. So yeah, I totally understand that. And with that mindset … When you have that mindset, even the way you inspect changes because you’re … While you’re doing that inspection the number one goal is to get another job out of that inspection. And that could be a client that you’re working for or the agents or the seller of the home. There are a lot of golden opportunities for us to capitalize on to ensure that we have a job tomorrow from the job we’re doing today. And if you’re not thinking that way, if all you’re thinking about as an inspector, you’re just thinking about what a great job doing an inspection I can do and you’re out of there, and you missed the opportunity to grow your business. Yeah. Just putting on that different hat makes you think differently.
Ken Compton: It sure does. I will tell you, Coach William, we’re going to move right on to what are your goals. There is no magic pill. If there was a magic pill, Coach William would have taken it and a lot of our other clients. And we have hugely successful multi-inspector firms who joined the firm when they were a one man shop. Not just Coach William but dozens and dozens and dozens of them. And The Savvy Inspector’s really built from large multi-inspectors, smaller multi-inspectors, or medium-sized and one man shops with all kinds of different goals. It doesn’t matter where you are over here in the market right now. What we want to know is where do you want to go? Okay? And we’ll help you achieve those goals.
So let’s talk about a few things that you really should consider. I’m going to scroll up here to Coach William just a little bit.
How many inspections do you want to do? If you were going to wave the magic wand in three to five years and say, “I want to be this.” What would “this” look like? When we say it, what would “done” look like? When I’m done, what would that look like? Because I want you to be able to envision that. What’s done? At three to five years out, wave that magic wand and say here’s what I want. What would that look like?
And Coach William, here’s the problem. And I know I worked with you on it in the beginning as well, and lots of other smart people like you. But you didn’t dream big enough, did you?
Coach William: No. When I came met the Savvy, my number one goal, my only goal, was to … Man, if I could just get one a day. If I could get one inspection a day, I could pay my bills and we could survive. So that was the mindset. And I think most inspectors are that way. And I still remember that like it was yesterday, because I share with other inspectors all the time. It’s like I know where you’re at because I remember being there. Man, if I could just get one a day. Never dreamed, I mean it never crossed my mind that I’d be sitting here doing this film right here today talking about multi-inspector firms. Now what our goal is if we could just maintain 200 a month. I mean that’s where it’s at. And we’re successfully doing that. And so next year I hope we’re going to be sitting here saying, “Man, if we can just hit 300 a month.”
So the tools are here if a person absorbs it. And he who implements wins. And one bite at a time, we continue to take a bite and chew that huge elephant. It can be done. If I can do this, any clown can do this because I am [inaudible 00:11:52]
Ken Compton: [crosstalk 00:11:53] Not many other people are sitting in your chair opposite me, so I think you’ve done fantastic and that’s why you’re here, because you’ve actually done it. You’ve implemented the Savvy system, and it’s actually been hugely successful for you. So have so many of other clients.
So my point was if you dream small, you will get small. But if you dream big, you say in three to five years, “Boom. I wave that magic wand. Here’s what I want,” and you fall slightly short of that, are you still the bigger winner? You are.
And some people say I can only grow 12% a year. That’s all I’ve ever done in the past. Well, you work the Savvy strategies and guess what? Now you’ve grown 44% in a month. We see it all the time.
We have two mastermind groups at the Savvy Investor and they report their business results on the first meeting of the month, for the month, for the last month. And they report in two ways: number or units, in other words, inspections, how much they’re up and how much they’re up in revenue. And one of the beautiful things is even though they’re not up 50% in units, they’re up 35% in revenue, because they’ve engaged in strategies that allow them to get more price per inspection, sell more services and that kind of thing. And you just cannot believe the growth. It is unreal.
We call the law of attraction, William, and you know this because you say it all the time, too. What you focus on most, you get more of. It’s that simple. What you focus on most, you get more of. So, I want you to be focused on these goals. First, what are they going to be? How many inspections do you want to be doing in three to five years? Okay? And then I bet what happens is we could develop strategies together to get there.
What do you want your company revenue to be? I think, William, people at your size are always looking to break through the first million in a year. But what happens is that you guys are on a cusp right now, but what happens is once you break one million, getting to the second million is way easier. So what do you want your revenue to be?
Where do you want your business to come from? We call this market segments. And we’re going to, Coach William and I, are going to be talking about market segments over here in just a minute.
What do you want your personal earnings to be? I don’t know about you, William, but I think we’re in the home inspection business to get rich. We all want to be wealthy. I shouldn’t say all. Most people really want to make some serious money. Okay, so what is it you want to make? I don’t know what your number is. I know what my number is. So you have to ask yourself that. In three to five years, what do I want to be earning personally. I understand the revenue of the company. But what do I want to earn personally, because I see a lot of home inspectors that are paying their inspectors way too much and their pretax profit is way lower than it should be. So then what we try to do is get in there and do some cost reduction issues so they can earn personally what they want in their revenue.
How many employees do you want? Maybe you don’t want any, because we had a category over here a minute ago that was a one man shop and happy. But just because you’re a one man shop and happy doesn’t mean that you need to do smart marketing. You need to decide what you’re going to do, put systems in place, to keep you at one man shop and happy. Some of you may not want any employees and that’s legitimate because sometimes employees, Coach William, can be a pain in the neck, can’t they?
