April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
18 May 2020

Results of the Survey for 2020 New Courses

surveyEach year we offer a survey for member input to help determine the topics of the new courses to be developed. This helps the association know members’ interests and enables NICA to fulfill your preferences.

The topics for the two new courses this year are blogging for business and marketing to the senior market and their family members. These 2 topics will be greatly beneficial for you to learn more marketing techniques and approaches to promote your home inventory business. Blogging for business will give tips and techniques to help you develop a professional blog and to be found by your target market. The marketing to the senior market will give tips and strategies to market directly to that specific market, plus professionals who can be excellent referral sources. Additionally, a section will cover how to market to the family members who are caring for or established executors of the seniors you are seeking to serve.

We thank all who responded to the survey, as this helps us serve our members by providing the education and knowledge they are seeking.

06 May 2020

Marketing Minute – Phone Meetings

Mary GillenMany are experiencing “downtime” due to the virus, so we are sharing a marketing tip that can be time-consuming, but one that you might have time to do now.

Call potential referral sources, i.e., insurance agents, attorneys, and financial planners. Have your talking points ready to offer three terrific ways this person (or their clients) can benefit from your inventory service. These three succinct statements will most likely catch their interest.

If you need to leave a voice mail message, include the three ways they can benefit from meeting with you and leave a specific time and date that you’ll call them. Also, state that they should call you if this meeting time doesn’t fit their schedule. Chances are good that they’ll return the call.

If you prefer not to leave a voice message, you can do the same with an introduction email – include the three points and state a time you’ll call.

Then be sure to put this appointment on your calendar and be punctual when placing the call for the scheduled meeting.

You will have new referral sources to stay in touch with and nurture once your business is returning back to normal.

Guest Post by Mary Gillen: If your website isn’t getting the traffic you expect, Associate Member Mary Gillen can optimize it correctly so search engine robots can efficiently index your site content, which contributes to your search engine rankings.

22 Apr 2020

During and After the Virus Work Interruption

Unless you are needed for a Loss or Estate Inventory, our industry is not considered “essential” so many have seen a drop in business while we participate in social distancing and wait for the Covid-19 Virus to run its course.

If you do choose to provide your inventory service, be sure to do all you can to protect yourself. Wear a mask and gloves and limit touching items as much as possible. Follow the guidelines for social distancing with your clients during the inventory process.

Since you most likely have some spare time now, there are things you can do to work on your business – possibly checking off tasks you’ve had to put off. We are including some ideas offered by NICA members, which they are currently doing to be ready to hit the ground running when the “all clear” is issued. There are even a couple of options that could help you generate revenue now.

Work on your credentials and your marketing:

  • Take courses and the Certification Exam to achieve your certification.
  • Take a course or two to earn your 5 required CEUs to be recertified for 2020.
  • Refresh your website and social media pages.
  • Begin a newsletter if you don’t already send one.
  • Call or send emails to current customers and referral sources just to stay in touch.

Promote your service:

  • Share the National Home Inventory Month information provided on the NICA website.
  • Contact estate attorneys to let them know you’re still doing the time-sensitive estate inventories.
  • Call current clients to see if they need an on-site update of their inventory; schedule it for May or later.
  • Contact those you’ve given estimates to; ask if you can put them on a list to schedule them once business is back to normal.
  • Offer DIY help as an activity to stay busy while they’re stuck at home (some might find it a daunting task and as a result call for your service once the stay-at-home directive is over).

Current revenue-generating ideas:

  • Contact current clients to check if they need an update on their inventory, and do it electronically.
  • Add a “consulting” service for a fee. Provide them with instructions, documents, and guidance, and then offer to keep their inventory for safekeeping (if you offer a back-up service).

An example of being creative to serve your clients was offered from NICA member Tricia Hoekwater. She shared that she did a partial onsite and partial offsite inventory for a mold remediation client.  While onsite, her client brought items outside and Tricia photographed each item. When it came to the bigger items inside the house and getting photos of the room overviews, the client suited up in his hazmat attire and they did a facetime session over several days where he would identify an item and Tricia snapped the photos. Though they weren’t the best images, the client and she were on the same page about accepting lesser quality photos due to the need to get the job done.

