Don’t Settle: Build a stellar contacts database

Written by on March 7, 2018

Throughout this blog series, we've focused on shifting into non-lender marketing. And it seems nice, right? Higher fees, low-maintenance clients — It's music to your ears.

But you may be asking, “How do I get started if I don’t know many (or any) non-lender clients?” If this has been weighing on your shoulders, that’s okay. Your friends at a la mode are here to help you get your foot in the door and get the money you deserve. Today we'll be covering 5 easy ways to build your contacts database with private clients.

(Psst, you need a website to use some of these tactics. To read our blog on websites, click here and we'll show you how to get started.)

1. Add a contact form to your website

It's one of the best ways to reel in more leads. The information on your website is like bait for online visitors and potential clients. But when they're ready to bite, they'll need a way to contact you. It’s funny — folks browse for services on their phones, but they’re not as eager to make calls with them anymore. Putting up a contact form or lead capture on your website is like using the right lure for the right fish.

The contact form will typically collect their name, email, and phone number. But you can also customize your forms to request more information, like a company name or address.

2. Get referrals

Every email you send is like a stack of business cards in the hands of your contacts, so add a line reminding your clients to refer your services to their friends to the end of your emails (or for a simpler option, to your email signature!). You can even offer incentives, like 15% off their next appraisal if their referral places an order.

Communication is crucial (more on that in our next Don't Settle blog). Most successful appraisers keep up steady communication with their contacts. But if you don't, then it's never too late to get started. Email is a great way to do this. Especially with automated email services like our very own XSellerate.

3. Attend meetings

If you're truly ready to get your foot in the door with non-lender marketing, a good tactic is to get out there and meet them in person.

New Jersey appraiser Jim Bogris got started with private lawyer work by attending his local Chamber of Commerce meetings and giving his business card to attorneys in attendance. You could also attend your local Association of REALTORS events — they usually have event calendars on their websites. And be sure to join their groups and forums on social media. It's a great way to get involved with their conversations, and offer your services at the right moment.

And don't forget about public records like state bar associations or local accountancy boards. You can directly contact new clients through their sites.

4. Write blogs

We blogged about blogging recently. (What better way to get the message across?) Here it is. And in a nutshell, blogging is an excellent way to show your potential clients that you're an industry expert. All you have to do is write short, simple blogs about every other week or so.

A “blog” is nothing more than an online newsletter or series of anecdotes about your business and workflow. The more you do it, the more people will subscribe to your blog. You can then funnel those subscribers into your contacts database. (Google will also boost your website higher in search engines, so you'll get more web visitors too.)

5. Buy a list

We recommend trying the above options before buying a list. They're great, because contacts from referrals, subscribers, and lead capture forms are organic contacts that have given you permission to reach out to them. That said, sometimes gaining clients the old-fashioned way can be a little slow rolling.

If you absolutely can’t create a good contact list using any combination of the above methods, you may consider buying a list. Lists usually cost a couple hundred dollars, and you can find them on sites like You can even tailor your list to the type of professional you're targeting (like CPAs for instance), and your geographic region. That way, you get the best list for your money.

But keep in mind, there are a lot of rules and regulations regarding list purchases. Here's an article that goes into detail on it — it's written by a fashion expert, but applies to all industries.

Building your contacts database takes a little work. But having a website is going to make it much easier. Our XSites are a great place to get started.

You can jump right in and choose one of our pre-made templates, and select your content pages on appraiser-specific topics (like inspection tips, PMI information, appraiser jargon, info for homeowners, and much more).

Click here to learn more about XSites, and be sure to download our Appraisal Website Guide eBook to help you get started!