i5- Steps to the Salei5-Steps to the Sale

Last time we focused on the core of Step-2 Inspection as part of the proven steps to closing the in-home sale naturally, without having to convince or arm-wrestle someone to do business with you.

This blog focuses on the Tools that you need to inspect to be able to offer comprehensive solutions and help the client accomplish their goals & objectives. If you aren't prepared to make a thorough inspection, chances are you'll be tempted to cut corners and miss crucial information that affects the client's concerns. If you miss thoroughly addressing their concerns, you risk losing the sale to someone who does. And, if you're not measuring, you're guessing!

Let's start with the Core Tools to accomplish a professional Step-2 Inspection:

Tool bag: Preferably the canvass style bags to store your computer, iPad, notepad, forms, simple inspection tools, etc. Tool bags are preferable to briefcases, because "technical" pro's carry tools, while "salesmen" carry briefcases. It's a simple thing that makes a subtle, but BIG, difference in the customer's mind when you're walking up to the door.

Digital Tape Measure & Tape Measure: A good (and likely expensive) digital tape makes easy work of measuring rooms, including those high ceiling heights. A digital tape is also a conversation starter, where the client might say, "Wow, that's pretty cool", reenforcing that you're a pro not a "Joe". A small 12 or 16-ft traditional tape measure can then be easily used to measure windows, openings, ducts, pipes, etc., instead of the oversized "Tool-Time" 30-footer.

Flashlight & Headlamp: Invest in a good, bright LED flashlight. I recommend a mini-style that is used in police work; it's small, it's bright, and it stands up to the abuse of climbing around houses all week long. A powerful LED headlamp is also very important, especially in tight quarters, when you're going to be crawling, climbing, or balancing, any of which make holding onto a flashlight dangerous at best. Your headlamp also gives you two hands to record information, use cameras, etc.

All-In-One Screwdriver: These days you can get at least a 6-in-one that includes regular, phillips, plus 1/4" & 5/16" nutdrivers. You need to be able to remove covers from all sorts of makes and models. The all-in-one makes it quick and easy.

Laser Pointer: This is one of the most overlooked tools that really makes a difference. If the client is tagging along, you can use it to point out issues and ask questions (see the previous blog). If the client is not along for the inspection, you can use the laser pointer to highlight something specific then snap a picture for Step-3 Inform, and be able to say, "See that red dot? That's where the leak is."

Belt Pouch: A simple, small clip-on belt pouch to hold the tools above is inportant, so that you're not fumbling around trying to hold multiple tools either on your clipboard or in all your pockets. These can be purchased from a Home Depot or Lowes for under $10. Having organized tools sends a clear message that your company is organized and professional. 

Eye Glasses and/or Magnifying Glass: Make sure you can read the tags, labels, diagrams, etc. A cheap pair of readers is essential to anyone who's like me, and can't quite see like I used to. A little pocket magnifying glass can also get you out of a tight spot on a regular basis too; mine has a little light too. Stowe them in your tool pouch, so they're always at the ready.

Charts, Graphs, Reference Tables, Forms: During the inspection, you're gathering data that you're going to need to use in order to confirm if various components are sized correctly. Ductulators, pipe sizing charts, electrical sizing charts, and the like are essential. Today, almost all of these have an "App"; yup, "There's an App for that!" Company logo graph paper is also a real difference maker in terms of professionalism. Company standards should all be mapped out on preprinted forms to ensure nothing gets left out to do a thorough, professional job; more on those areas and forms next blog!

Personal Protection Equipment: HVAC systems are often in unfriendly places, that our not easy to access. Personal protection is #1 to ensure you don't risk injury on something stupid. Crawling across joists, decking, flooring, etc is normal, so gel knee pads with velcro straps are essential; splurge for the good ones! Eye protection is key; again, splurge for the good set. Respirator, or at the very least better-than-average duct masks, to avoid breathing in who knows what is in the air. Disposable coveralls are important to protect your clothes. Multiple glove options from basic non-latex disposables to good work gloves protect your hands. One thing I love about all the PPE is that it sends two very important messages; 1- you are a professional, and 2- this is not an easy DIY task, or something to be left to Buttcrack Bubba. I keep all my PPE in a separate canvass tool bag.

There are certainly more tools that you can keep in your bag, depending on company standards and climate zone, but these are the essential basic tools to be able to make a thorough, professional inspection during Step-2.

Look for more Step-2 Inspection Crucial Areas to Inspect coming up in future blogs!


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