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Thread: Make it fun

  1. #1
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    Default Make it fun

    An agent spoke with me about my personal presentation during the inspection process with my clients. She thought my personality was a little dry and could use more humor to easy the tension. She thought that by including an attractive fun personality it could attract more business. I agreed with her and thought it would be a good idea and a fun thing to do, to present this question:

    What techniques, approaches and bag of tricks do you use to easy your clientís fear and tension to make the inspection process creative and fun?

    There must be some great jokes out there that are timeless. Most times you meet your clients one time, so you could use these same jokes, tricks and techniques over and over.

    Thanks and letís have some fun!

    Chip Roberson

    Mission Home & Pest Inspections LLC
    missioninspect.com | 509-860-1388
    missioninspect@flymail.net

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Roberson View Post
    An agent spoke with me about my personal presentation during the inspection process with my clients. She thought my personality was a little dry and could use more humor to easy the tension. She thought that by including an attractive fun personality it could attract more business. I agreed with her and thought it would be a good idea and a fun thing to do, to present this question:

    What techniques, approaches and bag of tricks do you use to easy your clientís fear and tension to make the inspection process creative and fun?

    There must be some great jokes out there that are timeless. Most times you meet your clients one time, so you could use these same jokes, tricks and techniques over and over.

    Thanks and letís have some fun!

    Chip Roberson

    Mission Home & Pest Inspections LLC
    missioninspect.com | 509-860-1388
    missioninspect@flymail.net
    I really don't do anything extra. I'm a pretty lighthearted guy, I'm soft spoken and generally a nice person. I'm not gruff or antagonistic when I speak to my clients of their agents.

    My goal during an inspection is to complete what I have been hired to do. If I impart a little humor to relax my clients it is not intentional, but it has happened. In the 14+ years that I have been doing this I have never really had to do anything, other than just being myself.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Similar to what Scott said.

    Tell it like it is, and to get them to understand you, you "clarify what you are saying" in various ways.

    Some of my various ways to "clarify what I was saying" and which were both humorous and reality checking were:

    Remove the roof cover, the roof structure - which of course means all the a/c duct, wiring, plumbing, insulation, etc., ... until you see the blue sky above ...

    While you have the roof off and are seeing the blue sky above, now is the time to repair the cracking walls, and, while repairing them it would be a good time to repair the foundation by removing the walls for easier access to the foundation ...

    Agent: YOU ARE STILL HERE? I've never seen an inspection take this long, I know an inspector who would have been done in less than an hour.
    Me: (off handedly asking) How long did it take to sell this house?
    Agent: 9 months why?
    Me: Ok ... just wondering, 'cause I KNOW AN AGENT WHO COULD HAVE SOLD IT IN A WEEK ... (client start chuckling and laughing at their own agent)

    Client: Can I talk to you over here in private?
    Me: Can't I'm holding this wall up so it does not fall down ... (smile) ... (slowly release pressure against wall and carefully watch wall as I go over to where the client is) ... Okay, but let's back away a little further if you don't mind ...

    The list of humorous ways to respond is as endless as the list of items to respond to.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    I'm a pretty lighthearted guy, I'm soft spoken and generally a nice person. I'm not gruff or antagonistic when I speak to my clients of their agents.
    Scott: Eagle scout too?


  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    I am always serious with my findings in an inspection but I am constantly adding a little humor, sometimes jovial sarcasm.

    Today the Realtor called as I was going over some items in the home. First the client was talking to the Realtor then the client put me on. The first words out of my mouth were "what the heck are you trying to sell my client a dump like this????" (it was a beautiful home and well maintained with a few minor roof framing issues and pool safety issues). There was silence on the phone and I obviously put everything in check with my jovial sarcasm. After the silence (he broke it) I laughed and then said "what can I do for you?" He laughed, the client laughed. All was good. We had a decent conversation from there.

    Unlike on here I am not a sour puss around my clients or anyone else for that matter. Life is to short to be to serious all the time. When one talks to their client or the Realtor involved just be yourself and lighten up a bit.

