A recent article in the Wall Street Journal identifies how big corporations are driving university curriculum to meet the needs of corporate America. A guest lecturer from IBM identifies himself as ‘a services professional,’ and states to the class: ‘You have started thinking about tackling big problems and turning them into revenue opportunities.’

This brilliant point is exactly what we do as appraisers. We truly are ‘service professionals.’ We do tackle big problems. These are not our problems, but are the problems of our prospects and clients. Clients and prospects have many problems that we can solve, all of which may be related to value, identification, authentication, finances, or curiosity.

Their ‘problem’ might be establishing estate tax liability, or how to protect a valuable asset with insurance, or splitting up their valuables fairly and evenly, or helping out their local hospital with a donation of their art collection. For each of the problems (gee — do they sound a little like purposes??), they need a solution. As a professional appraiser, you can tackle their problem and solve it for them — and in turn, create a ‘revenue opportunity’ for you and your company.

In order to create the ‘revenue opportunities’ for your appraisal business, you must first identify the most common problems your clients and prospects face.

If you’ve been following my proven systems to providing appraisal services, in our Appraiser Success Newsletter, then you know that his ‘Appraisal Depot’ approach provides clients and prospects with a variety of solutions to their problems. The products in your ‘appraisal depot’ must be designed to solve the problems of your clients.

The key to creating more ‘revenue opportunities’ for your business is to identify the ‘problems’ your clients face.

You must be very specific. Make a list of your target market and then identify their ‘problems’ or perceived problems.

The best way to find out what ‘problems’ your clients face is to ask. Here are six ways to ask:

1) Call them, visit them, or ask them while they are in your office or shop. Make sure you provide them with a follow-up gift to thank them for their time and input. Offer a small gift, a copy of your book, or tickets to an art show or local event.

2) Create a written survey. Make certain you have a special gift for those who complete it and return it to you.

3) Create a ‘client appreciation breakfast’ – set it up at a restaurant or diner. Send written invitations and explain that you value your client’s opinion.

4) Set up the standard six-step marketing campaign ‘what’s your problem’ contest to gather data and then offer the results to all those who participated.

5) Write a newsletter and tell your subscribers how you solved one of your client’s problems with one of your services.

6) Better yet, let the client whose problem you solved write the article. – Now you have a “performance testimonial” that will cause more clients to share their problems.

The most common response I hear about ‘asking’ is: “If we ‘ask,’ we will sound ignorant.” Actually, the result is just the opposite. Asking your clients what they need, or want, shows them that you are wise enough to seek advice. It also shows you appreciate their opinions.

So get started today. Use one of the ways described to find out what ‘problems’ your clients face. Then and only then will you know what products and services to offer.

Brian Kathenes is the Managing Partner of National Appraisal Consultants, a firm specializing in appraisal practice business development.

Brian is the past Chairman of the ISA Ethics Committee, and was an expert witness on: Richard Nixon vs. The USA — The Watergate Papers Case. Brian has been the keynote speaker at the Library of Congress, and the science fiction & technology appraiser for Discovery Channel’s POP NATION: America’s Coolest Stuff. He is the co-author of Betcha Didn’t Know That – 101 Antique and Collectibles Trivia Tips.

Brian offers a free report, 10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Appraisal Sales & Increase Your Client Base in Less Than 30 Days, at http://www.AppraiserSuccess.com

He has appraised the Batmobile, the Back to the Future Car, and memorabilia from the movie Titanic. He has appraised items that have been on the Moon and appraised (and played) Elvis’ guitar. He’s an Eagle Scout, so you know he’ll always tell you the truth.

Brian Kathenes and Leon Castner have created the Ultimate Appraisal Marketing System – learn more at: http://www.ProfitableAppraising.com