Photography For Real Estate

Tips and techniques for real estate photography

How To Find Real Estate Photography Clients – Part 2

Posted by larrylohrman on June 5, 2007


I can tell by comments and the flickr discussion threads that I need to say more about finding successful Realtors to sell your real estate photography services to.

First of all the technique I described yesterday of researching who the listing agents are in your area is not so much about sending post cards as it is finding out who your potential customers are. As several pointed out face to face is always the best marketing technique. And one way of meeting Realtors is going to their meetings. Gary Weinheimer was lamenting…

“I’ve spent the last two days marketing to local Realtors and I’m a little confused. I kept getting “we just don’t have money for your services”. … So why then should the realtor pay for my services? It would be easy just to tell the client that in order to get a quicker turn around that they need to bring in a photographer to shoot their home and the cost is going to be _____.

It seems to me that none of the Realtors that are in my area don’t have the vision to see past what they have been doing forever. Well obviously that’s not working right now. I have people contacting me from the Chamber of Commerce where I’m a member begging me to shoot their home because their Realtor “isn’t doing anything” to move their home”

Gary is right the majority of Realtors don’t want to spend money on a real estate photographer. Of the 80 agents in my office is would guess that only 5 or so would spend money on a real photography. One of the major reasons is that there are a large percentage of Realtors that are not very successful. So one of the downsides of going to Realtor office meetings is that many at the meeting may be down on the concept of hiring a real estate photographer. And there is a high probability that the most successful listing agents will not even be at the meeting! Don’t be discouraged.
This is why you want to do your research on real estate web sites. That is they only way to find out which Realtors are doing lots of business and are going to be more receptive to your sales pitch. The top 20% of Realtors do about 80% of the business. You are looking for that top 20%. They will appreciate your services.

Click on the image for this post to look at the web site of one of the top Realtors in the Seattle & Seattle Eastside market. As you can see Tere knows the value of good real estate photography. Do you think it might have something to do with her success? She even uses top notch photography to promote rentals… notice the $25,000/mo rental complete with a Dale Chihuly chandelier and Steve Jensen totem pole. What I don’t understand is why the photographer would not include a shot of the Chihuly chandelier! I’m a big Dale Chihuly fan. Here is my 360vr (you have to look straight up) of one of his chandelier installations in Bellevue, WA

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8 Responses to “How To Find Real Estate Photography Clients – Part 2”

  1. That’s a pretty cool “360vr”! How do you do that …..?

    My daughter and I were just admiring that yesterday at Lincoln Square – and I was thinking there is a lot to shoot in that area – I really like the water feature there as well.

    You are right, most of us real estate agents don’t spend a lot of money on photography – but some of us have some great equipment and like to take photos ourselves. You are on the right track to go after the very successful (and overly busy) agents like Tere, but I would imagine that most of them have someone that they have been working with for awhile.

    I do know a successful photographer here in Bellevue who combines graphic design with his photography services – that might increase the number of agents interested.

    Finally, I suggest that you do whatever you can to get your work seen – and make sure that it is great. Eastside Business newspaper always accepts submissions and might be a good place for you to get some exposure to a great audience. http://www.EastsideBusiness.com

    Good luck!

  2. Great observation about the fact that 90% of the agents in a given office are, in the words of one office manager I know, “bottom feeders”. And the top agents are rarely at the office meetings – they’re too busy/impatient.

    So it’s hard to get in front of the people you really want to pitch to. What I do is, relentlessly send them my postcards and email portfolios, right on schedule, until I’m pretty sure I have some name recognition. Then, when I finally get them on the phone, or in front of me (showing up at one of their open houses works pretty good) I tell them in no uncertain terms that they are “my project” — I really want to be shooting for them, having them for a client would be a real feather in my cap, etc. etc. Basically sucking up. Offer a free shoot for their next listing and you’re in. Or not.

  3. RE agents sales meetings are great, always try and get into them!
    If you have a video projector and a laptop a good entertaining powerpoint presentatin and a box of crispy creams can sometimes help motivate a sales team to get out and spruik your services, At the end of the day the vendor is paying for it, If the agents always offer it there is bound to be a take up for your service by the vendors.

    I find that the mast on the back of my car is a good advertising tool, I have my car sign writen and the pole sign written, I think because the mast looks so out of place people take interest, Hence I make a point to drive past agencys and real estat sales hot spots. I have picked up a few customers who have seen my pole and then seen the sign writing on my car. heres a pic of my car http://www.propertysnaps.com.au/images/xr6b.jpg

    The other thing that can help get bussiness if your new is to offer them a free shoot for the first one, be carful with this as you don’t want to devalue your services or get used and abused.

