by Nick Gromicko, CMI®
The home inspection business is different from most businesses in that inspectors usually don't meet their clients until AFTER they've hired them. A successful inspection business relies heavily on marketing but affords only one opportunity to sell... and that occurs when the phone rings. As an inspector, your phone sales skills can make or break your inspection company.
Here's a simple strategy you can use to gauge and improve your phone skills.
Using an inexpensive digital voice recorder, or a phone jack and mini-recorder plugged into your landline, listen to both the way you answer the phone and the way you interact with potential clients who call for an inspection. (Before you “tap” your own phone, check with your state’s laws about recording your phone conversations, as it is illegal in some states.)
- your general tone of voice. Are you friendly and cheerful, or are you stressed and anxious?
- your enunciation and the clarity of your speech. Are you speaking too quickly or too low, or are you relaxed and articulate?
- your willingness to listen without interrupting—this is especially important in conversations that you want to end in an appointment;
- whether you respond appropriately, such as by voicing conversational cues to signal that you’re actively listening, and by repeating back what the caller says to you;
- your explanation of why you (in particular) are the perfect choice for the inspection job; and
- your close. Did you actually offer to schedule the inspection?
Tip: Ask your friends and family members to listen to some of the recordings and have them comment on what they hear.
Remember: You get only one chance to make a good first impression. For inspectors, their first contact with a prospective client is often over the phone, so make sure your phone skills aren't un-selling your services without you even realizing it.