North Carolina's Inspector Network an Association by and for Professional Home Inspectors
Office presentations are a great strategy for growing your home inspection business. Office presentations involve contacting local real estate offices and scheduling short presentations on home inspection related topics. The goal of these presentations is to educate agents on the home inspection while making new contacts, showcasing your business and gaining trust and credibility in your market.
These seven tips will help you get the most out of your next office presentation.
1. Become Certified by Your State to Offer Continuing Education for Your Courses
The best way to book office presentations with real estate agencies is to get certified by your state to teach continuing education courses for agents. This is important because real estate agencies get contacted by many organizations, all of whom are offering to do some type of presentation. It can be very difficult to set yourself apart from your competition and get your foot in the door. When you can give presentations that include continuing education credits, real estate agencies view this as valuable to their agents and will be very receptive when you contact them. In many cases, you can get booked on your first call when you offer to do a presentation that includes CE credits. (In the About the Author, you will learn how to bypass all of the paperwork and administrative hurdles associated with setting up and maintaining a continuing education program.)
2. Offer a Range of Options for Presentations
There are many important topic areas regarding home inspections that agents should be familiar with in order to effectively assist buyers and sellers during a real estate transaction. If you can present on a number of topics, you will have more opportunities to get in front of agents and you will be invited back more frequently. A few examples of presentation topics include: Managing the Home Inspection, Home Energy Options, Lead Safety, Mold, Radon, Septic Systems, Common Home Defects, Inspecting the Peripherals, Kitchen & Bath Appliances, Understanding Newer Homes, Advantages of Move-In Ready Homes.
You have several options for creating a presentation of your own. With all the information available online, you can find an existing course and modify it to suit your presentation style or build a new course from scratch, using your own photos and content. It is also important to offer presentations of varying lengths to suit the individual needs of the agency. The length of the presentation can range from a short 20-minute presentation up to three hours. To provide presentations of an hour or more, you will typically need to offer continuing education credits to make it a worthwhile for agents.
3. Personalize Your Presentation
Sometimes the content can be dry and/or boring, so it is important to make the presentation your own by adding personal stories and humor to keep agents engaged. You can also consider adding any interesting photos that you may have taken from your past home inspections to illustrate various points in your presentation. The best time to present your services and let agents know more about your company and what you have to offer is after you have completed your presentation. Agents are very busy, so it is important to be brief and to the point when discussing your services. Include your contact information in your presentation and bring plenty of business cards to make sure that everyone can get in touch with you.
4. Find a Partner/Sponsor
Mortgage companies, movers, stagers, and many other businesses would jump at the opportunity to get in front of a room full of agents. Once you book a presentation you could contact some of these businesses and ask them if they would like to sponsor your presentation.
Suggest that your sponsor help cover the cost of breakfast, lunch or beverages and snacks depending upon when you schedule the presentation. If your presentation is an hour or longer, lunch works great because you can see how many agents show up at the start of the presentation and order just the right amount of food. You should give your sponsor the opportunity to speak at the end of your presentation and be sure to let the agents know who provided the meal or refreshments. For a smooth transition, you could ask the sponsor to send you a few PowerPoint slides and append them to the end of your presentation.
5. Be Prepared
After you have scheduled your presentation, make sure that you understand the audio/visual (AV) technology in the room where you are presenting. You will need to find out if you will be presenting on a TV/monitor or projector screen and if they will be providing the PC or laptop connected to the display. If they are providing everything, you will simply need to bring a portable USB drive with your PowerPoint presentation on it. In some cases, you may need to bring a laptop and plug into the display device in the room. Make sure you get there at least 30 minutes early so you can test your presentation and make sure that everything is working correctly. Always bring a printed copy of your presentation so that in the event of a technical issue, you could still give your presentation.
You should also bring an attendance sheet and collect contact information for every agent who attends, including email addresses. This will enable you to follow up with everyone after the presentation.
6. Track Your Results
There is a simple strategy for tracking the referrals you get from your presentations. Create business-card-sized discount cards with an offer, such as $50 off a home inspection. On the card you can include the name of the agency along with the date that you did the presentation. Give these cards to agents at the end. It will provide the agent with a nice gift that they can offer to their clients and will increase the likelihood that they will choose your company for an inspection. When these cards are redeemed, you will know exactly which presentation resulted in the referral and it will assist you in tracking the effectiveness of your presentations. You can also offer more cards to agents who are using them. 7. Follow Up It is very important to follow up after every presentation. You should first follow up with each agent who attends your presentation. You can send a simple email to thank them for attending. In the email you should include a list of your services along with your contact information so they can get in touch with you in the future. Let them know that if they have any questions about home inspections they can call or email you. Personal touches can go a long way in building long-term relationships with agents.
It is very important to follow up after every presentation. You should first follow up with each agent who attended your presentation. Send an simple email to thank them for attending a list of your services along with your contact information. Having your logo and contact information in the email signature is a great branding tool. You can also follow up with the tried and true letter, something short and most importantly include a business card. While considered old fashioned direct mail is cheap and effective. Personal touches go a long way at building relationships so connect with these agents on line, comment on their posts and participate in any event that they may sponsor.
In addition to following up with the agents, you should also follow up with the office manager for the agency and try to schedule another presentation on a different topic. The more you can get in front of agents face-to-face, the more likely they will be to trust you and recommend you to their clients. Implementing these seven tips will increase the effectiveness of your office presentations and lead to more referrals from agents.
By Jamison Krugger, Preferred Systems, Inc.