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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Growing and Propelling Your Appraisal Practice - Part 1: Time and Gatekeepers

By Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP, President

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of - Benjamin Franklin

Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg,
ISA CAPP, President

Appraisers are adept number crunchers. Simple math tells us that if we multiplied the number of hours we are (or would like to be) appraising by the hourly fee we deserve, we'd all be flourishing. 

Professionals who provide an expert service: doctors, lawyers and appraisers, quickly find that achieving a meaningful credential and hanging out a shingle does not automatically drive business to our door. What we need to prosper is enough knowledgeable clients, who value our time and expertise and less time wasted attracting and convincing them.

Effectively identifying, cultivating and maintaining relationships with repeat sources of referrals is a key element of a strong business model for professional service providers. "Gatekeepers" who understand the unique service you provide, refer vetted clients who are more likely to be comfortable fairly compensating your time and expertise.  For appraisers, gatekeepers can be insurance brokers, financial planning professionals, attorneys, museum registrars and auction houses.

Positioning Your Credential and Unique Approach

It's important to "position" your services above less qualified appraisers. To do so, be clear in your messaging about what you are uniquely capable to offer clients of referral sources. Living in a large city provides more opportunities to attract and cultivate gatekeepers, but even the smallest rural town has at least one estate attorney and insurance broker, an antique shop or art gallery, and possibly even an auction house looking to refer out their insurance appraising to someone who will handle their clients professionally.

Help from ISA - Effective Marketing Tools
Existing, In Development and at Conference in Philly

ISA has invested time and resources to help members promote their practices more efficiently by providing a comprehensive array of professionally designed marketing materials. We hope these will assist member efforts to position our unique credential with prospective clients and gatekeepers. 

•    ISA Marketing Products: A broad range of customizable marketing products may be found on the Member Resources link on the Membership tab on our webpages. These include: A recent re-design of ARC and Fine Art versions of the “Be Certain of its Value” brochure, co-op ads, and an adaptable, 100+ slide PowerPoint presentation developed to support member speaking engagements.

•    ISA Webinars: Free ISA Webinars on business development can be found on our Learning Management Platform. They include: Jump Starting Your Appraisal Practice, Social Media for the Appraiser, and Internet Marketing Tools for the Appraiser. Go to:

•    From Your Fellow Members: ISA appraisers are the most generous in the industry.  Our unique collaborative culture pools a broad range of expertise in a spirit that is unparalleled. Consider reaching out to fellow members with similar skills or expertise for support on specific business questions, or post your question to the Forum. You will be amazed by the generous mentorship of our membership. On the flip side, if you have a business building strategy that has worked and would like to share with your ISA colleagues, please email me at We will be consolidating your suggestions for a future post. 

•    In Development: An ISA client-oriented Newsletter, focused on educational content of interest to gatekeepers and prospective and existing appraisal clients. Thought leadership positions you as an appraisal expert, and has the potential to be more effective in building credibility than direct promotion. Available by Conference, the ISA Client Newsletter will be customizable for your photograph, bio and contact information. Like other ISA promotional materials, the Newsletter will be available to print and mail, or convert to PDF and email, directly from our webpages. 

•    At Conference: Shelly Berman-Rubera Founder and President of Small Business Results, and a certified Small Business Coach, is presenting at our closing Brunch on Monday. Her presentation, Growing and Propelling Your Appraisal Business Revenue is specifically crafted for ISA members, and incorporates her 6 Step Program to Small Business Results, with ISA promotional materials. Shelly will offer creative, effective solutions to our unique promotional challenges, will offer time-saving practices and strategies, and promises to "rock your world' regarding how you currently think about growing your appraisal business.

Small business solutions expert Shelly Berman-Rubera has crafted a presentation specifically for ISA appraisers and will be presenting at Assets 2015. Don't miss this unique opportunity to propel your appraisal practice while learning time-efficient practices and strategies.

ISA's advanced methodology training and testing, coupled with a culture that encourages shared expertise has produced the most meaningful credential in the industry. Over the past several years ISA has been engaged in a directed campaign to raise the profile of the ISA appraiser and professionally position the ISA credential. We hope you find the tools we have developed to be effective in both obtaining fair compensation as well as fair market share.

This blog is one of a three-part series of ISA NOW posts on business development. Stay-tuned for Part 2: A Business Design for Appraisal Success, and Part 3: Unique Business Challenges for Appraisers and Underlying Opportunities. 


  1. Fabulous! Great Job! Looking forward to Philly!

  2. I may not be an expert appraiser, but I’m more likely to hire one if he or she specialises in appraising a certain object type or class of item. Their appraisals are more likely to be reliable too I suppose?