    You do not have to sound so darn serious and possibly the doom and gloom guy. This guy was an x Air Force Pilot for about 23 years, Now retired. I can more than likely tell you of everyone in his family and what he and his wife do now and where his kids go to school etc etc etc. Conversation. Get to know the clients. They may be a wonderful referral resource or who knows, maybe a friend. He was Italian. We talked about going to the grand parents and the big chicken in the pot cooking down to make soup and add the chicken to the sauce for the spaghetti. The smell of food cooking could be smelled as you are driving up to the house. The uncles all sitting around the table playing cards and drinking Chianti and smoking these big ole cigars.

    There is absolutely no reason what so ever that you cannot and your client and even the Realtor have a pleasant experience in a home inspection. Oh yeah. The pool safety about kids drowning and such, then on to what his wife does for a living.

    Chill out. Have fun. Enjoy

    You will absolutely be dead before you know it

    Live life. Love life.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    I just jab the broker with my Broker Prod and that usually gets everyone laughing. The broker gets pissed off and limps away which also makes for an enjoyable inspection. It's the little things you can do that really mean alot to your clients


  7. #7
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    I just jab the broker with my Broker Prod and that usually gets everyone laughing. The broker gets pissed off and limps away which also makes for an enjoyable inspection. It's the little things you can do that really mean alot to your clients
    Wayne: Great visual!


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Scott: Eagle scout too?
    Eagle Class of 1974

    A Scout is Trustworthy.
    A Scout is Loyal.
    A Scout is Helpful.
    A Scout is Friendly.
    A Scout is Courteous.
    A Scout is Kind.
    A Scout is Obedient.
    A Scout is Cheerful.
    A Scout is Thrifty.
    A Scout is Brave.
    A Scout is Clean.
    A Scout is Reverent.


    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Focus on the client and be yourself. Just because one person will see you as one thing, it doesn't apply to all persons perceptions.

    Once again, be yourself and it will come easy.


  10. #10
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Eagle Class of 1974

    A Scout is Trustworthy.
    A Scout is Loyal.
    A Scout is Helpful.
    A Scout is Friendly.
    A Scout is Courteous.
    A Scout is Kind.
    A Scout is Obedient.
    A Scout is Cheerful.
    A Scout is Thrifty.
    A Scout is Brave.
    A Scout is Clean.
    A Scout is Reverent.
    Scott: I got them all. Execeptions: Nos. 4-5-6-7-8, and 12. But, I am working on them.


  11. #11
    Richard Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Roberson View Post
    ... She thought my personality was a little dry and could use more humor to easy the tension. She thought that by including an attractive fun personality it could attract more business.
    ...
    Can't say I've ever had a problem with that. It might be the way I dress or the work vehicle(?).

    BTW Chip, your home page is eerily similar to mine. Actually word for word in parts. Did you pay someone to come up with that or...ummm...borrow it yourself?

    Actually, I don't mind...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I'm flattered!!!!

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    Last edited by Richard Moore; 05-14-2009 at 04:04 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Now we have to be entertaing too? Its getting tougher everyday.

    rick


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    A.D. Now visualize this. 3 wood with the head cut off and a spade bit glued into the end. Best tool I have ever found for probing decay and termites as well as prodding FA'd brokers


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    I just jab the broker with my Broker Prod and that usually gets everyone laughing. The broker gets pissed off and limps away which also makes for an enjoyable inspection. It's the little things you can do that really mean alot to your clients
    I shoot them with a stun gun as they are getting out of their car. By the time they regain their senses, I'm done and long gone!!!

    The client and I are now good friends, we now spend time at the local fireing range!!


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post

    I just jab the broker with my Broker Prod
    .
    .....
    .

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    A.D. Now visualize this. 3 wood with the head cut off and a spade bit glued into the end. Best tool I have ever found for probing decay and termites as well as prodding FA'd brokers
    I took a hoe handle and a weed puller, epoxied the weed puller into the probe end of the hoe handle and slipped a rubber leg foot bumper on the other end. The handle was 5 feet to start with, so the entire thing is about 5-1/2 feet long.

    Used to make several at a time as I had a habit of leaving them behind. BUT ... I still have my last one.

    Works well for protection against dogs too - had one swallow the bumper end one day ... good thing it did not swallow the other end, instead of running off yelping it would have died right there.

