Are you selling ICE COLD lemonade?

When we were little kids my buddy Roger Schwarz and I opened up a lemonade stand in front of his house.   We made a fancy sign that said; “Lemonade 10 cents.”  We knew we’d become millionaires in a weekend.

My Dad saw our sign and told me that he was going to open up a lemonade stand right next to ours and he was sure he would get all the business in the neighborhood; even by selling his lemonade at the same price as ours.

He wrote down what his sign would say and showed it to me.

“ICE COLD Lemonade 10 cents”

He smiled and asked; “Would you like to add an adjective your sign?”

That was my first powerful lesson in marketing. Of course our lemonade was ‘ice cold’, but I we neglected to tell our prospects one of the “features” of our product.

That was the perfect Marketing 101 lesson.

Over the years I learned about selling the benefit – not the features – of products and services. My Dad called it; “Selling the sizzle instead of selling the steak.”  (but that’s another article).

What kind of adjectives are you using to describe your services and products to differentiate your appraisal services from all the others?


A real-life lemonade/Kool-Aid stand in 1966. Yup, that’s me in the wheel chair

Unless you find a way to set you and your services apart from the pack, your appraisals will be considered a commodity.  A commodity, as you know,  is not unique.  It is not differentiated by anything other than price.

Clients and customers shop for commodities using one primary criteria – PRICE.  And why not? If every appraiser and every appraisal is the same, then shopping by price makes perfect sense.

professional appraisers know that this is not the case, but the public does not know that, UNLESS we educate them.

I just used one of my favorite adjectives to describe our services:  “Professional.”

You provide “professional” appraisal services.

Your appraisals are “Qualified”.  They are “USPAP-compliant”.  They are “written to a standard”.  You are “Certified” and/or “Designated”.

These adjectives are critically important. Include theses descriptive words in all your proposals, correspondence, sales letters, blogs, websites,  promotional materials, and speaking engagements.

If you don’t think they matter – then walk past the “fresh fish” section at the market and just buy “fish.”