It’s not an easy trick to steer this ship… so many strong personalities out there. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Over the years, it has been my unwillingness to compromise my home inspection business that has been a curse and a blessing at the same time. Clients love us, and referral sources have been scared of our thoroughness and careful scrutiny. As I visit you in chapter meetings and educational seminars, I see the same determination to run your businesses firmly. After years of weighing what works and what doesn’t, and deliberating about your business, you are pretty set in your ways. Changes, especially the ones we have taken at ASHI this year, can create uneasiness in your world. Yet, we speak about the home inspection business like it hasn’t changed over the years. Frankly, very little hasn’t changed in the 21 years I’ve been doing inspections. You need only mention environmental issues, computerized reports and licensing to achieve high anxiety and loud discussion! Because of that, we raise the need for our Society to be forward-thinking and nimble. Yes, nimble, what an odd word to think of when we think of a big, lumbering, hard-to-move Society. Whether you like the word or not, it is a philosophy that marks us as being more apt to react, when necessary, to all kinds of situations beyond our control. As we are finding more and more, we must react. Being nimble might be characterized in your own reality by discovering which advertising activity makes you money and which ones are dogs. My wife won’t let me continue to waste money on projects without an obvious return. When we discover something isn’t working, we cut it loose. For that reason, we gave up on advertising in the phone book last year and concentrated on the Internet and Web this year. The results are a testament to nimble. The Internet has brought in more business, more clients and is a cleaner referral source. I admit, I had grown too comfortable with phone book ads.
Change comes hard to home inspectors. I think that has more to do with the fact that building construction and products change daily. What was good is suddenly the thrust of a class action suit and, just as quickly, that product becomes an environmental pariah. We see so much change daily that we want something to stay the same. Good old ASHI, for one. But there’s a kicker to that—people. If ASHI doesn’t take the lead by following the trends of the profession, we will lose our importance. We have grown into a pretty impressive Society over our 28 years.
We have begun a time of messaging. The request of each of you is to relate a story to your clients that will impact them with an idea. ASHI has three stories, three messages. They all imply a promise. The first is that we want the best for our Membership. In wanting this, we must position ASHI in a way that best serves the Members. Our message: ASHI inspectors provide a different type of inspection, one that is technically superior and provides great customer service. The buzz words are, “We give our clients the information they need to make good decisions; with that good information, we help them achieve peace of mind.” How? “We Speak House.”
The second message is that The ASHI Experience is what the client needs, that only we can provide it, and they will recognize the difference between an OK inspection and a great one because we will show them what a great one is.
And, finally, that we are influencing the entire profession by encouraging all inspectors to raise the bar by adopting a higher level of standards and ethical practice to better protect the consumer.
All these messages say something about the Society loudly and clearly. We provide the best inspections, we raise the bar, we know what our clients want, and we can deliver the promise(s) we have made. Please remember to tell your clients, real estate professionals and those making referrals what sets you apart from the rest. On every level ,we all must deliver and fulfill the promise.