April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
21 Aug 2020

Marketing Minute – Prospecting for New Referral Sources and Clients

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Some people think prospecting for new clients is a lot of work or that it’s not worth the effort. Not so! Here are three great suggestions from Mary.

The “Sunday Drive” Can Pay Off

Go the distance with your prospecting by taking an hour each Sunday to drive around at least one office park in your local area. Note the names of businesses and their addresses. There are probably many that are not in your prospecting database. Locate their website and contact them the following week.

“Late” Mail Delivery Helps Your Marketing

Are you still sending direct mail? 33% of all business mail arrives on Monday. Don’t get lost in the post-weekend crush. Time the arrival of your mailing so it lands on the prospect’s desk later in the week in a smaller pile of mail. You stand a better chance of getting noticed.

Use Google to find LinkedIn Prospects

Use Google to search for prospects in LinkedIn, even if they are outside your LinkedIn network.

1) Go to Google >> http://google.com
2) Type in search term city-state site:linkedin.com
3) Click on one of the links in the organic (not paid ad) area on the search engine result pages to gain access to LinkedIn prospect info.

With little effort, these three tips will help you find quality prospects.

12 Aug 2020

Time to Begin Thinking About Recertification

CertifiedWe have entered the 2nd half of 2020. It’s been a unique year, to say the least! One constant is the benefit of being industry certified. We have a growing library of courses from which to choose when planning your recertification, which consists of acquiring five (5) Continuing Education Units annually. Two new courses are being created and will be available within the next few months. One of the new courses will cover the benefits of blogging and the other course includes information on marketing to the senior population.

This month we are featuring Social Media for Businessa course that is currently available and is helpful as you begin or increase your social media presence. Remember, most social media sites are free, which means you can make others aware of your inventory business and it only costs you your time! 

There is no longer a question of whether social media is here to stay. For the business owner, the questions now are often how to use social media to market their business, what platform(s) would be best for their industry, what type of content to share, and where to find the content.

Knowing the format and purpose of each site is important so you know which ones are a good fit for your industry and will help you achieve your goals. Should you have a personal and business account or just one account for each social networking site? Is it best and keep them totally separate, completely intertwined, or partially mixed?

You will be introduced to the most common business social media platforms and their cultures, how to market your business using social media, and how to integrate social media into your current marketing initiatives. Also included are tips on finding and creating content, along with time-saving tools to assist you in the process. This is not a how-to course on setting up your accounts. Since formats, pages, and settings change frequently, we leave that up to the individual companies to provide current information.

The three modules are:

  • Introduction to Social Media
  • Using Social Media to Market Your Business
  • Posting and Analyzing Your Information

Upon successful completion of Social Media for Business, you will be awarded three (3) Continuing Education Units.

05 Aug 2020

New NICA Member Offers Sub-contracting Opportunity

Young & AssociatesYOUNG & Associates (YA) is excited to be a new member of NICA. YA is a Building Consulting firm that provides estimates and inventories for their clients – the insurance carriers throughout the United States and Latin America.

The YA Contents Division provides commercial and residential inventories to its clients, which include Replacement Cost Value and Actual Cash Value. They are seeking Contents Consultants to be sub-contractors with YA. Responsibilities include the completion of the physical inventory after a loss, complete pricing information, and audit restoration company and conservator estimates, and invoices.

As a growing division within their company, they are always looking to add additional qualified contents consultants. If you have previous contents consulting experience and are interested in finding out more about opportunities with Young and Associates, please forward a letter of interest and a current CV resume to the following e-mail address: careers@youngonline.com.

 

25 Jul 2020

Marketing Minute – Seminars, Trade Shows, and Conferences

Mary GillenAttending business functions provides great opportunities to meet referral sources and inventory prospects. Whether you’ve paid for a trade show booth, or are attending trade shows, seminars, and conferences, be sure to take time to make connections.

You Hosted a Seminar – How About the Folks Who Didn’t Attend?

A prospect who has made a reservation to attend your seminar or webinar but, for some reason, doesn’t attend, may still count as a “qualified” lead. Follow up. Offer to reserve space for him/her at your next seminar. Better yet: use the phone call as an opportunity to question them about their needs.

How to Easily Gather Prospect Email Addresses When Hosting a Trade Show Booth

Getting folks to sign up for your email mailing list from your busy trade show booth can be a challenge. Here’s an option to make it easier for everyone.

  • Have folks send you a text message with their email address from their mobile phones as a request to subscribe. You can add this information to your list after the show.
  • Create a subscription form on your website, a page no wider than 600 pixels so it can easily be viewed on a mobile phone. Prospects who visit your booth can complete the sign-up process right away, filling out the subscription form from their mobile. This can save you a ton of work after the show.

Stand Up and Market

Can’t afford to exhibit a trade show or conference? Be an attendee. Make the most of the question and answer periods during workshops and presentations. Stand up and ask a question, throwing in a reference about your business. Example: “As a home inventory professional, I would like to know if you have any unique tips for those who market to homeowners.” Make sure your question is intelligent and pertains to the matter being presented. This process can help you make more connections, as everyone in attendance now knows what you do.

 

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.

15 Jul 2020

The Importance of Excellent Customer Service

Thumbs UpAs life returns to somewhat “normal” again, people will be seeking services for their homes and businesses. As a result, you will now be focusing on scheduling appointments.

