Attorneys:  Target Niche

If you're like a lot of appraisers these days, you're making an extra effort to establish good working relationships with real estate agents, mortgage brokers and other professionals you can hopefully rely on for steady business.

But don't limit yourself to just agents and brokers. Have you considered introducing yourself to attorneys and financial planners?

In many areas of the country you're seeing strapped homeowners trying to dig out from under mortgages they couldn't afford. Often, they consult attorneys and financial professionals to help them navigate their way through short sales, bankruptcies or just negotiating with creditors.

And even people who didn't bite off more than they could chew are getting divorced or dying. Estates and marital property need to be valued, and attorneys are often in charge of seeing that it is.

Now, drumming up business from lawyers and financial planners is a little different than marketing yourself the way you're used to. So here are some tips for introducing yourself to these professionals and pitching them your services. XSellerate includes tons of pre-written material appropriate for and relevant to marketing to lawyers and other non-mortgage clients, too.

* "Speak to their pain." You've probably heard that marketing expression. When you're trying to land business from a lender, you probably tout your turn time and fees. When you market yourself to a FSBO or homeowner, you're telling them how you can help reduce their listing time or give them peace of mind about the value of their home. The question is always, how can you help them?

So when you introduce yourself to an attorney or financial planner, you should emphasize being meticulous, accurate and professional. These professionals want to work with people who are reliable and whose work will hold up in court. If you're that person, say so.

* Act, speak, and write professionally. In personal services marketing, which is really what we're talking about when you offer yourself around as someone who can do appraisals, people most often want to work with people like themselves. That's true of lawyers and financial planners, too.

When you communicate with them, emphasize clarity and persuasiveness over attention grabbing. Avoid slang in your writing and speaking. Their time is extremely valuable, so get to the point right away. And generally portray yourself as a professional.

* Printed material is better than a phone call. With many of these professionals you're going to have an assistant or secretary who will decide whether you get to talk to your prospect on the phone. A simple postcard is far more likely to reach them, and can also sit on a desk with your website, phone number and other contact information on it till needed.

E-mail is also a better bet to get your message across. Because your targets are more likely than the rest of the population to rely on PDAs and smartphones, use text-only e-mail to introduce yourself.

* Go where the lawyers are. Networking is a key to landing any new source of business. The vast majority of lawyers—those admitted to practice in some 43 states—are required to take continuing legal education (CLE) on a regular basis.

Your state, and possibly county or city, have bar associations that help lawyers reach their CLE requirements. As a non-member of the bar association, you may still be welcome to attend a session on real property valuation, marital property distribution, probate, or another relevant topic. There you will find a roomful of lawyers who deal with these issues regularly, and who might be interested in your services.

Better yet, if you contact the bar association, you might be invited to participate on a CLE panel or speak at a session. Whichever you do, go armed with plenty of business cards and a professional demeanor.

XSellerate's professionally produced e-mail and print campaigns include ways to promote your expertise in property division, how clients rely on your accuracy and reliability, and much more. Click here to learn more.