How to beat the refi drop with marketing
Written by Lauren Hartley on November 14, 2013
We hear it at seminars and on the phones: “My refi work is slow, but my biggest competitor is still busy.”
Usually those appraisers are still busy because they marketed themselves to non-lender clients even when mortgage work was plentiful. Now that interest rates are up and refis are down, it’s critical to market yourself.
In fact, here’s just one story from an appraisal firm that has done just that.
We like Anne’s story because a lot of appraisers think that marketing is too time consuming or difficult, but it’s not using our tools. This firm in particular, Pearson & Associates, relies on our proactive marketing system. They’re getting agent, attorney, and homeowner clients and their business is protected from the rise and falls that comes with interest rate changes. They’ve become counter-cyclical and are getting high fee orders.
On the flipside, here’s another thing we hear: “I don’t need to market my business. I’m still so busy with lender and AMC work that I turn down orders.”
We understand this, but here’s a few questions I always ask appraisers in that boat: Is it full fee work? Are you constantly being bothered by underwriters about nit-picky items? Are you tired of juggling unrealistic deadlines? Are you relying on just two or three clients for your livelihood? If so, what happens if their business dips due to interest rate hikes or regulatory changes? (Granted, I know these are tough questions to ask yourself.)
Marketing yourself and getting your share of the non-lender work that happens daily is your way of not just being busy, but staying busy doing the type of high-fee work you want to do. Over time, you’ll reduce your stress by taking control of your income and marketing the business that you’ve worked so hard to build.
So how to do you get there?
You’re an appraiser, not a marketing expert. We get that too. But business today is conducted almost entirely online, so having a modern website is essential. You need a site where current clients and prospective ones (including non-lenders like attorneys and homeowners) learn about your services and order appraisals. That’s where XSites come in. They’re the best websites for appraisers – hands down. (See how XSites work here.)
In fact, appraisers with an XSite had over 1.5 million potential clients visiting their site from Google and other search engines in the last year. And, over 100 million pages were viewed. That’s proof that consumers are looking for appraisers and staying on their sites to look around. Also, we sent over 330,000 referrals to Appraiser XSites from our XSites Network (www.XSitesNetwork.com).
But once you launch your site it takes work to turn the visitors into clients. Not a lot of work, but work nonetheless. (Otherwise, it’s like buying a gym membership and going once or twice.) For instance, you need to be sure that your homepage is updated and that you’re sending out constant marketing driving these attorneys and others to your website. Luckily, our tools make it easy and we have the training resources to help you.
We also help by offering XSellerate, our proactive marketing system. (It’s the tool that Anne’s story above refers to.) The beautiful thing about XSellerate is that we’ve done all of the heavy lifting. It’s packed with over 300 print and e-mail ads targeted to attorneys, homeowners, agents, and more. You don’t have to write anything from scratch or hire a design firm.
And it’s not “spam” either. Everything is written specifically for the audience that you’re sending to, rather than generic mass e-mails that don’t apply to them. For example, after completing a report for an attorney, add them to your custom “New attorney client” group. They’ll receive a thank you e-mail, then e-mails about your other services for attorneys. Since you control the schedule, you decide how often your messages go out (weekly, quarterly, monthly, etc.) You stay in complete control.
But regardless of which tools you use, the bottom line is marketing is essential.
You’ve taken years to build a business and you're probably very good at what you do. Why not let the whole community know about it? Over time, you’ll be thankful you took this time to launch a website that boosts your credibility. You’ll be even happier you set up proactive e-mails and customized door hangers. Our tools make it easy, and they’ll help you take control of your business and grow, despite the ups-and-downs of the lender and AMC market.
My advice is to get started today by investing in an XSite (Enterprise level) and XSellerate. It’s the best first step you can take. From there, we’ll help you with incremental, weekly tasks that will help you make the most of it and get the word out about your expertise. We’re investing in even more training and marketing resources. And if you have any questions along the way, our dedicated product coaches can help.
We’ve helped thousands of appraisers with marketing and would love to help you too.
Note: If you have our Elite System, you already have an Enterprise XSite (a $799 value) and XSellerate (worth $299). You just need to put them to work. Give us a call at 1-800-ALAMODE to talk to one of our product coaches. And we’re working on a brand-new page with tons of resources to help you make the most of your marketing system.