As a home inspector, your target market is important. But, before I dig into any of that I want to tell you a quick story.
Meet Sam & Sally Homebuyer. They have a happy little family of three, including their 2-year-old son Shawn and expecting another addition soon. They both were recently promoted and want to improve their quality of life. After a few weeks of discussions, Sam & Sally decide they’re going to buy their first home.
They both post on social media that they are looking for a real estate agent. Sally’s old neighbor, John, sends her a message and tells her that he’s been a real estate agent for the last 5 years and can put them in their dream home.
John does an amazing job at finding the home that Sam & Sally both love and he does it almost overnight. There’s plenty of room. A beautiful yard. The right-sized office for each of them to work from home when they need to. The home is within their budget. It’s as if the home is perfect and meant for Sam & Sally.
But, John hasn’t had a sale in over a month and is getting desperate to close. So in the process of walking through the home, John lets them know the importance of taking action and fast.
“As promised, it’s everything you wanted. As you see it’s all in great condition! There is someone coming in the morning to look at it. I don’t want to rush you but I heard he’s a real estate investor and pays cash so we should submit an offer tonight.”
They agree and as they sit down to work up their offer, John suggests to Sam & Sally that because they can see everything looks great, they can waive their home inspection & which would also speed up the process and let them move in sooner.
So they submit the offer. It’s exactly what the home seller was asking for and with no inspection, it does speed up the process.
Sam & Sally move into their “perfect home”. They started almost immediately focused on getting the nursery perfect and just a few weeks after, Sally gave birth to their baby girl Sue.
Everything was perfect.
Until about a month later when …
As home inspectors, you know the end of that sentence can be ANYTHING. If you are in Home Inspections for the right reasons, you want to keep those words from being repeated. “Everything was perfect, UNTIL…”
It’s a nightmare because we know that didn’t have to be the case. But, we can’t control what John tells Sam & Sally.
So for those situations, there’s nothing we can do. Right? Wrong!
The advantage that the real estate agent has over the home inspector is branding. They control the conversation of the real estate process because they can.
Show You Can Help By Actually Helping
Your knowledge, as a qualified & certified home inspector, is the key to regain control of the conversation.
As a home inspector, you know the ins & outs of the industry. You know the agents that can be trusted, the contractors you’d recommend, and they pay you to have their back. So if you want them to trust you enough to help them. You need to first prove that you can help them by actually helping them.
Use your knowledge and educate the market to guide them along the process. So when they reach the moment of “hiring a home inspector”, they refuse to use anyone but you.
Introducing The Client Compass For Home Inspectors
The client compass is the breakdown of the journey that your client will make in order to get from where they are to where they want to be. This is going from a person who thinks “I want to buy a house” through buying & living in their “forever home”.
This is important because when you know what your target market is thinking and can prove you are there to help them by actually helping them, you build on a relationship before it exists.
So the purpose of the client compass is to know what would actually help. Understanding every step it takes to move your potential clients to be your actual client.
The magic with this exercise is in not just going through the initial steps. When you understand every step of their journey and can help them even after the home inspection, you create brand ambassadors which are the key to growing your business into a brand that is known as the best.
The Client Compass Overview
The visual of a compass will break down what you should focus on within the client compass when addressing your target market.
If you replace each of the directions with the different things you should address while delivering content it will be four main pillars.
- (N)orth becomes your CLIENT’S NEEDS
- (W)est becomes your CLIENT’S WANTS
- (E)ast becomes your CLIENT’S EXPECTATIONS
- (S)outh becomes your CLIENT’S VISION OF SUCCESS
If you use your content to address your clients Needs, Wants, Expectations, and vision of Success, the process of working with you will be a breeze.
But, let’s be honest, it’s hard to understand what someone is going through, and how to help them, without understanding who they are. That leads us to our next important step.
Understanding Your Target Market
So the first thing we need to focus on is your Target Market. Most home inspectors will have a target market that is about 90% the same. We’ll simplify that as someone who wants to buy a house
The last 10% will change based on the demographics, geographics, & psychographics for your business. This is just a fancy way of saying that there are some things that change with people based on where they’re located. We’ll come back to that 10% in a little bit.
Now, we will discuss the 90% you all share because it is important.
That is because, at the core, your target market wants one thing.
So what does your target market want?
It’s really not what you think. They don’t want a home inspection. They want a home.
But not just a home. They want to buy a home that is a good purchase. They want a safe home and they want to know that they won’t have any unexpected surprises.
& that isn’t just a surprise leak in the attic. They want to get from thinking that they want to be a home-owner to being a homeowner with no worries.
You have the knowledge to help them with the journey but do you know the journey?
