Little Things Bring Big Business

In the middle of a challenging market, appraiser Anthony Lamandre is hitting some of his highest income levels ever.  Anthony was kind enough to share his time and explain the tactics he's been using that have lead to his continued success.

Q: How’s business?
Like a lot of people, my business really slowed down earlier this year. I had to keep trying new things, and eventually got more work. Then, I kept getting more and more work steadily. It’s actually turned out to be a great summer for me. In fact, I’ve been doing 13-15 appointments per week and can barely keep up.

I get up early in the morning, and I finish up around 1 am at night… a few hours later I’m turning around and doing it again. It’s been awesome to get up every morning and do several appraisals and come home at the end of the day with money to put in the bank and already be booked for the next week.

The great thing about it too is that I didn’t have to spend much money at all to get the business. I’ve been spending under $50 for a whole month and I make it up the first day. I’ve never really made as much money before as I have lately.

 

Q: Where’s the Business Coming From and How Did You Get It in the door?
It's from tax challenges. Basically, my county is doing a re-assessment, and the county next to us is doing a re-assessment on properties also. All these people have been getting their assessments back and want to appeal it, thinking that their taxes are too high. They were told if they were to have any chance of getting their assessments changed, they would have to have a real estate appraisal. That’s where I came in.

We have a “B” grade paper (it’s not like the Times or Tribute or anything). It’s like a little afternoon paper. Anyway, I put a little bitty ad in there (nothing to speak of), and it was only like $40 for the whole month. The first week I put it in, I was averaging 30 calls per day for appointments.

 

Q: What did your ad say?
The top of my ad said, “Tax Assessment High? ____ Country Appraisals $300.” I then offered a special: if you have a family member that needs an appraisal too, the cost drops to only $250 each with a 3-4 day turnaround. Well, when I did that, all these families were calling because they wanted to get the reduction. I know $250 is a low price for an appraisal, but in hard times sometimes you have to do what you have to do to and make it up with quantity. That’s my thought anyway. You’d be surprised how much of a difference that $50 will make in getting your phone to ring. That’s pretty much it. And my phone hasn’t stopped ringing yet.

I know that offering $300 for a full appraisal is lower than some of the others. But where we live, people don’t have a lot of extra money right now, and I would rather take the lower rate and be busy than have less appraisals. Some local appraisers here actually raised their prices to try to help make up for less business, but I decided to go the other way and make up the revenue with quantity. I’m to the point that I’m doing $2,300-$2,900 per week.

Now it’s kind of slowing down because people are doing their appeals, but I’m still getting 1 or 2 orders per day. However, the next county over is about to do a re-assessment, so I’ll put a little ad in their local day-newspaper too. I think it’s only like $6.00 for a week or something like that.

To get my foot in the door for getting work from attorneys, I created a flier and mailed it out to all the attorneys in the city (Scranton). And I’ve started getting work from them. Most of them are divorces, and there have been quite a few estate
sales also.

 

Q: What did your flier say?
Basically it states that I’m new to the business, and I’m looking to get started. It’s just a flier showing my fees, the different counties that I handle, and that my turnaround times are 24-72 hours. It’s worked out for me.

I continually send out fliers to all the lenders in the area. One lady told me, “You bugged the crap out of us for so long that we decided to do business with you.” That made me feel good because my efforts and persistence actually paid off. And now I get at least one or two orders a week from them! Yeah, it was a pain to do, but it was worth it.

I also advertise my business online. There is a free website called USA Appraiser, and I put all my information in there. I also have my information on my XSite (www.LamandreAppraisals.com) and The XSites Network (www.XSitesNetwork.com). It’s been really nice to get the word out about
my services.

 

Q: How Do You Build Loyalty Once You Get Clients In the Door?
First, we deliver high quality appraisals. I’ve seen reports by other appraisers, and there’s just no comparison between what they put out and what we can put out with a la mode’s WinTOTAL. It’s a really high quality appraisal.

The other thing I keep getting compliments about is the fact that clients can log in to their own account through my a la mode system. I’ve heard this a hundred times… they say it’s awesome. I hear things like, “I was about to call you to see where we were on the inspection when your system notified me that you not only already did the inspection, but that you already finished the appraisal too! I’ve never had an appraiser before who I didn’t have to call over and over to try to get the status of my order. I’ve never had an appraisal touch base with me like that. I normally have to chase them down."

I leverage technology to save time and create service that stands out by sending them an e-mail when I’ve set up the appointment to do the inspection, when I’ve done the inspection, when the appraisal is ready for review, and when it’s completed. It’s all automatic. My clients think I’m sending it out personally each and every time.

 

Q: What technology do you leverage?
I use WinTOTAL for my reports and have a Silver support membership. a la mode has been wonderful. Every time I have a problem, or wonder how to do something, everyone is so helpful and friendly and personable. You have a fantastic team there — you really do. What a great company and what a great product too!

 

How to: Tax Appeals

 

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