    Another good tip is to look through local listings and see what agents are using proffesinal photographers, After all they understand the results that these sort of photos can produce and my be inclined to use your services.

    I am also starting to send my customers a monthly newsletter on email, it just covers what we are doing, price changes, new services and some hints and tips, I havn’t run short on content yet.

    I also send this to agents where I have had a meeting but had no work from yet as I find this can trigger their memory. Agents are very busy and can forget a meeting with a photograher so it is important to be in their face all the time to create some brand awareness.

    Cheers
    Vince

  4. I wanted to encourage you not to be discouraged if the top Realtors in your market already have a photographer they are working with. Rather look for something that you can provide that is better than what they have. Top Realtors are always looking for something that sets them apart from the crowd.

    An example of this is notice on Tere Fosters website that the virtual tours are not the same quality as the still photos. Her virtual tours are tourfactory.com tours that obviously someone on her staff does. If I were shooting full time for other agents in the Seattle area I would be pitching Tere to use higher quality tours.

  5. When I first embarked on my quest to be a real estate photographer, I was easily discouraged. I was totally on the outside and felt intimidated by the whole real estate environment. Things went slowly at first, and sometimes not all that well, but eventually I was no longer on the outside. I shoot for a few of the top producers, but most of my clients are the mid feeders and maybe a few ‘bottom feeders’. If they like what you do, they will enthusiastically refer you to their colleagues. So it doesn’t matter to me where they’re feeding. I’ve had a few lucky breaks, to get me going, but lucky breaks come sooner or later if you are persistent. Having a realtor friend is very helpful. Also, many of your friends have a relationship with a realtor. I’ve gotten some contacts this way. But the two things that have helped my business more than anything are producing good photos for the masses and buildatour.com’s virtual tour. I’d say about 80% of clients are wowed by it. And almost all of the sellers love it. I spend a lot of money every month on the virtual tours, but I don’t think I’d be as busy as I am without it. I get calls from realtors, ‘do you do that tour thing”? It’s a real asset and in my opinion the best virtual media for real estate photography available today. I might also add, that having a personality that realtor’s like is immensely helpful. They’re doing business because of their people orientation, and it helps to have good social skills and build relationships. 95% of the realtor’s I shoot for are awesome, highly likeable people. And I think it goes both ways.

  6. I love the whole “you are my project” attitude. After all my face time and homework time on this subject I have found about 3 or 4 agents here in Reno that seem to be using high quality imagery but there are another 3 or 4 that still don’t seem to be on the band wagon. If I didn’t have to go out and make some money today I would have spent more time working on them. I only have one set of images to go through tomorrow so rest assured that I will be back working on the Real Estate “project”. I really feel like there is a lot of income to be made in this area.

    I’ll be shooting another house on Friday so I’m hoping that I’ll get some more marketing materials out of the work. I’m hoping to have about three different postcards going out here in the next couple of weeks.

  7. Jim DHaem said

    New Realtor Presentation
    I have changed my presentation from “Virtual Tours” to “How to take GREAT Real Estate Photographs”, which allows me to give many more presentations. Since 90% of the agents in the meeting wanted to take their own photos, I thought I would give them tips on taking GREAT photos and then market a Slideshow/DVD creating and hosting service. I figured I would also be presenting to the top producers who would see examples of my work and my expertise. I hoped to make sales to the “top producers” and “bottom feeders”. I can offer Realtors who take their own photos a good price on the slideshow since travel and labor expenses are cut to a minimum.

  8. Jim DHaem said

    I originally planned for my son to put together the slideshows and DVDs, so he could earn some extra money and my business could get more exposure. He is not old enough to drive yet. The hi-tech agents mail or FTP us their photos and we return them a link to the slideshow the same day and occasionally a DVD tour is sent by snail mail. Response has been great, the high-tech agents email me their photos and the slideshow it put up the same day. The the lo-tech agents snail mail me their media cards and the tour is put up the day we get the card, usually the day after they mail it. I demonstrate snail mailing the media card in the presentation, the old school agents love this. We then return the media card by mail or an office visit, depending on how much I value the office. Hopefully with a few more presentations I will have to contract with a few of my sons computer literate friends to do more tours.

    I created a web site, http://www.realestatecamera.info that lists the best Digital Cameras for Real Estate which I use in my presentations so the Realtors can find a good wide angle camera to use.

    Jim D’Haem
    http://www.dvd-tour.com
    http://www.realestatecamera.info

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