Are You Standing Around Waiting for Business?

While pulling out of the SAR parking lot this morning, something caught my attention. Across the street at Home Depot I saw a cluster of men huddled together waiting to be picked up for work. These guys are in the construction trade, and their game plan is to stand around for hours to hopefully get hired for the day by a local contractor.

I know there are reasons why these guys do what they do, but it really got me thinking. If we’re not intentional about the way we do business, we could easily fall into the trap of “standing around”. Sometimes the idea of marketing can feel risky, so we feel paralyzed by fear and instead sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Or we build a stylish website and then expect the site to now do all the hard work of bringing in clients. Or we employ some impersonal spammy email marketing plan and think it’ll bring home the bacon. 

We do all these things, but if we don’t make meaningful connections with others online and in person, then we’re really just “standing around”. 

Business is all about building relationships and trust with people. If you want business, then be intentional about meeting others, nurturing relationships, being authentic, and being resourceful to those you meet along the way. Standing around might work to some degree if you’re lucky, but there just might be a better methodology out there.

What do you think?


  1. says

    Great blog post, I am a little jealous I didn’t think of it first. You are exactly right about relationships and being authentic. Your comparison to the men waiting around to be picked up for work paints a very clear picture of what not do, especially in today’s market.

  2. says

    Great thoughts!

    Your posting reminded me of the “Who moved my Cheese” notion.

    As we talk with appraisers, many complain about the AMCs paying them a low fee. When asked what lenders they call on to solicit a DIRECT business relationship, many say that “the AMCs have taken the lenders away”. We also hear “I only know the brokers or LOs…”.

    The ones that say they are still busy are the ones that refound their cheese.

    The Real-Estate-Finance-Urban-Myth that lenders must use AMCs is pervasive. Appraisers can demonstrate market expertise by learning about the Appraisal Independence standards and helping the lenders understand them. The Lenders are overwhelmed with regulatory changes. It is understandable that people within lending organizations follow the herd when there are some many business decisions to be made.

    It may be smart for the appraiser to reconnect with the brokers/LOs they know; but the appraiser will probably need to meet someone new too. The broker/LO can help the appraiser find the person (people) within the lender organization who holds responsibility for appraisals or appraisal operations.

    Within each lender, there is at least one person responsible…even if the lender uses an AMC. Reach that person and help them understand your value proposition; and as that person makes decisions in the future, that person will also know the services offered by the appraisers who have met with them.

    The herd is splitting up a lenders learn more. Decisions to change the approach to their appraisal operations can change at any moment. If you can help rebuild your direct relationships with lenders, you will likely see the change coming and find some cheese.

    This one way to find the new cheese and avoid “standing around”.

    • says

      Chris, thanks for the comment. I never read “Who Moved my Cheese?”, but I remember it was a huge seller maybe ten years ago. I think you’re right about the appraisal industry in that sometimes it’s easy to gripe about what has been done to us without really pursuing new avenues of business or finding ways to work more efficiently with the existing post-HVCC world. It’s certainly more challenging these days on many levels, but then again, it’s not easy in many industries. There is a place for complaining, but if that’s all we do, that’s not a very good business plan.

      My take is that appraisers need to find avenues of non-lending work (diversification), only work for good AMCs, and make sure to avoid a marketing plan that says, “I work the fastest and I’m the cheapest”.

    • says

      Awesome remark. The challenge I’m having is deciding what direction I want to take my business. The game has changed drastically, and it’s still changing. There are forces at play that aren’t market driven, which makes it very scary going forward. You don’t want to waste your time and effort, just to have the game changed again. It’s one thing if the loss of business is of my own doing, but when there’s outside forces are at play, it makes for a very tenuous situation.

      • says

        I hear you Michael. It used to be quite easy to bring home a very good paycheck in the appraisal industry, and now we certainly have to work harder to bring home the bacon (less of it too).

        I am reading a book called “Trust Agents’ right now and the authors shared a story about a guy named Chistopher S. Penn, and how he found extreme success in his business (financial aid), despite selling the exact same loan product as everyone else (and having zero ability to change anything about the loan package besides the way he sold it). I found his story very inspiring, and I think our industry can learn from this story a bit since we don’t have much wiggle room right now with loan appraisals.

        If you ever want to bounce ideas back and forth, let’s email. You can find my email on the “contact” page. I wish you the best as you think about how to reinvent and what to do.

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