Now that lender appraisal work pipeline is down to a trickle, appraisers are again eating their young.

Panicking, dropping fees to unsustainable levels. Worried about keeping their appraisers and reviewers busy. It’s a normal reaction to a slowdown, but there’s lots of alternatives.

Find your energy, motivation and take the time to improve.

Challenge yourself to run up the stairs.

Downtime as opportunities

In any profession, there’s bound to be slow times, including appraisers. When transaction velocity loses momentum, it’s normal to feel anxious or uncertain about the future. However, instead of succumbing to frustration, use the downtime as opportunities for growth and professional development.

  1. Enhance Professional Skills

Invest in yourself, sharpen your skills. Attend leadership sessions, improve public speaking with groups like Toastmasters. Stuck in traffic? Leverage down time. Learn entrepreneurial skills with business podcasts like HBR Idea Cast or Mixergy, or my personal favorites, Masters of Scale and My First Million.

Emerge a more well-rounded professional when the market picks up again. Expand your potentially decades old skill playbook.

  1. Strengthen Client Relationships

With a light workload, it’s an ideal time to nurture existing client relationships. Reach out to previous clients and offer your assistance or simply check in with them. Be authentic, don’t ask for work, that’s not helpful to them. Building a strong rapport can lead to increased trust.

The shrinking of approved fee panel lists is accelerating every year. Make an effort to establish lost relationships. Your “B” and “C” grade appraisers might have a reason for their grades slipping.

  1. Expand Marketing Efforts

Slow periods are opportune moments to revamp your marketing strategy. Update your website’s messaging, create informative blogs, videos or podcasts related to our industry. Establish yourself as a thought leader. Show up at networking events, industry conferences and trade shows.

Be the go-to real estate expert at your bank. Strategic marketing efforts will help maintain visibility, which is important if you want to be at the c-suite table.

Attract new hires with engaging marketing messaging. Write copy that resonates with the “test-drive” career seekers new to banking and valuation.

  1. Improve Operational Efficiency

Use downtime to evaluate and implement software that can streamline appraisal ordering and report generation. Automate repetitive tasks, saving you time and increasing productivity.

Optimize your operations and crush your SLAs, resulting in improved customer satisfaction. Don’t just wait for things to pick up. That’s a lost opportunity.

  1. Culture

Positive office culture fosters collaboration, consistency, learning and motivation, benefiting performance and success. Just worrying about keeping everyone busy isn’t leadership. Your people are worried, thinking to themselves, where’s our appraisal department or firm going?

Break down the silos of unconnected employees. Making an effort to know and encourage your people is a huge ROI on happiness and retention.

Take the stairs

Life is like running up a flight of stairs. At first, you’re standing at the bottom, looking up at the daunting challenge ahead. Each step represents a goal or milestone you want to achieve. As you start climbing, you may stumble and feel tired, but you keep pushing yourself forward.

With each step, you gain momentum and confidence. You begin to see progress and your initial doubts start to fade away.

Don’t panic.

Be proactive.

Take the time to improve.

Run up the stairs.