April, 2008
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Build Your Business with Smart Tips from Carson Dunlop: The Law of Six


Welcome to Smart Tips, a monthly ASHI Reporter feature written by one of North America’s most successful home inspection firms, Carson Dunlop & Associates. Each article will provide approaches to strategic business growth that have been field tested for success by some of the most experienced home inspectors in North America. Whether it’s sales and advertising strategies, tips on making your business more customer-centric or how to evaluate public relations opportunities, our goal is to stimulate your interest to work on your business rather than just in it.

The entire purpose of sales is to draw out objections and explain how you can satisfy your prospect. This seems like a daunting task because you are probably imagining many, many objections. How could you possibly deal with them all? The law of six states that for any service offering, it’s unlikely that anyone can think of more than six objections to your service. If you sit down and look at what you are offering, you will be hard pressed to come up with more than six possible objections. The trick is to figure out what the six objections are and to come up with compelling answers to them.

Let’s consider homebuyers and assume that every prospect who calls us is speaking to several home inspection companies and comparing them before making a decision. First, we must determine what the most common objections are so that we can develop concrete answers to all of them. Following is a list of common objections:

It’s too expensive.
You don’t have enough experience or qualifications.
You don’t have enough insurance.
You don’t offer any extra services.
You don’t offer any guarantees.
You are not available on short notice.
It’s too expensive.

We have inserted “It’s too expensive” twice because it’s the most common objection. You might come up with another one or two. If you do, then feel free to call it the “law of seven or eight.”

After listing the objections, come up with compelling answers to them. For example, let’s examine the most common objection with all products and services — price. Several different strategies can be used to deal with price objections.

One of the best ways to answer the “it’s too expensive” objection, regardless of the product or service, is to do the following:

Agree that it is more expensive than others (not that it’s too expensive). By agreeing, you make the prospect more comfortable.

Then ask, “May I tell you why?”

You then tell the prospect about the great value the benefits of using the product or service provides.

Another strategy in overcoming price objections is to uncover the reason the prospect believes you are expensive in the first place:

“I know price is very important to you. May I ask why you feel we are too expensive?” or “Is price your only concern?”

Once you know the reason for the objections, you can then focus on the reasons why your service satisfies his or her need.

No matter what approach you use, remember that the value of your service must exceed the price from your customer’s perspective. It won’t do you any good to be defensive about trying to justify your price. You should be proud of what you charge; in fact, most home inspectors don’t charge enough for the value of the service they provide.

Most purchases of services are not made based on price. Did you choose your doctor or dentist by price? We are not selling a commodity; we are offering a professional service that can easily be differentiated from your competitors’ services.

Other Common Objections

Here are some other common objections:

“You’re not a professional engineer or architect,” or some other preconceived idea of what a home inspector should be.

The prospect doesn’t like you (which they will not likely say to your face). Maybe you look too young or too old, or they don’t like your manner. Don’t forget, an objection could be something that the client is thinking but does not say.

You are a little company, and the prospect thinks he would be better off with a big, national company just in case there is a problem down the road.

The prospect’s agent prefers XYZ company.

Think about how would you respond to each of these objections based on your unique business.

This article is based on content from “Building Your Home Inspection Business – A guide to marketing, sales, advertising, and public relations,” authored by Carson Dunlop and published by Dearborn Home Inspection. Carson Dunlop also authors the Home Reference Book, Essentials of Home Inspection, the Illustrated Home and most recently, HORIZON, a unique Web-based reporting system.

See www.carsondunlop.com or www.dearbornhomeinspection.com for more information.