Many times as home inspectors, when we focus on our marketing we say “I need to make that phone ring!”. And while that is obviously important, what is even more important is turning those phone calls into inspections.
So what is your call-to-close ratio? How many phone calls do you turn into home inspections? There are some who think that they are doing better than they actually are. I will give you an example.
I started a home inspection company, put the best inspector in charge, and made him answer the phones for the first year or so. I did this to make him see the need for good customer relations. We kept track of his calls, and when we went over his call ratio vs close ratio, he was thrilled because he said he was getting most of them. But was he?
When we went through his records, we found that he was only closing about 25% of the phone calls. We went over why, and we found that he was not consistent on the calls. If he was in a basement, he would be short and blurt out a fee and move on. He would forget to mention his qualifications many times. He would let the conversation be directed by the client, and he didn’t keep closing the inspection as the primary objective.
So how did we fix this? We did it by instituting a script. I had been using a script for years. In fact, if you want to skip all the info on why and how the script functions and moves, you can scroll down and see one of the scripts we would use (not all the information may apply to you, so adjust it as needed).
Once he started using the script, he literally went to an 85%-90% close rate. So why and how does using a script work?
Keeping The Ball In Your Court
When a client calls, most of the time they don’t know what is involved in a home inspection, they usually don’t know all your awesome qualifications, and they come asking all the wrong questions.
But that is why so many people end up with horror stories about how they had a bad home inspector – they hire an inspector based on his price instead of what really matters.
Clients are like people stepping onto a tennis court for the first time and never having seen the game. If you let them control the game, then the balls start flying everywhere. So keep the ball in your court. Coach the client into asking the right questions like “how qualified are you” instead of “how much do you charge”.
Having a script in mind (or even written) ahead of time is like having a manual with you to teach someone how to play tennis. It is more structured, focused, and helps the client make good decisions (and ultimately helps you schedule the inspection).
Refining Your Script
Have you ever hung up the phone and said “I wish I hadn’t said that”? Or just as bad, saying “I forgot to mention…”. With a script, you don’t have to just say that, you can do something about it.
With a written script, you can find what works and what doesn’t, and then duplicate it. After that, you will end up converting more of those calls into inspections.
Over time, you will find yourself changing your script based on the market, and how your clients react.
Getting the Client Vested in You
One of the key parts of using a script is getting the client vested in you. A good example of this is my mechanic. Is my mechanic the best mechanic out there? Are his prices the best? Does he have the best tools? To be honest – I have no idea. But I have used him for about 10 years.
That is because when I call, he answers and talks to me about my car’s issues, he goes through scenarios, and more. When I call somewhere else it’s just “yea, bring it in and we will take a look” in a gruff voice. That doesn’t really make me feel like they care at all.
People need to feel that same way when they call you. I would not allow a phone call to end in less than 10 minutes – but I won almost every single inspection that called me. I would discuss their concerns with the house, the neighborhood, and anything else related to it that I could.
You may think that you don’t want to be on the phone that long. But consider this: If 10 people call you for inspections in one week, if you answer the phone and in two minutes give a price and availability for every call, it would take you a total of 20 minutes. You will likely not get many inspections either. In fact, I would venture to guess that you might only get one or two of those. So that means you spent 20 minutes over those 10 phone calls to get two inspections… If you spent 10 minutes with each client, you would spend the same amount of time for each closed inspection – but would just win more of them.
So make that a general rule to spend as much time with every client as possible.
Focus on Closing The Call
Another great reason to have a script is to focus on closing the phone call. Many times we get lost in our conversation or other details, but a script keeps us on track.
Don’t let things like price and schedule conflicts get in the way of closing the phone call. Keep the end of the call focused on getting that client in the calendar.
Do not let the client stop with dead air in the conversation. Lead them where you want them to go. Remember – if you are a great home inspector, then you are doing your client a disservice by not selling yourself properly to them and letting them go with a sub-par home inspector.
So here is one of our scripts we would use. This is just a basic template, and one that you can adjust to fit your needs, skills, and services.
Home Inspections, this is John Doe
Hi. I’m looking to hire a home inspector. How much do you charge?
I’d love to perform a home inspection for you. If you don’t mind me asking a few questions, that way I
can give you a more accurate quote?
Great! First, if you don’t mind me asking, how did you hear about our company?
Great, thank you. So, if you could tell me a little bit about the home – bedrooms, bathrooms, age, what
town it’s in – anything you remember will help.
That’s great info, thanks. Do you have public water and sewer, or is there a well and septic?
There’s a well and septic
Great, and did you want those inspected as well?
Yes, I think I do
And just one more question, is there a VA or FHA loan involved at all?
Great. The only reason I ask is because they have specific regulations and certifications that they
require. I have all of those, and I also have a “first time home buyer friendly” designation. It doesn’t
mean that you are necessarily a first time home buyer, just that we know those organizations’
requirements in and out. They will need a certain water purity test, well test, and a certain pest form
that I am certified to fill out for you, and I fill out that pest form as a courtesy.
And did you have any specific concerns with the home?
Actually, there was this one thing….
(talk about their concerns, it shows them you know what you are talking about, that you care, and it
vests themselves into you)
Well, I’ll tell you a little bit about me and my company. I am obviously licensed by —-, but I also hold
multiple other certifications. I am a NACHI member, which is the largest home inspector organization
in the world. I am a CPI, IAC2 certified indoor air consultant, radon specialist and Mold Specialist, I
am also a licensed lead tester with the EPA and I am a certified septic system inspector. So I have all of
those little letters that you get to put behind your name, but what I feel really sets me apart is my “real
world” experience. I was raised in the trades by my father. I have done construction my whole life and I
have over 15 years inspection experience. I know what things are and how to fix them, because that’s
what I do. I know my way around a house because it has always been a part of my life and upbringing
Wow, that’s great. That’s definitely what I’m looking for.
And something that really sets us apart is that I use infrared on every home inspection – or I do a drone inspections, or I give a guarantee on all of my inspections. If I miss something on your inspection, NACHI will buy it back from you within 90 days of buying it…. the full price
that you paid for it. It is fully backed by NACHI and I can send you a link so that you can verify it (or the RWS warranties, or anything in addition that you offer) I am THAT confident in what I do.
Really? I will have to check that out.
So our standard fee for a home that size is $550. That includes electronic reports with pictures and
descriptions, your pest inspection, setup of your radon test AND pickup, some home inspectors don’t
pick up their own tests. Before they say anything, immediately say – “so what kind of time frame were you looking for?” (you
don’t want them to dwell on the price, but focus on scheduling)
Well, we need it by —–
Let me look at my calendar, I have it right here and I am just pulling over to look…. well, it looks like I
have ——— available. Does that work for you?
Yes it does.
Great, so the only thing I need from you to fully schedule your inspection is to fill out a brief form on our
website. The form puts you in the system and gives me all the information that I need to start your
paperwork. (get address etc.)
So I have put you in my personal calendar and typed in this phone number that you called me with. The
only thing we ask is that you send that form out to us in the next 8 – 12 hours to fully book your
Great, will do.
Excellent. If you have any questions, I am always available before AND after the inspection. Feel free to
call or email. Otherwise, we will look forward to working with you this coming ——!