The Homebuyer’s Roadmap | Client Compass
Look, with almost 20 years in marketing I’ve seen hundreds of hours of training both in-person and online. I’ve studied many different strategies and almost every one of them is improved drastically by implementing this exercise. But don’t worry, I did it for you.
I knew if I was going to be able to truly help you I had to get in the mind of your target market. So I reached out to my network and spoke to all sorts of people from a friend who’s a teacher that just bought a home to real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and others.
While talking to a few real estate agents I got 8 of them to send me their own version of what we’ll call a “mind map” of the entire process for their clients. I’ve added to it after hours & hours of research and there are some changes made for YOUR CLIENTS!
Here are 8 parts to the homebuyers roadmap with different steps for each part.
- Find Home
- Open Escrow
- Loan Process
- Making it Home
- Selling the Property
I’m not going to cover every step inside of the different parts in detail because you already know a lot of this. But later, I will show you a page with the full roadmap so you have that resource. Now that we have that out of the way.
The introduction is more an about section. It’s using what you have at your disposal to educate your potential clients on why they should come to you, the home inspector First.
After all, they hire you for one reason, to have their back. So let’s have their back.
Now the official process for your target market starts with a simple thought …
I want to buy a house.
The problem is that you can’t always find the people the second they think that they want to be a homeowner.
But what you can do is help them make the decisions and move forward in the progress
And this part of the Homebuyer’s Roadmap is “Decide”
This is when they define what they need in a home for their family, find the right agent for them to work with,& prequalify for a home loan
Moving through the journey they’re on, most people will tell them the first thing they should do is get an agent.
But, we’re not there yet.
The first thing that they need to do is to define their “Musts” before they start anything. This is important & with a blog post or a video, you can help them go through the questions they should ask themselves and what they need to consider before they move forward.
How many bedrooms and bathrooms do they need? Do they need a home office? What school zone do they want to live in? Do they want a Garage? A Big Yard? A Pool? Do they want a minimalist small house or do they want a house that can host dinner parties?
There are a lot of different things they need to cover here but in the end, walking people through this process will help keep you, the inspector, in front of their mind. Also, & this is a big one, the agents will LOVE you for this because it will make their job a lot easier in finding the clients their perfect home.
This takes us to the next step, helping them find the right agent FOR THEM.
There are some questions here that will help them with the process as well. (Hint: some of this can be amazing content on social media)
Now back to the questions.
Is there an agent that specializes in the area you want? This one is big because if there is a specific neighborhood that has one or two agents that focuses ONLY on that area, they’ll be better to answer questions and help with specifics.
What kind of personality do they work best with? This is important. Your clients aren’t all the same & some people work better with some personality types than others.
You seriously can help them here, a lot more than you think.
Reach out to the agents that you know you can put your name behind and set up an interview. You can do this as a video, a podcast, a blog, or all three. Then if you have a website, you can add a recommended agents page and list all of your interviews. This helps build trust with your potential clients & after you do 3-5, you’ll start having agents contact you instead of the other way around.
One last side note on this, it may be a bit of work but an interview of them talking about selling homes is EXACTLY what they are likely to share. That means you are getting in front of THEIR CLIENTS.
The last step in this part of the Homebuyer’s Road Map is to pre-qualify for a home loan.
While you can talk about this process, your best bet is to interview some mortgage brokers and let the professionals handle the stuff with all the legal talk.
Now while your target market knows what they’re looking for, the process of finding it is never easy. This is where, as a home inspector, sharing posts of listings from real estate agents will help keep you front of mind for people in this step.
And the next two steps, making an offer and negotiating terms are smaller steps but making sure they are prepared for what that entails is important.
The last step is the Purchase Agreement.
All of these are great subjects to interview realtors about and use for content to educate the market.
Another great source of content is to interview someone from a Title & Escrow Company for the next part of the roadmap…
This is where your clients will
Choose a Title & Escrow Company
Deposit Earnest Money
Sellers Transfer Disclosure
And the Title Search Preliminary Report
The loan process is the next part of the homebuyer’s roadmap.
*This is a big step for home inspectors because, for the most part, this is when you do your job.
Of course, an interview with a mortgage broker to discuss how to find a good broker and walking your target market through the initial steps of the loan process is very helpful.
The next thing is a land survey. While not as important for safety reasons, surveyors have their own level of importance. So I’d recommend partnering with a reputable land surveyor for an interview and potentially exchanging & engaging with each-others content.
Then we have the Pre-Purchase Inspection & there isn’t anything you shouldn’t share on the process. Educate your potential clients on everything that you can. No, it won’t be overnight but you can easily do at least one blog post per week.
Then we have the appraisal which is similar to the survey. Removing the contingencies and the actual loan approval.
The next part of the homebuyers roadmap is normally looked at as the last part… Closing!
