Looking to diversify your appraisal business? Taking on non-lender assignments like divorce and estate appraisals may be a great way to bring in different types of clients. Perhaps you already understand the details and intricacies of divorce and estate appraisals, and you’re ready to do the work. But how do you get these types of assignments? Here are some marketing tips to help you make your appraisal services more appealing to divorce and estate clients, get your name out there, and get noticed.
1. Update your resume
Sometimes the mere act of updating your resume will point out to you some of the characteristics and skills that make you marketable. Look at your resume through the eyes of a potential client. Make sure it reflects your current and correct designations, title, contact information, and memberships. Take a look at your qualifications and lead off with those.
Many appraisers just list broad qualifications to do appraisal work in general, but you want to provide your qualifications to do this specific type of work. What are some of the biggest selling points? Why should they even consider you for these types of assignments? Be sure to include specific credentials and designations, specialized education and training, and relevant work experience—including any courtroom or public speaking experience.
The bottom line: What makes you qualified for non-lending appraisal assignments? And what makes you different from your competitors? Anyone can come up with a professional resume, and nine times out of ten, they’re going to look almost the same. As part of your marketing plan, you need to make your resume “pop.” What makes you (and your appraisal services) unique and special?
Round out your resume with specialized appraisal classes. Enroll in our top-rated CE course: Divorce and Estate Appraisals: Elements of Non-Lender Work.
2. Network with other appraisers
One good way of marketing yourself is to network with other appraisers. So often, appraisers keep to themselves. Many are solo practitioners who are not part of a larger appraisal firm. As such, they may not see or communicate with other appraisers on a regular basis. However, it’s essential to develop a good referral network.
Reach out and contact other appraisers, especially those who do different types of work than you do. If you’re a residential appraiser, you might contact and provide mutual referrals for a commercial appraiser in your area. This type of informal referral relationship can also happen between you and other residential appraisers. Even though you might see them as your competition, it can be a very beneficial relationship.
If there’s something that they would like to get done but they just can’t because they’re leaving on vacation or they’re booked up, they may refer the work to you—especially if they’ve had a chance to interact with you and see samples of your work. They may be more likely to work alongside you on complex assignments that require more than one appraiser. And, most importantly, they may refer you for divorce and estate assignments if they are familiar with your appraisal services and know that’s something you can do.
3. Establish yourself as a local market expert
Marketing your appraisal services to private clients is very different than marketing your appraisal services to lenders and AMCs. If you want to cultivate these types of non-lender assignments, then you need to take action. You need to position yourself as the local market expert that future clients will contact.
To establish yourself as the valuation expert in your local market:
- Establish an online presence
- Attend local events and meetings
- Speak in front of groups (e.g., the local Bar Association, homeowners’ associations, local lender groups, mortgage broker organizations, financial planners, real estate agents)
- Write articles for local newspapers (print or online)
- Write articles for well-known blog sites
Once you’ve positioned yourself as an expert, make sure you follow it up by meeting or exceeding expectations. As you start to market yourself for more and more divorce and estate private-type work, you’re going to need to stand behind what you’ve promised. You do not promise a particular value, but you promise an expert analysis each time. Always follow through on your promise to deliver expert work on time, and always be professional.
4. Get your own website, and keep it updated
First, make sure you have your own website. If you already have a site, make sure it is up-to-date and contains information that is timely and correct. Some appraisers never update their websites, and it makes them look out of touch.
Once your site is updated, you might consider adding a blog. Many appraisers like blogging because you can set up a blog for very little money and keep it as simple as you want. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your expertise by posting industry insights, advice, and information that is useful to your target clients.
Remember: You want to designate yourself as that local market expert who is knowledgeable about trends and what is going on with the market in general.
5. Set up a mailing list
Mail letters monthly or quarterly on some sort of regular, consistent basis. You can purchase mailing lists and collect mail or email addresses from online directories. You could search for divorce appraisals and type in your city and state. You could look at phone books or online directories. You could contact the local Bar Association. You could contact local financial planners and accountants.
Mail out a letter that highlights what makes you unique and lists the appraisal services can you offer. You want to keep it very short and sweet, no more than five or six sentences. You can even include a business card or a resume, but keep the letter itself very brief and to the point. Don’t forget to tell them what you are asking for. Ask for their business and tell them what you can provide. For more promising leads, follow the letter up with a personal visit or phone call.
Don’t wait until mortgage lending work has dried up, and then all of a sudden start marketing yourself for divorce and estate work. Set up your marketing plan today, and make it a consistent process so that you have additional work coming in on an ongoing basis—during busy times and slow times. Lay out your plan in measurable terms, so that you can quantify your results, track your success, and make adjustments as needed.
Diversify your business to include non-lender assignments. Enroll in our top-rated CE course: Divorce and Estate Appraisals: Elements of Non-Lender Work.