Coach William: Yes, Sir. So can I just … This morning I just … We talked about it a minute ago, one of my local comrades here, another Savvy member in our market, he’s a one man shop and the guy just tears it up. But he’s smart. He does a lot of marketing and he [inaudible 00:15:07] tastefully. He does it in the right places. He’s the guy I was talking about that’s booked out a week all the time. And he’s getting top dollar for what he does. Sounds like to me he needs to raise his prices if he’s booked out that far. And he should. So for him, he’s a retired … You know retired from another job. He’s got another little income coming in, so the home inspection business … I don’t know what his goals are long term … To sell or pass it off or what. But I don’t think that’s one of his major concerns where it is for me.
For me, this is bread and butter and will be my retirement, and what have you. And so as far as income, it’s funny that you say that because up until two years ago, I didn’t make any money. I didn’t have a check. I didn’t get a paycheck. I never cut myself a check or Sherri, my wife. So by getting acquainted with our CPA now that’s helping the Savvy here made it very clear about why we needed to do that. And it feels good to get your own little check. But it’s about your future is why you want to do that. You got to be able … You’re going to retire some day, you need to be show a steady income that you’ve had for one example of why to do that.
So, yeah, I think a lot of folks just start that way. Again, when you come into this business like I did, it’s just about let’s get some work. [inaudible 00:16:21] we need to come. I can kind of be in business for myself and feels good, let’s go, not realizing that you need to know where you’re going. Where are you and where do you want to be?
Ken Compton: So true. Now I want you to know, Coach William didn’t say he didn’t have personal earnings from the company. He just didn’t draw a paycheck.
Coach William: Right.
Ken Compton: And there’s [inaudible 00:16:38] ways to do it and I want you to pay yourself first. It’s very important you pay yourself first. So Coach William’s gotten all that worked out and the way he’s taking his money now is benefiting him in a variety of ways. As so that’s it.
Decide on the employees. So here’s what happens is. What is it you want your role in the business to be? And, Coach William, this has really, really changed for you and Miss Sherri. And let’s talk about it for a minute. Never in a million years would you figure you’d be structured the way you’re structured now.
Coach William: Right and so again, it goes back to the way most folks come into the business, you know. You’d be an exception to that rule. I’m sharing in another video that I’ve done, just all but finished with The E Myth Revisited is the book. [inaudible 00:17:24] when you read that. And so it’s the way you approach the business, the mindset that you [inaudible 00:17:29]. Are you coming into the business as a business person like Ken here, or did you come into the business as an inspector tech, which I think is where most people come from. That’s where I came from.
But as we’ve grown, hey, this is a business. And it needs to be structured like a corporation and it needs to be ran that way, so if I had have started the business with the end in mind when I first started the business, I’d have said, “All right, who’s going to be CEO? Who’s going to be the manager? Who’s going to be the tech on the floor putting the gadgets together? Who’s going to be the marketing person? What is my market segment? What am I going to go after? All of these questions that really to design a business should be asked before you ever put pen to paper on putting the outline of that business together.
I see that now and we’ve been able to make changes. And, of course, Ken’s coached us tremendously through the years to help make that happen. Sherri and I have gotten to the point where our jobs are, as the owners, are to create these things and delegate them, try to be hands off as much as possible. Doesn’t mean it always works that way. I’m getting ready to go do an inspection here myself in a minute because life happens, and again, that straight road to success is a quick left or a quick right all the way up the ladder. So you’ve got to be prepared to do whatever, but just knowing that we have those goals in mind and we’ve got things in place to work towards achieving those goals, just gives you a purpose when you get up everyday to know that you’ve got goals to achieve. You’re not just out there doing another inspection, knocking another one down and with no plan to progress yourself forward.
Ken Compton: Coach William finds himself in a unique position. He can take multiple weeks off on vacation, him and Miss Sherri. And guess what? The business still runs itself.
Coach William: Right. So like I said earlier, our first inkling of that was in ’08 when we came to … It was our second workshop and between the first workshop and the second workshop I had made my first hire because we’ve limited so many things and had to do that. But anyway, at that next workshop we’re sitting on the beach there in Fort Myers and I’m taking phone calls scheduling my newest employee. And that was just such an awesome, awesome feeling that I’ve never looked back. I mean that’s the way it needs to be done. I don’t worry about getting sick. I don’t worry about having to take off or whatever, if there’s a family issue. I’m there because the business goes on [inaudible 00:19:52].
Ken Compton: What is it you want your role to be in the business? That’s what you have to ask yourself in three to five years. And we can help you work towards achieving that.
Now here’s one William alluded to a minute ago with our buddy with the one man shop who’s a super guy. He’s been in The Savvy Inspector forever and ever and has really gone from not knowing how to market a business, home inspection business, to extremely successful. And he’s just a nice fellow, too.
But I say all the time in our strategies on this, “Do you want to take an unpaid vacation permanently by walking away from your business?” Or maybe you say, “You know what? I’d like to groom somebody from the inside to try to take the business over.” Or William’s family is … A lot of them is in the business with him and what happens is they’re some of the managers. And could they run the business and William and Sherri just be board of director members? So they give the leadership and guidance, here’s where we want to go in 2017, 2018, 2019, and then what happens is Coach William meets with the staff once a month as a board and they would report their results. He doesn’t have to be out of the business, and he’s still earning a significant income from it. All right?
So there’s a lot of ways to get out the business, but the least profitable one is unpaid vacation permanently. And this is why I say that. Because, and this is where I’ve worked with Coach William and so many other home inspectors over the years. If you are the primary lead generator for the business … Let’s say Coach William was a multi-inspector firm still but he was bringing in all the leads … And I have clients that that’s true. They’re multi-million dollar revenue producers, and they’re using … One of the owners is basically bringing in all the leads. Now prior clients are still calling them, all that, don’t get me wrong. But for new business. So if this person gets run over by a bus, and new business owner comes in and says, “Wow, this person, business owner, it’s a husband wife team, if she’s gone, guess what happens is those leads don’t come in. So why would I want to buy that business?”
