Marketing infrared to residential realtors

Hello Gentleman,

I would appreciate any advice in marketing IR to Residential Realtors.

I’m concerned that the possible benifits of IR may alarm most realtors.

I have done a presentation once for an office about this subject. You have to teach them it helps them as well. Most don’t understand and once they realize it is just another tool to diangnose a problem then they are OK.

I tried marketing to realtors, but seemed to hit a brick wall. Bottom line, it can be a deal breaker, which they are afraid of. I found marketing to the customer a much better way to go about it. I found that once the buyers agent seen it in use for the customer, they loved it.

Don’t market to Realtors, they are not your market. Market to home buyers.

It’s worked for me.

When your wife asks you if her new jeans make her “butt look big” … she does not want to hear that they do.

A photographic image that helps her to see exactly “how big” the new jeans make her butt look will not instill a whole lot of enthusiasm

When she asks the question … she is not expecting an affirmative answer.

Think about this as you offer a service that is designed to help the used house salesman show the potential buyer hidden defects with the house that, if it doesn’t close, will not pay them a dime for all of the work they have invested in it. As you do, understand that she may “always recommend home inspections” but not necessarily for the purpose of “making her butt look big”.

Remember that a used house salesman does NOT recommend a home inspection so that the client can decide to walk away from the deal.

Instead, most salesmen recommend home inspections so that when flaws are missed, the buyer will be inclined to blame the inspector for missing them instead of blaming the seller and agent(s) for failing to disclose them.

Perfectly stated Jim! BTW, I’ve been with my wife for 27 years and whenever she asks, I tell her “your butt is flawless baby”.

You are a very smart man, John.:wink:

Not really, just basic survival skills. lol :smiley:

There is life after Realtors. It is a whole new world to enjoy.

I don’t market to Realtors I have build a business around my IR one just simply finds problems like this and place the images in your report and the clients will seek you out

Charley and Jay those are awesome pictures. But how does a Homeowner know to seek Thermal Infrared when they have no idea it exists?

I guess that would be a reason to market to Realtors. They are the first to get the cleint and lead them along the path of homeonwership. I know they should not be lead, but in my area it is a fact.

95% percent of people in my area pick out a house hangle on price a bit and then do NOTHING until its time to sign the papers.

The Realtors get insurance quotes, inspectors, contractors, survey, mortgage if needed (around 79% of houses in my area are cash deals). It’s is more of a Realtor Consierge service. Totally different then most areas. Remember people buy multi million dollar homes are and spend about 4 months here and the rest elsewhere.

So I guess, it’s getting thermal infrared and it capabilities to the public knowledge that is needed. I do know Dale Duffy has an awesome organization for this and has some of the Nations best Thermographers. Maybe they can help.

Some realors refer their clients to me because of my infrared services. Most of the profitable infrared inspections are those that you do for condo associations and property management companies that manage these buiuldings. Moisture intrusion and duct leakage are just a few issues that affect these buildings. They don’t blink at $150/hr. price quotes.

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Now your asking “trade secretes”! :wink:

That is what IR marketing is all about.
You can not buy an IR camera and think the phone will start ringing (like many do).

You must “Show and Tell”.
The more work you do, the more work you get.

The word is getting around, but they still don’t know what it can do, (till they call).

  1. You can not sell anyone anything unless they perceive the worth vs. their investment.

  2. You must sell “YOU” Not the camera.
    “Camera Ownership” does not get you jobs. You must be trained and “qualified” to use the technology (not just the camera). You make the camera work, not the other way around.

Would these potential Clients call you because of your abilities to solve problems without the camera? If not, the camera won’t help. If you can’t market yourself, you can’t market IR.

  1. Just because you know about IR and how clients could benefit from your services, does not mean that they will see it that way.

I see so much marketing directed at clients that fail because they really have no need for your services.

ie. Marketing to a Realtor…
Your trying to show them how much you can find with this thing and they just don’t always want to know all that stuff. Such as energy efficiency in a home purchase (no need for this information as far as I am concerned. This is follow-up work). There is nothing in the SOP that says you must inspect the energy efficiency of a home you inspect. A displaced piece of insulation is not going to the top of anyone’s list down at the Realtor’s office! When they ask about a ceiling leak, you can #1; pull out your moisture meter (most effective test) or you can #2; image it with your camera (you can not “document” the extent of a leak with a moisture meter but you can with IR). This is your introduction opportunity…

You will get nowhere hauling your camera down to the RE Office and show them how many ways you can screw up the deal for them. But when they have a question and you provide a documented answer in the report, the word will get around.

Unfortunately, very few of you will go anywhere with this because it is quite apparent that all too many want huge returns with as little investment in equipment and training as they think they can get away with.

It takes time for the word to get around (signs on the bus will not cut it). Most don’t have the time because their camera payment is due.

There is very little supply and demand for this service because of Jay’s observations, and there are more than enough qualified thermographers in the word to handle the demand. So it is imperative that you get up to speed with marketing “you” and get the “real training” you need to get the jobs.

Now just tell me how do you know old Dale Duffy has the best Thermographers. Have you ever met him some say he is quite the guy or at least I have heard that in some corners.

I never write a report that does not have at least two IR images inserted. Notice I said images not pictures. Every report at least two Realtors see that report + whom ever else the client wants to see the report. Clients don’t remember my name but I guarantee they remember me as the guy with those thermal picture thingys and tell their friends

How do I know? Yes, I have actually talked to Dale on the phone. I also have been to his website and look at all the people there and the ones who answer the questions here and well look at how many level III thermographers like yourself there are.