    Never tried one an an agent, but I suspect it'd work fine for them too.

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    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 05-15-2009 at 08:34 AM. Reason: Aaron pointed out that I typed "week" instead of "weed", that has now been corrected ... that dang speelin' thing again
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    The basic concept of How to Win Friends and Influence People is that the other person thinks they are the most important person in their own life. And guess, what they are the most important person in their own life.

    So how do you win friends and influence people? You ask the other person about themselves. It does not matter if you like them or not, you just ask them leading questions and let them talk. Occasionally you add in an Oh Yeah, or That's interesting, tell me more. They will happily regal you with stories about every little mundane thing in their entire life. They think you are their friend because you cared. How do they know you care? You asked about the most important person, themselves.

    Buyers are always moving from someplace. So, why are you moving to the area? How did you pick this area from all the possible locations in the entire world? Ask about their kids or job. They will give you enough information to ask more leading questions.

    Todays client is moving from the west coast to the east coast to start her PHD in musicology. What the heck is musicology? Once you get a PHD in musicology, what do you do with a PHD in musicology. How long does it take to get a PHD in musicology. Now I know she needs a home office. When we get to the obvious room for the home office, we can chat about how it has features that make it a good place to work on her PHD. I showed I listened by relating her stories to her new home.

    You don't have to quiz them endlessly. You will be describing various findings about the house and during lulls, you just throw them a leading question. When you get to the bedrooms and you are checking outlets and windows with nothing much to find, ask the leading question. By the end of the inspection, you are their new best buddy.

    I often tell my clients the story I heard while I was taking CE classes about the inspector who was on the second floor checking bedrooms. Open door, close door, lock knob, close door, open door. Buyer and agent were in the kitchen gabbing and he is making serious headway in the inspection. Locks door and closes door. Turns knob to open door. Nothing happens. The door knob was installed back wards and he has locked himself INSIDE the room. What to do? He could call the agent on his cell. He could stomp on the ceiling and hope they come running. He chose to sit down and wait. He figures they will eventually get tired and come looking. Sure enough, after a few he can hear them coming up the stairs. He pulls out his outlet tester and plugs it in. He calls out, In Here. The unwitting duo opens the door to see the inspector busy at work testing outlets. He walks through the now open door and continues on the inspection as if nothing happened.

    I usually tell this story as we are checking the bedroom doors. After that, they start looking at the doorknobs as we enter every room. Sometimes I tell the story while everyone is inside the bedroom, lock the door and close it with a flourish. Other times, I tell it while they stand in the hallway and I close the bedroom door in their face. It passes the time. It brings up the point that I regularly attend additional training for my profession. It helps them see that I interact with other inspectors in my area and am not just a lone wolf shooting from the hip. But mostly it fills the gaps when they get tired of talking.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    I follow what Bruce is talking about. I ask them about their lives, where they lived before, what they liked about it, what they like about this place, etc. To be interesting, be interested. It helps me pass the time, and I've met some amazingly cool people over the years. I've got a few basic one liners, but nothing great. Most clients will not know if you did a great job on their home inspection, but they will know if they had a pleasant experience in the 3 - 4 hours they spent with you.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    I agree with most here..... just try to feel out each buyer and connect with them on some level. Getting them talking is always good. I find it's easier to really find out what they expect from the house if you can get an idea of where they're coming from.

    A few good stories go a long ways. Just this week I've told several people the funny story that went around the board about a week ago about an inspector throwing an extra cat into the house . People love that stuff.

    I often find it funny whenever an agent warns me that a buyer is really 'difficult' - I usually get along with them better than other buyers. Hmmm, maybe I'm 'difficult' too


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Roberson View Post
    An agent spoke with me about my personal presentation during the inspection process with my clients. She thought my personality was a little dry and could use more humor to easy the tension. She thought that by including an attractive fun personality it could attract more business. missioninspect.com | 509-860-1388
    missioninspect@flymail.net
    Chris, did you tell her there is an extra charge for personality and humor?