What our smartest clients do is they build in systems, systems that bring in the leads. So going direct to the public brings in the leads. Having a marketing rep brings in the leads. There’s all kinds of ways that we can teach you where the business owner isn’t bringing in the leads. So then what happens is a buyer comes in and says, “Well, Mr. Home Inspector, I see if you leave, the leads still come in. So this is a viable business opportunity. And then you start talking about price.”
These are the things you need to think about. I don’t care where you are right now. That’s all good and fine. We can help you in any one of these areas. But what happens is you have to understand where you want to be. And I always say this. Wave that magic wand, because I want you to dream bigger. Don’t dream small. We’ll help you get it, and all you got is small. But say really what you want. And I think that makes it a huge, huge difference.
Coach William: [inaudible 00:22:42] set those goals and that’s a great column to go down right there. It’s important to sit down and [inaudible 00:22:48] reach goals. Don’t make it easy stuff. It needs to be something that’s … Ken always likes to use the analogy of wave the magic wand. And there’s a lot to be said for that because it does. You got to remove those barriers. Set your goals. Get your plan in place. If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan. Don’t change your goal. You change your approach to get to it. I can’t say enough about that, because at the beginning, and I think like most folks, I don’t have any … I don’t … What’s my goal? To get up and inspect today and hopefully I’ll have another inspection tomorrow. But there was no … I didn’t have any plans for the future, no foresight to set these goals or have achievements that we we wanted to make. It does put a whole different perspective on your business and yourself, your reason for getting out of bed every morning is enhanced because you do have a goal that you want to achieve.
And then as a multi-inspector firm, I’ll just throw this out there, a really pleasant surprise for us for this year is that our team, our schedulers, office staff, has really jumped on board with us because in the past we’ve shared here’s our actuals, here’s our goals. And it didn’t really resonate with them very well. But the way we’ve been sharing that now and what’s in it for them for us to hit these goals … I was just sharing that we walked in the office the other day and my phone schedulers actually took the initiative to set some of their own goals, so they … so many home inspections, so many radons, so many five star package, all that on sticky notes up in front of their phone. How awesome is that? So then we were able to say, “Hey, this is great. This is what we want you to do, but let’s look at the goals that we’ve set as a company and let’s make these goals that you’ve got on your wall realistic.” And so they’ve done that. Now it’s not just me out there pushing this trying to make it happen. I’m actually got a team on board with me to move in that direction and that feels so good.
Ken Compton: It is. And do you know, Coach William, just to follow that, if you were a one man shop going multi and you said in five years, three to five years, I want five home inspectors. But I don’t think that’s possible. And I say that’s wrong. Just add a human resources component to your plan.
Coach William: That’s right.
Ken Compton: So we know when we’re going to hire, we know what kind of a person we’re looking for. Like Coach William said, just adjust the plan. Don’t give up on your dream.
This is what you have to do. Where are you right now? Then what are your goals? And you know, if I was … Had my spouse in the business or didn’t, I would go over this with my significant other or spouse and say, “You know, hey, here’s what I’m thinking. What do you think?” And get some feedback from them.
All right. Let’s look at market segments. Now, when I say market segments, a lot of times people don’t know what I’m talking about. So let’s talk about what a market segment is. A market segment is a slice of the real estate market or the home inspection market where you get your business from. In other words, where are these leads going to come from? Okay, so these are market segments. And this is very, very important to you to know. I just put some examples. There’s certainly more. But this market segment happens to be direct to the public. How many units, I call home inspections units, how many units do I expect to get from the public?
All right. And then top producer marketing … We don’t say real estate marketing, do we, Coach? We say top producer, non-top producer. And let’s talk about that for a minute.
Coach William: Yeah. Sure. Top producers as a new one man shop out the gate are going to be tough for you to get. Top producers are top producers for a reason. They have surrounded themselves with successful people. That includes the home inspector. So they’ve already got that know me, like me, trust me relationship built with somebody. So it can be a little tougher nut to crack. The best you can hope for is to keep yourself in front of them and hope for that opportunity that inspector’s sick, or vacation, or booked up too busy, to get your foot in the door. So top producer marketing is a complete different strategy to use to market to those versus the non-top producer marketing, and especially if you’re new in the business.
Ken Compton: For sure. You know, one of the things that we really love about top producers, and we put this on … We define top producer. There’s no definition out in the market, but what we define top producer is anybody who’d give us a minimum, a minimum of one home inspection a month or 12 a year. If you give us a minimum of 12 a year, we define you as a top producer. What makes top producers way better than non-top producers? Here’s what happens is … Let’s say that you’re in a KW office. You have to, the reason you’re in there you have to pay the franchise fee. You have to pay rent generally to the broker. So let’s say that’s $20,000 a year more. What happens is the best agents will go in there because they know they can cover that expense and then profit as well.
So this is [inaudible 00:27:25] top producers. They have the lead gen strategies in place, or lead generation strategies in place. Think about a funnel used to put oil in the lawnmower, or whatever. The funnel is very big at the top. So what top producers do, they keep that funnel full at the top so the bottom sales drop out each month. And like Coach William says, we market top producers completely different. We’re trying to position ourself as number two. Because like Coach William said, they already have a relationship with an existing home inspector and we value that. The relationships you have with your existing top producers, I mean you get that. So we market them way different.
Now, Coach William, you guys really aren’t spending much time or money on non-top producer marketing?
