Who knew that there were so many ways that you could make more money as an appraiser? In this series we’ve discussed managing time, upgrading certifications, utilizing human capital, managing business expenses, and moving.
In this penultimate article in our seven-article series, we’ll explore how to make more money by obtaining new clients.
Get Onto Approved Rosters
The majority of appraisers keep their schedules full by remaining in good standing with lenders and AMCs. As you prove your high-quality work ethic by submitting thorough, accurate, and timely reports, you’ll be more likely to stay on the lenders’ and AMCs’ go-to list. This effort alone keeps many appraisers busy and fills an appraiser’s schedule as full as he or she wishes. However, if you find that you’re not getting the load of work that you desire, or you don’t want to be dependent on lenders and AMCs, there are several other options for generating more customers that you can try.
Gaining referrals by positive word of mouth is a cheap, easy way to grow you business, once you get the process down.
Happy customers are one of your greatest business growers. After all, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from the people they know, 50% of word of mouth recommendations are the leading factor behind a purchasing decision, 72% of people trust online reviews as much as in-person recommendations, and 84% of B2B decision makers start their process because of a referral. Happy customers tend to talk about how happy they are to their friends, family, and co-workers and it makes a difference in your business!
It will help you if remember the importance of every, and I emphasize every, touchpoint along the way. Every interaction that your customer has with you should be as positive as possible, and if it’s not, find a way to turn it into a positive experience for your customer! Keep in mind that every appraisal that you complete should be treated with the same detail and promptness that you would use if Donnie Osmond was your client!
If you end a transaction with an unhappy customer, there’s a 91% chance that they won’t do business with you again, and that one unhappy customer will typically tell 9 to 15 other people about their bad experience! Think that you can undo that negative experience? It takes roughly 40 positive customer experiences to undo the damage of one single negative review. Clearly, it’s worth every effort you can make to keep your customer happy with the hopes that they’ll come to you again and again and pass your name on to their friends, family, and co-workers, who in turn will pass your name on to their friends, family, and co-workers, and…you get where this is leading!
If you don’t want to wait for positive word of mouth only to build your business, you can always ask for referrals. This in and of itself could be an entire blog post, so I’ll keep it simple.
If you have a happy customer, hand them some business cards and ask them for referrals! Call your happy customer a day or two after you’ve finished your transaction with them and ask them for a referral or two or send them a friendly email in which you thank them for their business and ask for referrals. If you want to make it really easy, include an email template that your happy customer can fill out and send to their friends and family, filled with praises and recommendations for you!
Not so hard, right?
Everyone who has any level of success knows that networking is an integral part of that success. Knowing that we need to provide superior touchpoints for not only our customers, but for our co-workers and acquaintances as well, influences our minute-to-minute actions as we interact in-person, on the phone, and online.
Why should you put that extra effort in to network? According to Bianca Miller Cole, writing for Forbes, networking is important for several reasons:
- Makes you noticeable
- An avenue for newer opportunities
- Helps you reassess your qualification
- Improves your creative intellect
- An extra resource library
- Support from high profile individuals
- Growth in status
- Growth in self-confidence
- Develop long-lasting relationships
And let’s add: networking helps you get referrals from other professionals such as RE agents, divorce attorneys, and estate attorneys. As you scratch each others’ backs, everyone’s business will grow, including yours!
Some of you may have dabbled in online advertising. This kind of advertising has two options, paid and organic (i.e., free!). This is yet another subject that is robust enough to fill another blog post, but let’s touch briefly on it.
If you’re interested in trying paid ads on any of the social medias, there are plenty of self-help articles that will help you get started. Every platform differs, so delving into the instructions for each specific platform that you want to advertise on is the way to go (I recommend starting with one platform, getting it down, then adding another).
If you’re interested in advertising for free through your social channels, here are some tips to get you started:
- Post consistently (use a social media planning calendar)
- Use a social media scheduler such as Hootsuite or Meet Edgar
- Do a quick search to see what the best times to post are (it depends on the channel)
- Start a blog and announce your posts on social media
- Promptly respond to any comments and questions
- Invite current friends and customer to like and follow your social media pages
- Track your analytics so you can improve your posts
- Share funny, interesting, and scary stories from your workday
If you’d like more details, see our blog post, “Advertise Locally for Free with Facebook,.”
By advertising on social media, you’ll gradually expand your client base. This method doesn’t have to take that much time, a few interesting posts a week might be all you need to do the trick!
Do You Ever Let Clients Go?
Wait, what? Why would anyone let clients go? Well, in rare instances, it might actually be the right thing to do.
You might remember that Rick Lifferth, founder and CEO of DataMaster, had to make a choice between raising his rates and losing customers (see our blog post, “How to Make More Money as an Appraiser: Manage Business Expenses,”). When new requirements from Fannie and Freddie increased the length of time that it took to complete appraisals, Rick had to choose “which broke [he] would rather be,” i.e. going broke from not earning enough to cover his expenses, or going broke from possibly losing customers who would be unhappy with his rate increases.
Rick raised his rates, and in the process lost some customers, but in the long run he was just fine. The risk paid off and he was able to keep his appraisal business and grow it into the company that we know today!
Other situations might necessitate your intentional firing of a customer. Yes, you read that right. That might go against everything you’ve ever been told about customer service, but please hear me out.
It really boils down to this: if a customer is repeatedly or excessively rude; doesn’t pay you; or makes unreasonable, illegal, or unfair demands, then the best thing might be to let the customer go. You do have the power to fire customers. If you want to get a little more detail and some personal experiences on this subject, check out our blog post, “Is the Customer Always Right?”
Give these tips a try and watch your business grow! It might take some time, but your efforts will be well worth it!
Interested in more tips on how to make more money as an appraiser? We share many more tips in the other articles in this series! (Be sure to watch for the final article next week!) Here they are for easy reference: