How I got a Free Lunch and $250 in my Pocket

Today, at 2:32 PM, I received a call from a man who wanted to give me $250.  Well, to be more precise, I got a call from a man who told me to call another man who was willing to give me $250.  Sound like a scam?  Keep reading.

appraiser realtorIn order to understand why someone would want to give me $250 (and how you can get the same treatment), it is important to back up a little.  My business model has changed a bit this past year.  I have begun seeking out and focusing more and more on non-lender work.  I do not mind the AMC game, but I love working for private parties much better.  I have had some pretty decent success as I have reached out to potential customers and tried a variety of different methodologies.  One such tactic has taken me into the ‘den of lions,’ yea, even the Realtor® meetings.

About three months ago, I was in the local board of Realtors® office updating my MLS lockbox key.  While there, I mentioned to the secretary that I would love to put on a presentation to the local agents entitled Appraisers and Realtors®, Can’t we all Just get Along?  She took my name and number and a week later I followed up.  A few days passed and I got a call from the board member in charge of education.  She asked if I would be willing to speak for 25 minutes at the next board luncheon.  Though I was scheduled to be out of town on the date she gave, there was an alternative day that worked perfect.

On the appointed date and time, I showed up with my white-board in tow and my dry-erase markers holstered.  The lunch was a catered affair, and I was treated to a very nice spread of green salad, chicken in marinara sauce, green beans, and dessert.  After I was finished stuffing my gorgeous body, I was introduced and was off to the spotlight.  After 25 minutes, it was obvious that the room had more questions, and the coordinator graciously granted me additional time.

Here is the key:  At the end of my presentation, I mentioned some of the things we can do for real estate agents to assist them with the valuation process.   If you are interested in the details of such products, please tune into my All Star Team web meeting this coming Monday morning (the first 30 days are free). I also offered them a significant discount if they wanted to try my services.

The call today came from one of the Realtors® who had been present at the luncheon (Side note:  he called from an office where I know I have had a bad reputation in the past).  He said he had a client who likes to buy, fix-up, and flip houses.  He currently was working on a potential offer and wanted to know what the house would be worth fixed up and quick-sold in 90 days or less.  I called him right away.  I was able to put together a Restricted Appraisal Report product and quote him $250 for my services.  Needless to say, he was thrilled and said, “I would gladly pay that and more for an unbiased, second opinion.”  Win-win.

Other positive results have transpired from that luncheon.  Sure, it took some preparation.  Sure, you have to step outside of your comfort zone to present in front of other professionals, but the pay-offs are more non-lender work and better relationships with your colleagues in the real estate world.

Dustin Harris, Creating ‘Value’ for Real Estate Appraisers

3 thoughts on “How I got a Free Lunch and $250 in my Pocket”

  1. Dustin, great article! I love the way you think outside of the box. That is a key to being successful in business, but especially in the appraisal profession. I really appreciate the way you are helping other appraisers think about our business differently. We can not only survive, but soar as my six year says. Again, keep going on this path and thanks for leading us in the right direction.

  2. Justin:

    Nice article, just one point, most appraisers are Realtors if they have a membership in their local MLS service. Back in the 1990’s the National Association of Realtors granted full Realtor membership to appraiser applicants, before that time we needed a real estate license to be a Realtor member and in most cases if we weren’t full members our access to MLS data was limited. I prefer not to talk about Realtors and Appraisers, I prefer to refer to Realtor Marketing Professionals (brokers & agents) and Realtor Valuation Professionals. (appraisers). Appraisers have a tendency to distance themselves from the Realtor organization, which by the way, provides us with the bulk of the data from which we prepare our appraisals. Since many of us are members, I contend we should be active in the local, state and national organizations, helping to set the agenda when it comes to services provided to membership. Often times I attend appraisal meetings and appraisers grouch about the practices, the treatment and services they receive from the local Realtor organization and/or MLS service. When I inquire as to how they have been involved with their local organization, there is usually silence. I have been a member of NAR since 1967 and served in several local associations over the years, on education, MLS committees, ethics and standards committees, etc. I have found when we participate the organization is usually quite willing to accommodate our requests for more friendly and useful forms and data services. There is no need for us to be adversaries, nor do we have to be complimentary. We are Realtors practicing a different specialty.

  3. Thanks Coach! Your blog post perfectly illustrates an important lesson that I’ve learned in recent years. The bubble burst in my local market back in late 2007 early 2008. The firm I had worked with for 8 years was solely focused on lender work. Needless to say that dried up and the office support staff was let go. It was painfully clear that I had to diversify my services. I left the firm and went solo. It was shortly thereafter that I joined a local networking group and learned a very simple formula for success in business. It’s called the VCP process. The formula is this: Visibility + Credibility = Profitability. By taking on public speaking engagements for local real estate offices and title companies I was able to put this formula to good use and the results have been amazing. By speaking in front of groups my company and I gain visibility. How can you generate business unless people know your services are available? The next step is the hard part. No one will give you their business unless they trust you…that’s credibility. But public speaking and teaching is the shortcut to the Credibility part of the equation. I am now regularly visible to large groups of real estate professionals who trust the work that I do based on a small yet valuable sum of free information I have provided for them. I consistently get referral calls each week as a result…Profitability. This is an avenue of marketing that most appraisers sadly do not take advantage of.

    Sadly, appraisers also often times view real estate agents in an adversarial light. Beware fellow appraisers! Do not bite the hand that feeds! While appraisers and agents look at things from completely different points of view, I’ve found agents to be excellent referral partners and clients for life if you treat them well and with respect.

    Finally, I appreciate your mention of the Restricted Use Appraisal. A shorter format that requires less time spent writing an appraisal report, which can then be passed on to the client as a reduced fee for the cost conscious. Win – win!

    Thanks Coach! Keep doin’ what you’re doin’! I’m gonna go create some value today!

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