Coach William: No, again, it just comes with time of already being established. Not that we don’t, especially if it’s new agent where … New agents that come on, we have programs for those because they’re tomorrow’s new top producers. But as far as blanket marketing if you will to offices if they’re not a top producer, we do very little marketing there.
Ken Compton: Okay. And non-top producers have one lead generation strategy. It’s a four letter word. It’s not nasty. It’s hope. They hope they’re on duty when somebody calls in looking for somebody to help them. Hope is no marketing strategy. The other thing I like about top producers is this. If you can get into an office where they pay 100% commission, that’s always Keller Williams, and it depends on others in your market, some Remax, some others. Okay. The agents that have that big overhead, the fees and the rent, all that, those agents are out there working everyday to fill that funnel. They have lead generation strategies in place. That’s what allows them to keep the funnel full at the top. So this is very, very important. Top producer marketing.
We teach non-top producer marketing. Don’t get me wrong. But like William said, if you’re brand new to the business, you’re going to need to do non-top producer marketing before you get your sea legs [inaudible 00:29:26] before you jump up to the top producers. And some people over you, depending on where you are right now, they don’t want to do either one. They don’t want to fool with a real estate agents. Or they don’t want to market them in their offices or whatever, and we can show you strategies to get those agents working with you without ever stepping foot into a real estate office. We can show you how to do that.
I didn’t want to diminish this one because, Coach William, it’s up here at the top for a reason. It’s on the top of my list of market segments because of a variety of reasons. And in another video we get into all the details, but the short of it is the real estate agents, in many cases, are going away. If you look in the offices that you market today, Coach William, I’m sure this is true in your market as well, there’s not a lot of people home. Or if somebody’s home, it’s the same group each time you go in. Is that true in your market?
Coach William: That’s very true. And I think it’s across the board that way, so yeah. It’s just critical that we focus the majority of our attention on going direct to the public, and again, you catch that in the other presentation. But today the way things are, the times demand that we have a strong, strong online presence and be able to market directly to the public.
Ken Compton: If you’re getting the majority of your business from the top producer marketing segment, and the non-top producer marketing segment, you’re somewhat balanced. But if you’re getting the majority of your inspections from non-top producers, you’re in big jeopardy. Let’s think about why I say that. In 2007, 2008, in recession, what happened Coach William? Did those non-top producers last?
Coach William: No, and I was just talking to … It’s funny you say that. I was talking to a broker last night for a awards banquet that they had and we were talking about prior to Trump coming in the office and the gloom and doom of recession that everybody was preparing for, and then the flip side of that now because the market has been so hot that the real estate agents, just like home inspectors, when the market’s hot we get inundated with brand new home inspectors and same way for … I guess it’s even worse probably for real estate agents … And so he’d made the comment just about as I was going to say was you know, we hate to see a recession … We hate to see … We’re at the point now where we’re wondering are we ever going to run out of houses. So we kind of hate to see those kind of things happen. But on the bright side of that it kind of calls out all of the non-top producers, the folks that are that 80% that doesn’t do the work. So yeah, I totally agree with that. Non-top producers, especially when the market’s hot, there’s a ton of them out there.
Ken Compton: So, the issue is in 2007, 2008, those non-top producers went to do something else. And I jokingly tease and say they became a greeter at the WalMart. And I only say it to our clients, certainly not out in the public, but that what are they doing now? They’re saying, “Welcome to WalMart.” But when I was in the WalMart with my granddaughter the other day, they no longer have greeters. So I’m uncertain what they’re going to do now.
But let’s draw that 2007, 2008 scenario to right now. Coach William alluded to it a minute ago. If you’re heavy in top-producer marketing and you’re dependent on them for your referrals, guess what happens? We have a housing shortage all over, an inventory shortage all over the US. Some communities are in dire straits. There’s just not that many homes on the market and people are afraid to list their home to sell it because there’s nothing for them to buy in their same town. So this is a serious problem. So who’s going to be affected most by that? It’s going to be non-top producers. They got nothing to sell, they’re not even good salespeople to start with, they got nothing to sell, but when they had an inspection or a sale they would give it to you. But now they don’t have it, because they’re not great lead generation producers. They don’t do good in lead gen. So if you’re dependent on non-top producers and they’re gone, how you going to replace those units? You’re going to replace with go direct to the public. All right? So I can’t tell you how important that is that you start working on go direct to the public.
And there will be another webinar here on the home page of our website that will deal directly with go direct to the public the things that you should be engaged in today, invest in today, to build your online reputation and your online body of work.
Coach William, he recognized this was happening a while back. And so, Coach William, you got us, our company to The Savvy Inspector, to take over your online. And I was just saying when they type in your company name into the internet, what happens?
Coach William: We’re dominating the first nine, [inaudible 00:34:00] ten pages right there. That just speaks volume for that client when they land there and see all that information. They’re not going to find that on our competitors, so it’s just kind of a no brainer that we must be the expert in our marketplace. Price then becomes less of an issue. They see the value.
Ken Compton: That is so true. In that ten pages owns of Google for certain home inspections, what happens is there’s reviews in there, there’s review video commercials that we’ve produced for his company. There’s Twitter. There’s Facebook. There’s Linked In. There’s all kinds of things in there. And the people can read it an they’re like, “Man, this company is super strong.” So they choose them.
Going direct to the public is on the top of my list for a reason. Top-producers are always going to be around regardless. Some external things are happening in the market, too. I think if the IRS and the others rule that real estate agents can no longer be 1099’s but are W-2’s, you know what the brokers going to do? Get rid of everybody who doesn’t produce, right? I mean, would you, Coach William? If you going to have to pay tax on them, you don’t want them hanging around do you?
