by Nick Gromicko, CMI®
As a REALTOR for many years, I dreaded the thought of having to listen to a local home inspector’s presentation at the mandatory Tuesday morning sales meeting. Home inspectors are so boring and never offer any information that is useful to my real estate business: “Hi, I’m Bob from ABC Inspections. I’m thorough, I arrive on time, uh… did I say I was thorough?” Uggghhh!
So, when I became a home inspector, I knew I needed to do something better, something interesting, and something that would actually be useful to real estate agents.
I came up with this:
I asked the broker/owner/manager of the real estate office if I could bring in a truckload of insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and demonstrate how a corner of a foundation is constructed using ICFs. I also explained that I was going to bring in a stack of 3.5x8-inch cards with all the sales talking points for ICFs printed on them. The cards would help a listing agent highlight a home with an ICF foundation, and they'd help a buyer’s agent talk intelligently about ICF foundations when showing a home built with them. The cards were sized to fit in the glove compartment of the real estate agent's car. I said that I would provide enough cards for agents who wanted to give them out to their clients who were buying a home with an ICF foundation.
The presentation was very dramatic. Setting up the block corner gave me something to do with my hands and allowed me time to compose my thoughts between periods where I would turn to the audience of agents and tell them about the next benefit of ICF construction. I also passed around one of the insulated concrete forms, since they’re light. Some agents actually stood up to watch and listen to my presentation. You know you're keeping your audience’s attention when they rise to their feet.
At the end of my show-and-tell, I offered the cards. Every agent took them until I ran out. The broker/owner/manager asked if she could call the manager at one of their other offices and have me repeat my presentation at their sales meeting, too. Word got around town, and I eventually gave that same presentation at many real estate offices' sales meetings.
I was often asked to leave the ICF corner and a stack of the cards in the meeting room for an extra week so that agents who missed the presentation could see it and get some informational cards.
Agents would also call me when they ran out of cards. It was really great for my inspection business to have those talking-point cards in the glove compartments of all those agents' vehicles knowing that they were being handed out to all those consumers who were about to hire a home inspector.
You can probably guess what was on the back of those cards: my inspection company's contact information.
I accomplished so many things at once with these presentations:
- I was able to personally introduce myself to dozens of real estate professionals gathered in the same room at the same time.
- Rather than make an uninvited nuisance of myself, I helped take the monotony out of their typical sales meetings, which was another way I made my presence welcome and myself memorable.
- I was able to demonstrate my competence and knowledge, and I offered them freely to the agents so that they could do the same for their clients.
- I forged a bond with these professionals so that I'd be at the top of their list when they were recommending a home inspector.
- I got them to market for me by passing out my cards.
You don't have to be a whiz at PowerPoint or an expert in construction to do what I did. When you know that you'll have a captive audience, you need only present an idea that they'll find useful and informative enough to pass along, even if it makes them sound like they're the expert. The relationship you create with real estate professionals is give and take, but you both have the same goals in mind: to serve your clients, and to close the sale.
Remember that you can take any type of concept to make this marketing strategy work. Find some local product or trend that may be especially popular in your area. Green homes, water features, septic systems, pools, barns, historic homes, bamboo flooring, Xeriscaping™--the ideas are endless. But it helps if you have the pulse of your service area, or at least an idea of the local listings, which are available as a matter of public record.
Once you land on an idea for a presentation, you don't need to spend weeks putting it together; just find the manufacturer's information and build on that. When I did my presentation on ICFs, the manufacturer provided facts and statistics on how strong ICFs are, their superior insulative value, etc. If you want to add some demonstration component like I did, you can look for DIY videos on YouTube, or visit a local installer. It just doesn't get any simpler.
Also, let them know that if they have hesitant buyers, the best way to get their clients into a home is to let them know they have a way out. For more information on InterNACHI's "We'll Buy Your Home Back Guarantee" go to https://www.nachi.org/buy.htm
Being innovative with your marketing doesn't mean you must be a genius researcher or gifted at oratory. It requires motivation and a little creativity. You're not likely to receive a random request from your local real estate office to give a presentation until they know its value; likewise, you can't wait for an invitation to be bold in your business.