If you’ve had a unique experience, please email them to our office and we will share them next month.

16 Apr 2020

Tips for Successful Email Marketing

Mary GillenEmails have become a huge part of business communication. Using email opportunities to stay in touch with clients and prospects will help you stay in front of them.

Transaction Emails

Transaction emails are those that you send after a transaction has happened with a client. They can include:

  • new account verifications
  • scheduling and confirming appointments
  • thanks for your business

If you have client testimonials on your Website or blog, add the links to these pages to your transaction emails. This will give customers and prospects the opportunity to read about how you have helped others.

Autoresponders

An autoresponder is a computer program that automatically sends an email response. Autoresponders are an integral part of email marketing campaigns, as the program immediately sends information to prospective customers and then follow-up correspondence at scheduled time intervals.

Here’s a sample of an autoresponder schedule that works when following up with online inquiries about your inventory services:

Send an email immediately after the prospect inquires, then

  • next day (24 hours)
  • seven (7) days later
  • twenty (20) days later
  • thirty (30) days later

These emails can include additional information about you, your services, your processes, reasons one needs a home or business inventory, links to your blog, links to your testimonials, request a response, etc.

Mary Gillen has 24 years of Web development experience to build responsive, accessible websites for tech companies, associations, non-profits and small businesses, blending professional design with measurable business results. She is also an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor, providing website testing & remediation for compliance with Section 508 and WCAG 2.1 A, AA & AAA Guidelines. Her experience also includes testing and fully remediating Adobe PDFs, Microsoft Office documents and pre-recorded videos.

02 Apr 2020

April is National Home Inventory Month

NICA’s mission is “To provide awareness and education” for the home and business inventory professionals. An annual effort that began last year was to establish April as National Home Inventory Month (NHIM). The intent, which supports the mission statement, is to create additional awareness by focusing on the need for an inventory of one’s contents. Personal property inventory professionals inform others about this industry on a regular basis. A concerted effort by the association, its members, its associate members, and other inventory professionals each April will help raise awareness of the many life events that require or benefit from having an inventory prepared.

The link on the top of the NICA website will take you to the NHIM page for detailed information.

Resources have been developed specifically for our NICA Members. To access this information, sign into the NICA website using your member credentials. Then just click on the link that says “National Home Inventory Month Resources” on your My Page. You will be able to download a list of posts to share on your various social media accounts. You can also download photos and an icon to use on your website, with your social media posts, in your newsletter, on marketing materials, etc. A press release template is also included that you can download and quickly add your personal information to submit to your local media. These tools will be very helpful so you can easily promote and participate in National Home Inventory Month.

All certified members who participate will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) towards the annual recertification. The number awarded depends on the extent of activities you choose. When applying for renewal of your CIS at the end of the year, you will be able to include the details of your NHIM participation.

18 Mar 2020

Marketing Minute – Solving Your Prospects’ Pain Points

Mary Gillen

Mary Gillen has 24 years of Web development experience to build responsive, accessible websites for tech companies, associations, non-profits, and small businesses, blending professional design with measurable business results. She is also an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor, providing website testing & remediation for compliance with Section 508 and WCAG 2.1 A, AA & AAA Guidelines. Her experience also includes testing and fully remediating Adobe PDFs, Microsoft Office documents and pre-recorded videos.

 

Have you heard that people buy a product or service because it eases or solves a pain of some type?

Often in general conversation, when people learn what service you offer, they will share why they don’t have one. By talking to the prospect and listening for their pain points, you can be a “pain-solver” for them.

A few examples:

PAIN: They know they need to create an inventory, but would rather spend time with family or friends.
SOLUTION: You can do the inventory while they spend time with loved ones.

PAIN: Fear financial loss if they have a fire, theft, or natural disaster.
SOLUTION: An inventory helps the client receive an equitable settlement.

PAIN: Concerned that family arguments will happen when serving as the executor of an estate.
SOLUTION: Provide an inventory for the property now to help prevent issues later.