This means that you will most likely be competing against other services that many have put off.

As you speak with prospects, referral sources, and current clients, consider stressing the most important feature of a service business – a Code of Ethics. Also, include this information when posting on your social media pages.

Two key elements of the industry Code of Ethics are within the category of Customer Service. Detail how you provide excellent customer service, stressing the following points:

  • Place customers’ needs first.
  • Strive to exceed customer expectations.

By implementing these two items with every interaction, you will gain trust and earn referrals.

13 Jul 2020

Indiana Home Inventory Professional Earns Additional Industry Certification

National Association is pleased to congratulate Andy Miller for achieving the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner.

Andy MillerPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) has announced that Andy Miller, owner of Amani Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE). He chose to add this second industry educational achievement to the previously-earned Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation. The CIS designation is an all-encompassing industry recognition while the CAE focuses specifically on the inventory professionals’ role serving the appraisal industry. 

To help ensure that this additional education prepares the inventory professional properly, the NICA Education Committee, consisting of NICA members, an established property appraiser, and the Association Directors, determined the requirements to achieve the Appraiser Examiner designation.

The inventory professional must first achieve the certification as a CIS before pursuing the CAE. They must complete the Customer Service and Appraisal Examiner courses, plus an elective chosen from the NICA curriculum. The Appraisal Examiner course was co-written by a certified property appraiser to ensure the integrity and proven hands-on processes for the accurate collection of information.

Growth of the personal property inventory industry has created an opportunity for personal property inventory professionals to serve as Appraisal Examiners. This enables appraisal firms to locate and subcontract certified, qualified examiners to record the descriptions properly and take photos of the items to be appraised. The appraisers are then able to create an accurate Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliant certified report from the information provided by the inventory professional. 

Based in Harlan, Indiana, Miller offers residential and business asset inventory services in Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio

09 Jul 2020

Code of Ethics Course

BooksA Code of Ethics is extremely important, especially when offering a service where you are invited into clients’ homes and businesses. Therefore, we are highlighting the course titled Code of Ethics this month. Included in this course, the sub-category of Customer Service details the many facets of providing excellent customer service to your clients.

This course is the foundation that establishes the standard for all inventory professionals to conduct business. These standard business practices help to ensure a reputable and respected industry. Members of the National Inventory Certification Association agree to adhere to the standards set forth for the betterment of each individual professional and the inventory industry as a whole.

The four modules in this course cover the topics of Professionalism, Integrity, Confidentiality, and Customer Service.

25 Jun 2020

Tips For Certified Appraisal Examiners

ValuePros LogoAs you begin marketing and reaching out to prospects and referral sources, you’ll want to remind them of the variety of services you offer. Here are some quick reminders to restart your inventory business by including appraisal examiner services:

  • Include your relationship with our Associate Member ValuePros in your newsletter, social media posts, and on your website.
  • When on-site conducting an inventory, mention your CAE designation and how you can arrange for an appraisal of their high-value items.
  • Contact insurance agents, financial planners, and estate planners to inform them of this additional service you can provide to their clients.
  • Add “appraisals” to your website’s keywords and include a page or section about your appraisal services.
  • Include appraisal services in your Google My Business and other public sites where you are listed.
16 Jun 2020

Harlan, Indiana Home Inventory Professional Achieves Industry Designation

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Andy Miller of Amani Inventory for achieving Certified Inventory Specialist designation.

Andy MillerThe National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Andy Miller, owner of Amani Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms that he has gained knowledge to provide professional residential and small business contents inventory services.

To earn the CIS designation,  Miller successfully completed the required courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated a minimum number of Continuing Education Units. He then passed the Certification Exam, which is the final step in achieving this designation.

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider. 

Having an industry certification is not required for the contents inventory industry. However, choosing to invest in continuing education shows a desire to learn and excel as a personal property inventory professional. Earning these credentials informs clients that Miller has gone the extra mile to ensure that he provides quality inventory services for homeowners, renters, and business owners. 

Miller stated, “We are all about serving people in any way that we can. Sometimes we serve them in the midst of their need, and other times we serve them before the need arises. Providing professional inventory services allows our clients to have peace of mind. We chose ‘Amani’ for our business name, as it is the Swahili word for peace, and our services give our clients peace of mind.”

Based in Harlan, Indiana, Amani Inventory offers residential and business asset inventory services for Northern Indiana and Northwest Ohio. 

12 Jun 2020

Marketing Minute – Using Twitter to Help Grow Your Business

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Find Prospects Near You.

Using the Twitter Search Function, you can find new prospects to follow by entering a keyword phrase, location, and even a radius of miles.

Example: If you are looking to follow Insurance Agents within 25 miles of Boston, enter the following information into the Twitter Search box: “Insurance agent” near:Boston within:25mi

Who to Follow for Increased Business

  • Prospects
  • Local business professionals, such as insurance agents, CPAs, and lawyers, who can provide referrals
  • Other business folks for possible joint ventures

Use Retweets To Gain New Followers

Be sure to spread the wealth about your followers’ knowledge by “re-tweeting” their Tweets to your followers. This is a terrific way to build relationships on Twitter and gain more followers.