This is when your target market will deposit the balance of the down payment, sign the closing & loan papers. This is also when the loan is funded, the documents are recorded, and the escrow is closed.
I’d highly recommend trying to stay in touch with the clients and the agent. When you hear the “Closing Date” put a reminder in your phone and don’t forget to check-in and congratulate them that afternoon or evening.
After they close on the deal, it’s time to make their house a home.
Making It Home
It’s bigger than just decorating
It’s moving in, Home Owners Insurance, making the home energy efficient, upgrades, security systems, and more.
This is where you can over-deliver & create brand ambassadors
It also helps you create a bigger reach outside of just the home. Share information about the local attractions, restaurants, and anything else that could help them be happy, safe & ultimately make their new house a home.
The next and final step is selling the property.
Selling The Property
Of course, the processes change here and there but for home inspectors, you need to educate the market on the importance of a pre-listing inspection.
From here, your “Target Market” client will rotate through the homebuyer’s roadmap until they land on their forever home.
That completes the Client Compass or Homebuyer’s Roadmap but that still leaves us with the last 10% & this is important because it is where we actually define your target market.
But before we get into defining your target market, even more, I wanted to share with you the AirTable layout of the Homebuyer’s Roadmap.
This is drilling down our target market to being an actual person in your mind. But before we go naming our new imaginary friend, we need to fully understand what a target market is and what are the things to look at when defining your target market.
What Is A Target Market?
A Target Market is a particular group of consumers at which a product or service is aimed.
There are 3 main things that define your target market
That’s Demographics, Psychographics, and Geographics. The last one is an actual thing … if it’s not then it is now!
Jumping into the Demographics of your target market – this is their age, race, gender, education level, employment, income, etc. The reason why we want to try and break this stuff down will be clear in a bit, just hang in there
The next thing is the Psychographics and this is their personality, their beliefs, values, lifestyle, etc.
The final part to your target market is Geographics which is where they work, where they’re looking to buy a house Like a specific neighborhood, where do they network in person and/or online.
“Everyone” is not your target market but you know that already.
So let’s start with the questions and start to narrow down our target market.
17 Questions To Help You Define Your Target Market
How old is your client?
Are they married?
What interests do they have?
What neighborhood do they want to move into?
What kind of job do they have?
How much money do they make?
Do they have kids?
If so, how many & how old are they?
Are they religious?
What kind of music do they like?
What other brands do they follow?
What hours are they online?
What do they wear?
What are their hobbies?
Do they work out?
Do they follow sports?
If so, what’s their favorite team & favorite player?
While this may seem like a stretch but some of this can help you move from a potential client to your business having a Brand Ambassador, basically someone who won’t stop talking about the importance of hiring YOU to do their home inspection.
It also helps you relate to your target market in the content you put out.
Why Naming Your Target Market Is Important
Now is time to name your target market. But you’re not naming a group, you’re taking the answers and creating a person. Yes, like a said before, you are creating an imaginary friend. & while I say that tongue in cheek I’m kind of serious. Once you create this person, the content you put out is directed to him or her.
I first went through this concept of “Naming Your Target Market” with an old training from Frank Kern. He’s an amazing marketer and released this training called “Core Influence” I believe originally it was a bonus for his $3000 marketing course Mass Control. & honestly, it was my favorite part of the entire training.
He named his person “Bob”
He described him like this…
Bob is an accountant, who is 38 years old. He is married with two kids in high school that drive him crazy. He makes $50-60,000 per year and wears polo shirts with khakis & penny loafers.
He had told the story of creating “Bob” at a few different marketing conferences. Then at one of the conferences, Bob introduced himself to Frank after he got off stage.
Frank says he walked up with a smile on his face, wearing a polo shirt, khakis, and penny loafers. He said, “Hi I’m Bob and you nailed me on the head. I’m an accountant. I turn 38 next week. I’m married and have two kids in high school. The only thing you got wrong is my kids don’t drive me crazy.”
While he went semi-specific, the deeper into the details you can go with this and it actually fits more than a handful of people, the better.
When you get to the point of putting out content and trying to help your target market, it’s easier to understand the best way to help them when you literally say to yourself …
“Bob, I understand your problem, and here’s a solution.” Obviously, addressing your own target market.
You know what they want & what their problems are. And now that you know who they are you can start blending that content together.
Defining your target market is the last part of the “Getting Started” phase of the journey when building & branding a successful home inspection business. We have covered the importance of knowing your exits & branding. Be sure to check back as we continue this journey.
I hope this has helped you. If you have any questions you can feel free to send me a DM on Instagram @inspectorbranding or you can comment below.
We’ll see you at the top!
Be Great & Stay Boosted!