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Jeez Jerry, You must have looked like AHAB out to harpoon the Great White Whale walking up to the inspection with that thing in your hand.
    They mostly just ask me if I am going golfing.
    I say " no this is a broker prod, but it does remind me of where I'd rather be"
    I get the clubs at goodwill for 3 bucks and the spade bits from my pile of retired tools.


  22. #22
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Moore View Post
    Can't say I've ever had a problem with that. It might be the way I dress or the work vehicle(?).

    BTW Chip, your home page is eerily similar to mine. Actually word for word in parts. Did you pay someone to come up with that or...ummm...borrow it yourself?

    Actually, I don't mind...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I'm flattered!!!!
    Richard: What a photo!


  23. #23
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    Jeez Jerry, You must have looked like AHAB out to harpoon the Great White Whale walking up to the inspection with that thing in your hand.
    They mostly just ask me if I am going golfing.
    I say " no this is a broker prod, but it does remind me of where I'd rather be"
    I get the clubs at goodwill for 3 bucks and the spade bits from my pile of retired tools.
    Wayne: If you look closely at JP's post (as he always insists that we do), you will find this statement:

    I took a hoe handle and a week puller
    Now, I have done my share of gardening, and know for certain, that there is no such thing as a "week puller" in my shed of tools. That particular instrument is used for stretching time. It is usually only wielded by, dare I say the name, a certain kind of warrior. Carlos Castaneda spoke of them. Does Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi ring a bell?

    I sometimes wonder if he does not also possess a truth puller as well.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Wayne: If you look closely at JP's post (as he always insists that we do), you will find this statement:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I took a hoe handle and a week puller
    Aaron, that has now been corrected to:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I took a hoe handle and a weed puller
    Thank you for pointing that out.

    I do have a board stretcher too.
    Oh, wait, or is that a stretcher on a board? No, wait, maybe it is a ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  25. #25

    Default Re: Make it fun

    My "style" has always been light and never serious or grave unless, of course, it is something to be pretty serious about. You need to learn to "read' people, observe their demeanor and actions. I do not vary my style much other than to tone it down a bit if they are obviously a tight ass. I won't allow an agent to put any BS on the line like blowing off something and trying to make less of a significant finding. Typically they remark that, "that is covered by the home warranty". I will quickly lay that to rest with some enlightenment about how a home warranty company works and that they will often try to deny any claim with some BS excuse. Also that "pre-existing conditions" are not covered.
    I have had the rare complaint that I'm "too flip" and should be more serious. My clients rarely complain, it is usually the listing agent because I tore the house up. Excuse me, the house committed suicide!

    Overall, it has been pointed out that Inspectors that are jerks get sued more often than one that has been friendly and helpful. One does not sue a "friend" usually.
    A jerk will pull it in whether justified or not. Too easy to become the target.

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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Hi, All &

    I have this 'line' I often use when going up my ladder /entering an attic hatch (ceiling), with 1st-time buyers or those who are moving from a residence which has no attic access:

    "You really never know what you'll find in an attic - could be bats, bugs, beasts, birds-of-prey, critters, weapons, etc. (watching their face whitening and jaw dropping) and if I happen to find a bag-of-loot, only the 2 of us will know about it, OK ? But if I find some poor left-behind contractor (boots sticking up, out of the insulation), neither of us saw a thing, CORRECT ?"

    You should see the range of reactions I get ! Fabulous 'entertainment' & we're ofter both laughing out loud (not ever intended to ridicule /belittle the Client as to their lack of knowledge).

    Keep it light & friendly & they'll remember you fondly for years to come !


    CHEERS...

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI 'License #47730

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    I usually will tell them I start on the roof, that way if I fall off I'm done for the day-no sense in getting half way through and then falling off. I tell them don't try to catch me as every bounce is another day off.
    That lightens it up.

    If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest
    Benjamin Franklin

  28. #28
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Overall, it has been pointed out that Inspectors that are jerks get sued more often than one that has been friendly and helpful. One does not sue a "friend" usually.
    DB: Though this sounds good, it might just be the recirculation of empty profundities. We get sued, in my experience, because we are in a profession that was designed solely to deflect suits away from the members of organizations that are larger and have more money than do we.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Make it fun

    Well, I don't know about week pullers or truth pullers but I've sure seen my share of truth stretchers here and there!

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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