Hello, my name is…

Many commercial appraisers are awesome. Their due diligence skills are highly desirable, but lately many professionals in our vertical forget who we are. We can do better. A lot better. “Communication is everything since everything is a commodity.” Interesting perspective from Gary Vaynerchuk, a prolific media and communications Belarusian American entrepreneur. If the market treats commercial appraisals as a commodity with little regard to who produced them, then Houston, we have a problem.

Let’s assume what Gary Vee is saying is true. What does it mean for your valuation business? At a minimum, we should pause and self-examine how we communicate with our clients and prospects. What does your firm really provide? Don’t just say “appraisals,” arguably it’s a commodity. We might consider Carl Rogers’s thinking, “Man’s inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively.”

I get it. We’re too busy working. But are we too busy to find the time to really listen to our clients? If we did, we might learn that chief appraisers want things “more of this and less of that” in our reports. Maybe they want evals. Maybe they need help with reviews. Individual clients who’ve never ordered a commercial appraisal in their life need lots of hand holding. Give them consultative due diligence. Freely. Over communicate.

We can learn from the 1960s Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke; “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” When it comes to communication, we should avoid a Mark Twain attitude, “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.” Twain had three dogs named “I Know”, “You Know” and “Don’t Know.” Do more than just tell yourself, I know it’s important to communicate with my clients. You know your business success depends on communication.

Don’t know your clients? This is fixable for commercial appraisers. We need to get back on the networking horse. Show up to events. Volunteer to be a public speaker or be on an expert panel. Be available. Don’t hide. Then re-introduce yourself. Even if you’re a veteran. Start over. Many commercial appraisers are awesome, but few know that. Hello, my name is…