As far as the standards of house purchasing in my area. I don’t make them, they are just what they are.

Go to his website and look, its thermographers helping thermographers, quite impressive really.

I also use thermography images in my report and it is a piece of the puzzle that puts the whole service together. I am working on more ways to improve my service and continue to do it daily.

I am presently reading the book its “The big that eat the small its the fast that eat the slow”. Pretty good book.

I was just jerking your chain a lot of good guys hang out over there and always willing to help each other

I greatly appreciate the advice I’m getting from all of you. Please keep it coming.

My area is very much like Hensel’s, Dominated by foreclosures. Most of my client’s are part time residents…In fact, some clients see the house for the first time at the final walk thru! Everything is handled by their realtors. CRAZY.

The advice is going to be very helpful…I have already altered many of my marketing plans based upon your advice and experiences.

Keep it coming!

I’ve had some success with real estate presentations but luckily I was taught by a successful IR inspector who’s wife was also an agent.

Try an contact a brokerage where you’ve already worked with a couple of the agents or been referred more than once by one of the agents. You gotta be prepared to buy the office biscuits and coffee and talk fast because you start to lose them after 3-4 mins.

If you present your camera as a defect recognition tool than you’ve wasted your time. Had I attempted my first presentation with no coaching than it would have gone something like this:

Hey everybody, look at this bad-*** camera. It can find tons of problems and defects that your normal inspector wouldn’t find. Let me show you 5 minutes worth of pictures showing you hidden defects that would have only been found by my bad-*** camera. You should refer me because you don’t want your client to move in and have any surprises and you want your client to have the best inspection available. Oh and don’t forget the bonus, if you refer me, you lower your liability and chances of being sued.

Such a presentation will almost guarantee you never hear from one single agent and you may even lose the agent you had.

  • Give a presentation that focuses on what the camera can do in terms of building buyer confidence and how it can help them sale real estate. They don’t care about what the camera can do for their client, they care about what it can do for them.

  • Tell them you are honest and want their client to become aware of any problems but that you also realize and respect their hard work. Explain to them how you give information in an non-alarming fashion an don’t cause UN-necessary fears.

  • Let them know you bought the camera to remove fears vs. being able to find additional defects which may cause additional fears.

** - Don’t push the camera as a defect recognition tool with agents(that’s for the clients). **

  • Tell them about how your all in this real estate industry together, on the same team, how ultimately you like to see houses moving, etc… (all should be the truth)

  • Show them examples of all the additional things and normal things infrared can confirm that help build buyer confidence. Defects are anomalies and there’s always far more good/normal aspects infrared can confirm. Tell them how you use IR to provide them with a report showing all the information vs. the standard defect report.

  • You can show pictures of well insulated walls, water temps, HVAC register output temps, images that confirm no leaks are present, etc… You report on the whole condition of the house vs. focusing on defects only. You also show the buyer first hand the capabilities of IR which builds tons of buyer confidence(if the house isn’t falling in)

  • Give them several examples of how IR saved a deal. Ex1: The ceiling an walls looked terrible in a home due to moisture damage and water stains. The buyer was scared but IR confirmed it was all prior damage, the problem had been corrected and no moisture or moisture intrusions were detected within the home.** Problems are often not as bad as they may appear.**

-Thermal Imaging isn’t used to simply discover far more defects within a potential property. We use thermal imaging technology to give you far more knowledge on the concerns that are discovered so you know exactly what the problem is, where it’s located(via non-intrusive method), what’s causing it, etc… which help the buyer know the easiest an most cost efficent ways to prepare for any needed repairs. Most clients are dead set on homes before the inspection and we realize that. Often we are simply educating the client to enable a smoother transaction.

  • Discuss how you can often avoid mold testing by being able to detect hidden moisture/mold concerns

I could go on forever but I’m tired of typing. I’m sure you catch the idea. You simply gotta let them know you aren’t an alarmist, you know how to present things in a positive manner, your camera isn’t the big scary deal killer, and you understand the work they put into each an every sale.

Out of 10 agents, you will get 1-2 agents who give you a try. The rest is up to you.

There are some good IR brochures in http://www.nachi.org/marketing-library.htm

Agents can be slow on the uptake with IR, they generally are not going to push it until they have seen something significant discovered with it in one of their transactions.

IMO It’s best to market to the prospects who have some idea what it is or specifically want it. Make it prominent on your website and focus on value and abilities more than the gadget. Word of mouth will drive more prospects to you because you offer the service. Agents will learn by exposure from clients that engage you and the good ones will refer future prospects to you.

Make sure that you have appropriate equipment and credentials (if it’s not an industry recognized credential, it’s not a good credential). If you have sought out the cheapest equipment and training you can find, then by all means, give the service away. Otherwise, if you consider yourself a professional thermographer, charge for the service. Clients are savvy enough to know that the things that are thrown into a deal for free are typically worthless and that things of value do come at a price.

Be prepared to explain to prospects why the service is worhwhile and why they should pay you for it when others around you are giving it away. There must be a convincing argument that your product is worth what you ask.

I offer infrared thermography as an optional service in addition to the home inspection. Most of my prospects come to me seeking that service. I do charge for the service. Though there are loads of inspectors offering “free thermal scans” my clients are willing to pay me for the service. I include and bill for thermal imaging on about 80% of my home inspection business.