PAIN: Possibly uncomfortable transition prior to marriage when merging 2 families.
SOLUTION: An inventory is less costly than a prenup and provides details of each person’s assets.

PAIN: Having so many collectibles they can’t remember all of them.
SOLUTION: Provide them with a Collections Inventory.

PAIN: They know they need an inventory but don’t know how or even where to begin.
SOLUTION: They feel more confident when a professional completes the documentation.

By determining the prospect’s pain points, you can let them know you can help.

27 Feb 2020

Network, Network, Network

NetworkingMost home inventory professionals state that networking is one of the best ways to get the word out about their business. If focusing on growing your business is one of your new year resolutions, the course Networking for Business would be a great place to start.

Networking for business is not about selling, but about building relationships. These relationships, then, will in time result in sales or referrals for sales.

All too often people enter a networking meeting, hand out business cards to as many people as they can, grab some food, and then leave. These are also the people who are saying that networking doesn’t work, they never get a sale at a networking event, and that it is a waste of time.

This course offers guidance for a successful network experience.

Module 1: Prepare for Networking Success

  • Face-to-face networking
  • How to choose the right events
  • Prepare for the event

Module 2: Attending Networking Events

  • Have a plan
  • Techniques to work the room
  • Be a conversationalist

Module 3: After the Event

  • Review your results
  • Follow up
  • Building the relationships
  • Evaluate

This course will earn you 2 CEUs … a great start in recertification for 2020!

13 Feb 2020

Marketing Minute – How To Find Out Who Is Asking Questions On Twitter You Can Answer

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Continuing with the focus on New Year Resolutions and Networking, you can network via social media. Take the time to answer questions people post in online forums! This can help home inventory professionals establish credibility and attract prospect attention to both potential clients and professional referral sources. So how can you do this on Twitter?

Take advantage of this Twitter Search Operator:

natural disaster ? searches for Tweets that contain the words natural disaster when asking a question. Be sure to include the space before the question mark.

You can also find questions being asked using the terms insurance, fire, probate, estates, collectibles, appraisals … any key term that would represent the services you offer or knowledge you can share.

It’s often beneficial to add a location (since your service is normally local) by including your state or city.

30 Jan 2020

Happy 2020!

2020Establishing new year resolutions is always a huge topic every January. What can NICA do to help you achieve yours? Our Associate Members can be the place to go.

If you’re thinking about updating your website, or have decided to have a whole new, fresh site this year, Mary Gillen is the person to contact. She created the NICA website as well as having developed many of the NICA members’ websites. Her knowledge of the industry is an added bonus when creating sites for our members. Her expertise in marketing, SEO, compliance, and other web-related topics will always keep your site current. If you already have a site, she can review it to ensure compliance.

Are you wanting to grow your business by adding additional services? Associate Member ValuePros offers onsite and remote appraisal services. What a great opportunity for you and your clients! Being certified as an Appraisal Examiner (CAE), you will be considered to provide examinations for appraisal jobs with ValuePros.

The new year often brings new plans and decisions. If you are needing to hire an attorney to create contracts, agreements, or other documents, or seeking assistance or guidance with any other personal or business issue, LegalShield is your attorney on retainer – at an extremely reasonable monthly fee.

And if you haven’t yet started your business, Nationwide Inventory Professionals can help you launch your business within 30 days! Key features of being a licensee are that they provide your first year’s NICA membership plus the cost to become certified, a website, monthly newsletters are written and distributed for you, and you also receive the very important unlimited mentoring – plus much more.

These 4 Associate Members are key to providing excellent services and opportunities for all!.

12 Jan 2020

Marketing Minute – The Rule of Thirds

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Creating YouTube videos is a great way to promote your home and business inventory services. Knowing where to place yourself or the person sharing the information will make the video more eye-appealing.
The Rule of Thirds
According to Wikipedia, “the rule of thirds” is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as painting, photography, and design. The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.”

Keep this in mind when you are shooting your online videos for YouTube. We are all tempted to film the video subject in the center of the frame. As you see in the screenshot of the young girl, she is looking towards the center of the screen. By positioning the video subject to the left or right of center, you get a much more interesting shot for viewers to look at, and you are following the rule of thirds.