Appraisal success or unconscious failure

Why would anyone self-sabotage their appraisal firm? It doesn’t make sense right? But it happens every day. It shows up in all sorts of areas. The reluctance to invest in your business is No. 1. While the left brain dominant appraisers logically explain (unconsciously), “If it’s not broke don’t fix it.” I think a better statement might be, “Is my lack of business focus self-sabotaging my employees’ success?”

What are you talking about?

Appraisal firms are often run like a massage therapist practice. Very limited marketing and sales. Lack of business synergy. Minor investment in business best practices on an ongoing basis. Therapists love providing the product – relieve pain, improve circulation and reduce stress. Appraisers love providing the product – the appraisal. But that’s where it stops. That’s where the self-sabotaging kicks in. The lack of forward business momentum, planning and investment.

You’re telling me to spend money on my business?

Start with the individual. Are all your appraisers “A” players? Coach the “B” players to become “A” level. Any “C” players should be coached ASAP, or if met with resistance, suggest they pursue other career opportunities. The “A” and “B” players notice that “C” level work is acceptable if not addressed.

The Right Stuff

Evaluate your office relative to information flow. On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your office in the great communication category? Be honest. No fudging. Also rate your appraisers for being lifelong learners. Determine if you are continually looking for business best practices that will move the needle.  Entrepreneurial stuff, specifically client success. Not appraiser stuff.

Determine if you and your staff have a passion for problem-solving. Are issues at your office met with quiet stares? Often your staff doesn’t know where their ship is sailing. This is known as mutual mystification, your employees wondering what’s going on. 

Top 4 Employee (Unspoken) Thoughts

1. Is our appraisal firm going in the right direction?

2. Why doesn’t our company consistently invest money in hardware and software?

3. Beyond appraisal production, no one has asked me to help with company success.

4. I’ll just put my head down and hope for the best.

Move from individual to team

Trust is a huge component of success. If you own the appraisal firm, do you trust your appraisers to do a great job? Do you trash their reports with your internal reviews? If so, it’s an opportunity to communicate specific expectations. It’s also a process improvement discussion with report writing templates with collective input from everyone. Make it better. Move away from fixing reports only in the moment.

Do your appraisers trust you as the owner to do the appropriate amount of sales and marketing to keep appraisal volume at desired levels? Are your appraisers happy with the quality of all appraisals being sent from your firm? Trust erodes if your appraisal quality goes from excellent to meh.

Invest in tools. Actually spend money, at a minimum once a quarter, to improve process. This includes the basics such as comp database, report writing and appraisal workflow. Even if you already have these solutions, internally rate on a 1-5 scale for “I love our appraisal creation tools.”

Distributed workforce is not an excuse for poor tools. Confirm your people have robust work setup at their house. If not, go to Amazon and ship your employees great equipment to match the quality at the office. Confirm all your software and hardware is used consistently. Spend money on security to protect your exposure.

Aligned interests. The owner of the appraisal firm needs to communicate expectations. These include appraisal production goals, comp data management, report writing compliance, market research contribution and participate in ideation meetings at least twice a month.

Process for collaboration. Consider tools like Microsoft Teams which has Trello offering collaboration boards. Easy to use individually as well as shared with others on common projects. Excellent tool to organize in one place internal chats, Zoom-like videos, various initiatives (with data sharing and communication tracking) and general messaging to keep everybody up-to-date to what’s going on. 

Scan this blog then don’t do anything different

The true cost of business failure is to do nothing. Sometimes it’s an unconscious act of self-sabotage. Halting forward movement, hastening business decline. Self-sabotage refers to behaviors or thought patterns that hold you back and prevent you from doing what you want to do. What do you want to do? Choose appraisal success or unconscious failure. Aspire beyond just “writing appraisals.” Provide leadership for your office. Consciously succeed.