Coach William: Right. That’s kind of funny because you hear … We are very involved with the real estate offices and franchises in our area, and so we watch and you’ll hear … I’m not going to drop any names, but one agency … Like we have X amount of agents that are proud because they’ve got all of these agents on board. And then you go their staff meetings or their awards banquet, which like the one I went to last night, there’s an example, the one I went to last night, this was a large franchise who has gone through a lot of changes in the last year. They’ve reduced in size pretty dramatically. But yet at their awards banquet last night and they’re sharing all of their stats, they’re up from where they were a year ago. So the fact that they downsized or lost a lot of agents says to me by looking at those numbers, they got rid of the dead weight. And as the market changes, if they’re going to become W-2’s, that’s going to be the fir-, as a broker that’s the first thing I would do. Sally Sells Nothing has to go, Sally Sells A Lot stays.
Speaker 3: You got it.
Ken Compton: You got it. You [inaudible 00:36:11]. And there’s a lot of other things happening, too. And we talk about it in a variety of ways. A home seller can list their home for free on the MLS now. There’s lots of brokerages that are doing a la carte services, more or less hold you an open house for the public on Sunday. It’s 350 or whatever the number is. And you look at all these things happening, the real estate broker is saying, “Wow, these virtual brokers, Zillow, Red Fin, Zip, Trulia, these guys are making sales and guess what happens? They don’t have a brick and mortar office. Can we follow that method to increase our profitability? So there’s a lot of external things that are happening you may not be familiar with. And it affects real estate agents. So when it affects them it affects you if you’re getting business from them. So if you’re not going direct to the public and beefing up investing now for the … Because it’s happening now … and for the future, you’re going to be a dinosaur. You’re going to be very hard-pressed to meet your goals, unless your goals are very, very low, which I don’t want them to be.
Prior client marketing, I know, Coach William, this is one of the things you told me you wish you would have implemented sooner. This is the market segment, and the thing I love about this market segment, is these people already think you’re the obvious expert and they know you, like you, and trust you. But so many home inspectors never touch this group, do they?
Coach William: Right. And I was guilty of that. I wouldn’t say never touched it. I never really focused on it. We’d always had some emails that went or something silly. But nothing that really tried to capture that market. And it’s a different strategy than any of these other market segments that we’re talking about. But on the bright side, you’ve already established that relationship. But it opens up the door for more than just, beyond home inspections, in your ancillary services, annual services … You know, pools, spa, you can open those up, close them, inspect for termites, anything like that because you’ve already got that rapport going so when we talk about other ways to supplement your income, prior clients are a great area to implement some of those strategies. We’re seeing more and more all the time. What you focus on you get more of, so we’re seeing more and more all the time that the prior client referrals …
And also I’d say that that seems to come with we found you online as well. The prior client might have made that recommendation. Where do they go? Right through to their mobile device and check you out, so we’re hearing that a lot. Well, so and so, the one I did, just finished up here a couple days ago, my fiance’s brother had used you guys and gave you a great review. And then I found you on Facebook. So you hear that mix match. But just to know that that’s happening …
And some good incentives that are for prior clients, we have our frequent referral program, so that you can give them a … There’s something in it for them to keep you on the tip of their mind if they … You know, if they’re sitting there getting a hair cut and somebody brings up they’re buying a new home, it’s sure nice to have a prior client say, “Hey, well I know a great home inspector,” and drop that. That has a lot of power. A lot of folks, not a lot, but we hear it more and more all the time, that we chose you because our agent did not recommend you. You weren’t on the agent’s list. I think that’s a savvy move on a buyer’s side. I get it. I totally get it. I think it’s wrong because we’re the same inspection whether there’s an agent involved or not, but I understand that mindset. And there again, it goes again with the millennials being savvy about these kind of things and doing their due diligence to find out if that is a good referral or not.
But anyway, back on prior clients. I think it’s a huge missed opportunity by most inspection firms and me included, up until about a year or so ago that we really, really started pushing this and we’re seeing results from it.
Ken Compton: It is a great thing. Coach William, didn’t one of your prior clients of four years ago just called you up and you guys did the inspection. His realtor wanted him to use somebody else.
Coach William: Yeah. That’s right. And that’s not uncommon either. I don’t think the agent was too happy about that, but once you’ve satisfied a client and they were impressed with your services, if you stay in front of them, if you keep in front of their minds, some kind of way to keep your name in front of them, they will come back to you. No matter what the agent says.
Ken Compton: Right. Right. I want to go … Just thinking through that for a minute. I want to go back up here for direct to the public because on a different webinar we shared this strategy and I said to you earlier, we have strategies if you never want to walk into the office how to get real estate agents. And here’s one of them I want you to really understand.
But the first thing I want you to say is Coach William said something to you a minute ago that I really want you to write down. It’s the law of attraction. A lot of people said, “Oh, that’s hocus pocus.” No the law of attraction is simply this. What you focus on most, you get more of. So what you focus on most, you get more of. Now I want you to write that down. So that is so, so important. So by working your way through this, you’re focused on your business and you can get tremendous results.
So let’s talk about this strategy for a second. We’ve been teaching this for a long time and it works like a champion. You go direct to the public for the business and you get a home buyer. The home buyer, he or she, in many cases will bring the buyer’s agent. They do have an agent. So they’ll bring the buyer’s agent. All right, so what happens is the buyer’s agent has never worked with you in the past. So here’s what your rap is, “I know we haven’t worked together today and sometimes home inspectors cause real estate agents a little uncomfortable feeling. You feeling that way?”
