It’s no secret that real estate agent relationships are vital to growing your home inspection business. Some experienced home inspectors still get 80+% of their business from agent referrals.
So how do you meet agents, let alone get them to give you a try?
This is a practice that many experienced home inspectors still do. You’ll run into more experienced agents here with sustainable practices.
Most local real estate offices will have seen a few (or many) home inspector presentations already, so think about something unique you can offer.
Do you use modern software that generates easy-to-read reports? Do you have a background in construction or plumbing? Do you have exceptional customer service and follow-up skills? Are there some recent changes in code that you could make the office aware of? Can you help new agents learn about common issues and costs to repair?
*Bringing food never hurts but you don’t want it to be your main value proposition
Bottom line: You need a compelling reason that will deliver unique value before you start emailing or dropping in offices.
Open houses are a great way to get one-on-one time with an agent. It’s a high effort strategy, and gives you the most opportunity to connect. Dress professionally and be prepared with some questions for the agent. Here are a few to get you started:
Exchange business cards and ask if it’s ok if you keep in touch.
Make sure to promptly email to say it was nice to meet you and connect with them on social media while the interaction is fresh on their mind.
Bottom line: This is a high-effort, high-reward strategy. Try to hit a couple in a weekend and see how they go and adjust from there.
Real estate agents, regardless of generation, are active social media users. So use this to your advantage by connecting with agents through multiple channels.
Here are some tips to help you get started connecting online:
Search for agents by name on social media or use the search function and type in “real estate agent [insert your city]”. If you don’t know any Realtors in your area, search for this in Google and look at the first 20 links. Follow each one on the social media accounts they list in the header of footer of their site.
You can go to Zillow, Trulia or Redfin and look at the agents that are advertising in your local area - chances are they are pretty active if they are advertising.
Follow their account and accompany with a friendly message to them saying hello and that you look forward to connecting with them.
Many agents pay attention to who subscribes to their newsletter, so sign up, take a look at it and thoughtfully respond to them - they recognize and appreciate this!
Remember, when someone interacts with you online, it shows effort. It’s another impression for you and your brand. It builds familiarity and trust.
Bottom line: An active, solid online presence is a necessity for all businesses. Put 5-10 minutes in your calendar each day to focus on this.
Your local Chamber of Commerce or Community Center may have networking or business meetup events. Think about the type of group or event that a real estate agent would go to.
First impressions matter. So dress professional, but not overdone. A collared shirt and jeans or slacks should suffice.
This may be out of your comfort zone, but engage. Initiate conversation by asking people what they do for a living and listen. Remember, not everyone is a real estate agent but everyone knows at least one. So if the topic of what you do comes up, you can say something along the lines of “If you know any good real estate agents, I’d love an introduction”.
Exchange business cards and follow up via email 1-3 days later.
Bottom line: You’re also in the business of customer service. Your business will benefit from getting your name out there.
An often overlooked way to meet and connect with people is simply getting out and doing more activities that interest you and being open to meeting people.
Pick up a new sport or hobby. Engage in the communities you’re already interested in. Join a local meetup group.
Successful real estate agents are known for naturally having a network of people that trust and like them. This leads to referrals and more referrals without explicitly selling yourself.
Bottom line: You’re most likely to attract and connect with people when you’re doing something you enjoy.
Building long-term relationships with agents is one of the most important aspects of your job. It requires time, effort and consistency both online and off. The long-term rewards of consistent referrals are worth the effort.