When it comes to your appraisal business, there are a number of things you can do to make yourself stand out. Although they probably won’t work overnight, they can help you establish a culture of grown and to home in on what’s important to you. I’d encourage you to experiment where you feel comfortable and find out what works for you. Here is a list of 6 ways to Grow your Appraisal Business:
- Use the Internet – we are lucky to have a tool that connects us to other people. One key to running a successful appraisal business is to have a presence on the Internet. If you don’t have a website, it’s time to build one. Make sure potential customers have a place to contact your appraisal business on your website. Make sure to describe your services so customers know exactly what to expect. Another way to grow your appraisal business online is to start a blog. I know what you’re thinking: I don’t have any ideas to write about and even if I did, I don’t have time to sit down and write. I understand, but blogging doesn’t need to be onerous. You can write short posts about the trends you’re seeing in the real estate market and about things homeowners can do to raise the value of their properties. Need more proof that blogging is useful, check out this graph from Internet-marketing company ___ on how many more leads companies get from blogging and not-blogging. The time you take to write your blog can increase the number of customers that find you, and they’re more likely to share what they know about your company if they’ve read and trusted your work. One last thing before moving on – if your appraisal business doesn’t have its own URL and email address, create one now. It’s better for business if your customers send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org than email@example.com.
- Keep Track of EVERYTHING! – There are probably some things you don’t like to do while you’re working. That’s not really a problem, it’s human nature. Some of us are better at detail work than others or doing paperwork or any number of things. When I say Keep Track of Everything, what I mean is to keep data on everything and make decisions based on data. I know that you don’t have time to sit down and write out your expenses and/or processes all the time, but your appraisal business needs to be run using the most efficient methods. Create a schedule where you take a few minutes to go over your processes, especially your business processes. This is one way to strengthen your appraisal business and stay consistent. And that will please the regulators.
- Hit the Pavement – as the business owner, you’re in a unique position to grow your appraisal business because it’s your livelihood. If you’re not willing to put yourself out there to potential clients, you can’t expect your assistant to do it, either. Join the local chamber of commerce or business group (or organize a meeting, if your area doesn’t have a group that meets regularly) or simply visit the businesses in your area. If you work from home, get in touch with businesses where you appraise and find out their needs. Once you become a resource for them, your appraisal business will begin to grow. Before you start hitting the pavement work on your elevator pitch. Make sure that you know how to differentiate yourself from other appraisers and that you can state it in 30 seconds or less.
- Increase your Knowledge – as we talked about in the previous blog post, you need to sharpen your ax by gaining the knowledge and skills you need to be successful. If you don’t know how to market your business, you can search for small business marketing tips online. Find interesting courses to enrich your business outside of the continuing education courses you have to take. One valuable source of knowledge is your peers and the people you interact with. Which brings us to the next topic…
- Seek Advice and Stay in the Jetstream – you already know other appraisers, underwriters, inspectors, etc. Think about who you already know – who could you grab a cup of coffee with and pick their brain on things happening in the industry or ways you can increase your business? Think about people you’ve heard of but haven’t met. Is there anyone you could reach out to for advice? Then stay in their jetstream. If you’re lucky enough to snag a mentor you can trust, make frequent contact with him or her. Most successful people leave a trail of success in their wake – if you can position yourself correctly – you can stay in the jetstream and make everything a little easier for yourself. Just make sure to be grateful. Don’t take advantage of people or expect them to create value for you if you’re not willing to put forth the effort. It may seem intimidating to get out there and find a mentor and it’s not something to be taken lightly. What if the person you reach out to doesn’t have the time or interest? Why would someone more experienced want to help you out? Here’s a story to illustrate why you can feel confident talking to people who may not be in your regular peer group. In the movie Bambi, there’s a scene where a young buck looks across the meadow and sees an older buck standing there with large antlers and a weathered look. The young buck says that the old buck is someone who has probably been through a lot and could teach him how to fend for himself. But he relents because he doesn’t think the old buck would want to talk to him. Meanwhile, the old buck looks across the same meadow at the young buck and says ‘There’s a young buck, I wonder what he knows about how things are changing, I bet I could learn a lot from him.” He relents as well stating that he probably doesn’t have anything that would interest the young buck. Both bucks defeated themselves by imagining what the other deer might be thinking.
- Tend to Every Aspect – this is kind of the rapid-fire section of building your appraisal business. There are a lot of ways to grow your business, there are probably some that you don’t feel have to do with an appraisal business, but thinking about them can help you become more successful. Your content – show the public what you’re doing, do you specialize
- Yourself – take time to Sharpen Your Ax
- Marketing – what methods are you using to reach out and what messages are you using?
- Tech – are you up to date with new products in the market, have you tested any of them to see if they would fit your workflow
- Legal – do you know the rules and regulations you have to follow?
- Your team – how are you helping those who you work with reach their goals? do they know they’re appreciated?
These are just a few of the ways you can work on your own appraisal business, although there are many more. What do you do to build your business? Has anything been effective for you? Let us know in the comments.