“Yeah, a little uncomfortable, Ken.”
“Okay, I’m going to share with you this. Today when I do the inspection I’m going to be thorough so that you get any call backs. The client wants to know what’s the condition of the home, and so I’m going to be thorough so you don’t get callbacks. If I miss this or miss this, they’re going to call you back and then you might never get another referral from them. So I’m going to be thorough so you don’t get call backs.”
And the second thing that’s going to happen is we’re going to communicate our inspection findings in a neutral, non-scary manner. There’s nothing in the standards of practice that says we have to scare the client to death. Okay, so that’s my commitment to you today. And what I’d like to do, for you to do is, if I’ve lived up to my commitment, I would like for you to put me on your approved vendor list. Could you do that?” And then I hush. Okay?
And you know what that they say? “Well sure, that’s a reasonable thing.”
Okay so then at the end of the inspection when the client’s doing something else, I’ll say, “Okay, did I do it or didn’t I do it?”
And they’ll say, “Ken, you sure did.”
And I say, “Can I count on you to put me on your list?”
And they’ll say, “Absolutely.” And if you don’t see it right away, follow up with a nice note. “Hey, when we met this was our agreement. Love you to put me on there.”
You didn’t step into a real estate office to get that, did you, Coach William?
Coach William: No.
Ken Compton: You leveraged direct to the public to get a new referral source.
Coach William: Right.
Ken Compton: So this is so important. And these are the kind of strategies that we teach our clients everyday at The Savvy Inspector. With the inventory shortage, you need every piece of business you can get. This is starting to really impact everybody’s income. And certainly worse in some markets than others. Okay, so that’s it. Prior clients already know you, like you, and trust you. Why wouldn’t you use them, leverage them. Like Coach William said, they not only say when they’re in the barber shop, “Here’s the home inspection company I used,” but then they go on and on about all the good things about you. And this person’s thinking wow, that’s awesome. This guy’s passionate about it. And then they go look you up on the internet, 78% of them do.
Prior client marketing segment is really, really important. Do you know, I say you should get a third of your business from prior client marketing. And if you start it from the very beginning, and I say prior client marketing starts at the driveway, when you’re doing that driveway presentation, you are setting expectations for what’s going to happen today. And then what happens you move right through that. You start setting up prior client marketing. I can’t tell you how effective Southern Home Inspection Services was at it. About a third of our business came from it and we do tons of inspections. Thirteen guys going full-time, five schedulers and support staff. So that was a big thing.
Now, Coach William, here’s one of the things you know you heard me preach about over the years. We almost demand the client comes from the minute we start on the driveway. How do feel about that? What’s your firm’s position on it?
Coach William: Well, I think the truth be known every inspector would rather the client not be there. This makes things go quicker and you can focus and go. But the fact is you want them there. We don’t demand that they’re there, but we highly, highly recommend it and we point out the reasons why. The underlying reason why is it’s hard sue a friend. And so if you can turn that client from an acquaintance to a friend, somebody that can trust you, you’ve just reduced your liability substantially, one. And then two, when they’re there, not only are they able to gain the knowledge of going around and you’re pointing out all these things to them, but what they actually understand, the due diligence that you gave to [inaudible 00:45:06] for them. All the nooks and crannies and what you couldn’t see and all that good stuff. So it just eliminates all those questions after the fact. Our number one complaints come from people who weren’t there. Occupied home, and the client wasn’t there. It’s almost like a guaranteed call back. So, we really, really want the client to be there, just to overcome that.
And again, again, I want to get future work from them and it’s hard to do if you just, if they weren’t there, and you’re just producing a report and getting on it and never said anything to them. So, highly recommend that you ask that they be there. We encourage that and most folks do, 90% or better of the inspections we do, the client’s there.
Ken Compton: My biggest, I do [inaudible 00:45:53] thing, but the reason we basically demand they came because we want to make that prior client a brand fan. We want to make you a raving brand fan. And you know what happens … Of the company. And we train our inspectors this way. We train them. Here’s what you do, here’s how you do it. Here’s how you look, here’s how you act. And what happens is we wanted to turn [inaudible 00:46:12]. And you know what happens is? We measured our inspectors on requests and referrals from prior clients. If they’re creating brand fans, they’re getting requests. And they’re getting referrals from their prior clients. And that was part of your performance evaluation, because I need everybody on the team to help me pull that wagon. And by generating brand fans, it makes it way easier. If you got a third of your business or more from prior clients and that was a steady thing, you wake up every month and you say, “You know what? A third of my goals are already met.” How positive would that be without having to get out there and kill yourself.
Coach William: Absolutely.
Speaker 3: I love it.
Ken Compton: I loved it. So it was a thing. We focused on it heavily on prior client marketing. And we’ll teach you strategies on how to automate that and the whole thing.
Here’s one, William, I think is a big missed opportunity for too many home inspectors.
Coach William: Yeah, mortgage brokers, we’ve talked about that a lot here lately again because of the outlook of the market and the housing shortage that I think it’s important that we attack every one of these market segments. And mortgage brokers can be a huge part of that. In our area we’ve struggled with it some. I’ve put together some nice campaigns, not that we don’t get some results, but man, it’s just a … Just don’t … It’s just not flooding the gates. And then at the awards banquet I was talking about last night, happened to be sitting right beside a CEO of a local bank here, and about half way through the event we were introduced and I realized who he was. He realized who I was so he whips out a business card right then and starts telling me about … Asked me for my card because he’s heard great things about us and want to make sure that he shares that information with his chief loan officer. And so, hopefully, that will turn into something. But I think those relationships are just like going after those top producers, identifying who those people are within those branches or mortgage lending offices that are the influencers and who can make those referrals. I know there are some inspectors who do really, really well with this. Maybe it’s just different for the areas.
