INFORM VS. INTIMIDATE: HOW TO DELIVER REPORTS WITHOUT SCARING CLIENTS March 23, 2021 | Business Tips , Inspection Tips | business growth , inspection industry , client satisfaction By Jon McCreath, NPI, Inc.'s Technical Supervisor & Training Administrator The home-buying process is lengthy and intricate. From searching for the perfect place to finally signing, there are lots of things that have to fall in line. One of those steps is the home inspection and subsequent report that both play a big role in a buyer’s final decision. It’s important to disclose your findings along with any concerns so customers know what they’re getting. But how do you make sure you’re properly informing a client without fully turning them off from a purchase? Negative reputations stick with you. Nobody likes being labeled negatively, as it follows you around and could eventually affect business. Gaining a reputation for turning off buyers and undoing an agent’s hard work is something you definitely want to avoid. It can lead to frustration on both sides and strain otherwise healthy working relationships. While you can work to reverse a less than desirable reputation, it’s better to develop a positive one beforehand. Small, actionable measures show your customers that you're a professional who cares about them. Properly identify items in your report. How you label an item in your inspection makes a world of difference. Improperly identifying the condition of a component might be enough for a buyer to walk away. Careful examination can help you come to an accurate conclusion about whether an object is “marginal” or “defective.” Of course if you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to ask for help. It’s better to take a few minutes and get the right answer than to just check a box and move on. Use the report to educate. Your report is more than just a summary of what you found within a home. It’s also a great educational tool for agents and buyers. Coming back from an inspection with lots of notes and marked items can make a client nervous and have them thinking about walking away. Leaving a buyer on their own to sort out what fixes are more important leads to frustration. But taking the time to break down and explain what each piece means will help circumvent that. Keeping buyers in the know makes an inspection report less intimidating and maintains your relationship. Communicate with your agents. Putting your clients at ease can start even before your first meeting with them. Having your agents give precursory information about an inspection will let buyers know what they can expect. This will give them time to prepare beforehand and be ready for their report. You’ll be able to create a smoother transition throughout, which is especially valuable for first-time homebuyers. As time goes on, you and your agents can fine-tune this approach to give customers the best experience possible. Continue with your system. There will still be times when a deal falls through for whatever reason. Don’t let this discourage you from sticking with your process. Learn what may have gone wrong and what you can fix to make it better for the next time. Continually doing a professional job will also stand out to your agents and they’ll see how much you want to help them and their clients. Just a little bit of extra effort goes a long way in building trust and solidifying your business as a premier company. Interested in what a franchise with NPI looks like? Check out these FAQs to learn more. About the Author Jon McCreath, Technical Supervisor & Training Administrator A former NPI franchise owner and real estate agent, Jon joined the NPI corporate team in 2019. With his inspection expertise and foundation in classroom instruction, Jon teaches and mentors new franchisees during their two-week training course in Omaha. He also handles technical support calls during and after office hours and guides franchisees through the state licensing process.