So I think it is another missed opportunity. There is work there to be had. We could improve on that ourself. Again, I tried the strategy and didn’t get the results I wanted so I need to tweak it and try again. Change the plan, right, not the goal.
Ken Compton: Right[inaudible 00:48:27].
Coach William: So, we’ll continue to do that and as agents disappear, the more and more important this loan o- … Everybody, almost everybody, has to get financing for their home. As the agent’s out of the picture, that makes the lender that much more valuable.
Ken Compton: And we have lots of strategies at The Savvy Inspector to help you with mortgage broker marketing. So that’s a good segment. But here’s one of the things I like about mortgage brokers. You can’t kill their deal. You cannot kill their deal. Their interest is the same as the client’s. They want the client to get a good home, so they’re happy with it and pay for it. They don’t want somebody to move in and there’s $40,000 worth of trouble. The client can’t pay for it. Then that’s a bad loan. So what happens is the mortgage broker’s got the same interest as the client. You can’t kill the mortgage broker’s deal, and that’s a good thing. It’s a way different dynamic.
Here’s one I think people don’t think about. A lot of people who have been in BNI think it’s a great thing. There’s other network marketing groups out there as well. So if you’re committed to that as a market segment, I think that can be good. If you’re outgoing and you can get referrals and you like that kind of thing, networking groups can be very, very powerful. And I think again, it’s overlooked. Certainly, home inspectors aren’t measuring how many referrals came directly from networking group. So I think that’s a big thing.
Now there are other market segments that we could put down here that are smaller, but these are the ones where I think all home inspectors should be marketing. So that’s the thing.
Now, Coach William, mortgage broker marketing the way we want you to do it, and some things that … Indiana you probably don’t have the associations or whatever, but in other, your other larger markets, you would. But if you’re new to the business, mortgage broker marketing wouldn’t necessarily be right for you at that stage.
Coach William: I would agree. And network group marketing, I think again as this market changes, real estate agents become less involved, the more value there is in these other segments. The network group marketing is something … I’m probably glad you’ve got that on here because that’s another avenue that we can open back up. As a one man shop, if you get involved with BNI, or some of these, it involves a little time. And then typically, the longer the you’re in there, the more homework you have to stay in that group. I did well in a BNI group as a one man shop, but it got to where I’m there to get referrals and then I’m losing referrals because I’m there. As a one man shop I ended up opting out of that. But now as a multi-inspector firm, I could see having an inspector plugged into a couple different of these groups as the market turns on us might be more value in that now than there was then.
Ken Compton: Sure. Yeah, because you’re in a different place in your business. You’re a large, multi-inspector firm and you don’t have day to day responsibilities for all the aspects of the business. So it makes complete sense to you. I could even see your marketing person, and then now you having two marketing people, I could see one of them being involved, or both of them in different group …
Coach William: [inaudible 00:51:25]
Ken Compton: To work that, so it’s a good thing.
We have lots of advanced strategies. These are the groups, the market segments, and underneath these we have all kinds of advanced, intermediate, and beginner strategies. So no matter where you are in the business, you can still work these market segments, and we have strategies that you can implement. You couldn’t implement some advanced things until you got some of the fundamental things in place. So we … Underneath each one of these segments would be the strategies that you would engage in to make this happen.
Let’s end this thing here and talk about The Savvy Inspector approach. We’ve talked about it, what you need to do. Where are you right now? Evaluate where you are in the business cycle. What are your goals? And work through that. Ask yourself those hard questions. Be honest. Wave that magic wand. And these would be the areas we want you to get business. Okay, we call them market segments. So know that.
Here’s how The Savvy Inspector approaches this whole thing, because everybody’s busy and you don’t have the same background and experience. So here’s what we do. We share with you these things. We share with you what you need to do. We share with you why you need to do it. I think that’s important. We can share with you what you need to do but if you don’t understand why that’s not as effective. I want to know why I’m doing this. So that’s why we do that. What you need to do, why you need to do it … We give you the tools to make it happen. But, Coach William, here is the most important thing, isn’t it?
Coach William: He who implements wins!
Ken Compton: That’s it, brother. All you have to do is implement what we’ve taught you. Now, Coach William, what would you say the key to your success from a struggling one man shop basically just praying this thing would go forward to where you are now? Nine home inspectors and growing …
Coach William: Yeah. Implementing it one bite of the elephant at a time, and perfecting that … So you’d grab a piece, this looks like it would make sense to me, or this would be fairly simple for me to implement and grow with. So grab that, grab that strategy, grab that market segment that you’re after, match that message to market match you know, and then start implementing these things. And if you get great results, improve upon that and keep working. If you don’t get great results, yank it back, tweak it, try it again. And so that’s what we’ve done.
It used to be when you go to one of the workshops and people still refer it as drinking from a fire hose … And I mean that’s what it was. We were so blown away by the information that came from the stage, one, then two, the after hour mingling that we do is just, oh my gosh, just the information you get from other people. So Sherri and I are going there not knowing what to expect from the onset, filled up two [daggone 00:54:01] binder paper, college bound notebooks, pads, trying to just … Most of our head was down most of the time scratching, trying to keep up. So we knew that we had found what we were looking for.
We actually took a little [vacay 00:54:16] after that workshop and we just sat down through our vacation there and weeded through that information that we’d gain, and picked two or three things that we thought were going to be simple for us to start implementing, because you can’t do it all at once. And so it worked and we’ve continued to do that. Just … We implemented this, got it perfected, let’s go to the next thing, whatever that might be. And you would think that, over time, … I’ve been doing this with Ken since ’06, or ’07, so you would think that you would used up all the strategies by now, right? But being in the group and being in mastermind groups and being involved, I mean everybody’s got, if they don’t have a brand new thing, they’ve taken something old and tweaked it to make it new in another way … Or they’ve done something you’ve done but done it a different way … So it just never ends. And the market’s always evolving and our marketing has to evolve with that.
I’m trying to keep it short, but that’s what I would do. Today the workshops are set up so that we have breakout sessions so that you can focus in on a track if you want. Maybe it’s financials for you, or it’s hiring or training for you or marketing top producers is what you’re after. So, you’d come to a workshop and then just focus on that one aspect of what you’re after. You still get everything from the workshop afterwards available to you, but you’re able to focus your … Put all your attention in that one basket while you’re at that workshop. And we’ve gotten tons of great feedback about them and I like that much better myself because you’re able to stay focused on what’s going on stage. You’re not there trying to scratch everything down and take notes because Ken does make it available to you afterwards with some links and what have you.
Long answer, but that’s what I would do. Choose your strategy and implement that until you get it perfected and move to the next one. And that’s what we’ve done and we continue to do everyday.
Ken Compton: You know The Savvy site, if you go direct to the public there’s strategies … Top producer, there’s strategies. You don’t have to dream these things up. We have them for you. And we’ve proven them to work. The things that didn’t work don’t land on the website.
And, Coach William, I think you guys have moved beyond implementer now to innovator. You’ve been here so many years hanging around with our staff that you see things and opportunities where you say, “Okay, I can take this and improve upon this.”
Coach William: [inaudible 00:56:31]
Ken Compton: The first thing we really need you to do is implement what we teach before you try to be an innovator because most people will say, “Oh, that … I’m going to do it this way,” when we shared you to do it this way. Then they’ll come back on a call whatever and they say that strategy didn’t work. And we’ll say, “Well show us what you did.” People pay us to give you tough love. And after I hear what they’ve done, I say, “The strategy didn’t fail you. You failed the strategy because you didn’t implement it correctly.”
And so when they go back and do it correctly, our way, then what happens is then they win with it. So, I want most people to be implementers first, way first, and then what happens when you be Coach Williams size and with the size of staff and number of inspectors he has, it’s smart to become innovators. Take strategies and say, “We can do this better this way for our firm.”
So you have everything you need right there on The Savvy Inspector website. The site is not cost prohibitive. Our inner circle group is very inexpensive, and one of the things I think Coach William loved was there was no contract to sign. We have to earn your business each and every month. So what happens as long as we’re providing you tremendous value and you’re growing your business, you’ll be with us. And Coach William joined us, I think, in 2007. We started in 2006. We have clients like Coach William that have been there since the door opened and are still there. But that no contract is a good thing. I don’t think you should have to sign a contract. And I don’t think you have to pay too much money either. That’s the thing.
Coach William, anything else before we go?
Coach William: No. This was a great presentation. And again, what you said, if you end up being innovative, the thing is even though I’ve been with The Savvy this long, I learn something new every time I get on with the guys because again, we’ve got mastermind groups and different folks of our caliber in there and they’re doing the same thing. And they can’t wait to share. If something works, you try something new and it works, I want to share it with everybody. And it’s the same with everybody in the group. And that’s the kind of thing you get when you’re a Savvy member, versus you go to your local association meeting and everybody sits there scared to death they’re going to share their little secret with their competitor sitting in the chair next to them.
So it’s a whole different paradigm at these workshops. There’s real camaraderie here. These folks are my friends. I continue to grow those friendships and add new friends to it through The Savvy. Not only do we go there for the education, we go there to visit with our friend and we catch up. Just a great time, great group of people …
Ken Compton: Beth and I love the workshops, too. But, you know, during the year we have a private Facebook group called TSI Engage, and it’s only for our clients, our coaching clients. What happens is there’s a lot of interaction there day in and day out. That is a hugely active group. And so everybody’s helping each other and Coach William and I get in there and the rest of our team gets in there and answers questions and does things to help them in there as well. But they’re really, really helping and sharing with each other. There’s no holding back on that.
So before we go, Coach William, I want to really say two things. I just want folks … Neither of these … I want you to, if you haven’t already written this down, this is very, very important. It’s the law of attraction. I know I’ve said it, but I want to say it to you again because it is so important. What you focus on most, you get more of. And one of the things that makes The Savvy Inspector clients so successful is their focus on their success, their focus on achieving their goals. So that’s the big thing. That’s the big thing.
And the second thing I can’t tell you enough … It’s right on the front of the members’ portal. Every time you log in you see it all over The Savvy site … That he who implements wins. We can give you all this great information, tell you what to do, why to do it, give you the tools to do it, but, by George, if you don’t do it, you will not win. And that would be sad.
And right now you need to become a marketer of home inspection services because of all these external factors happening in the market. It’s never been a more important that you understand where you are and what your goals are and how you’re going to get that business in because if things got worse, we don’t want you to go out of business. We want you to thrive and gain market share while everybody else goes out of business. So that’s why we’re focused on this. I hope this helps.
Coach William, again thank you, sir, very much for being on the call. And I’ll talk to you soon.
Coach William: Thanks, [inaudible 01:00:42]. Well talk to you [inaudible 01:00:43].