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How Do You Find The Top Listing Agents?

September 19th, 2011

In yesterday’s post I explained that a real estate photographers success is highly dependent on building your business relationships with the top listing agents in your area. I got a number of questions about how to do this.

There are very few businesses where you can make a list (names, phone numbers, email addresses) all your potential customers but that’s easy to do in real estate photography since real estate is an web oriented business.

I recommend that every beginning real estate photographer make a spreadsheet that lists all the listing agents in all the major real estate offices in their area. Here’s how to find all top the listing agents in your area:

  1. You need to understand that agents tend to specialize in who they work with. Some agents specialize in working with buyers and some specialize in working with home sellers (called listing agents).
  2. Don’t waste your time marketing buyers agents because they don’t need real estate photographers. Only listing agents need photographers.
  3. Every real estate office on the planet has a website that lists all the agents in the office and it lists all the listings that each agent has. Well, there may be a hand full of rural offices that don’t have a website but you can probably count those on your left hand.
  4. Go through the list of agents for each office that have listings. For each listing agent put office name, agent name, agent phone #, email address, number of listings and listing price of the highest price listing in your spreadsheet. Only make listing entries for those agents that have listings.
  5. As you proceed through each office the agents that are the top listers will immediately stand out. A hand full of agents in each office with have 10, 20, 30 or more listings. Others with have just a handful.
  6. Once you’ve gone through all the major offices in the area, sort the spreadsheet by number of listings and by highest price listing.
  7. Draw a line at the top 10 percent. The agents above the line are the ones you want to focus your marketing on.

It’s that simple: The most successful listing agents have the most listings. This may sound tedious but trust me this exercise will be the best time you spend marketing because it allows you to focus your marketing efforts on your most likely clients. Depending on the size of the area you are in this exercise could take a few hours or a few days, but it’s well worth the effort.

As a real estate photographer you need to know the names of all the top listing agents in your area. During this process you can easily check to see if agent with lots of listing are already using a professional photographer. This will tell you exactly who to focus your marketing efforts on by name.

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8 Responses to “How Do You Find The Top Listing Agents?”

  • Hi
    In principle I agree with you, but pure count of listings is not enough. I found that many new agents have lots of “non-exclusive” listings or even fake listings, just to make impression that they are successful. I would extend the definition of the agent worth our attention to the agent who has only exclusive listings. And proven record of sales. These do not compete in selling the property as soon as possible (lowest possible price) with other selling agents, and have incentive to invest into marketing of the property. I am not sure how it is in other parts of the world but in Slovakia have many people false impression that if the property is listed with many agencies it has better chance for sale…..
    Michal

  • Be careful with the exclusive thing. Many top agents specialize in working very fast selling properties at a great prices where the owner (usually investors) will never ever sign an exclusive contract. But great photos here make the difference. Don’t forget this market.
    But like I said, being top agent doesn’t necessarily mean they will hire you. An agent has to work their way to be considered a top agent. Many of them will hire you.

  • Another thing I’ve done periodically… As I’m driving through upscale neighborhoods and see “For Sale” signs repeatedly for the same agent, I pay attention! I always have my iPad in my car and I look them up, see what kind of business they’re doing, and make a note of their contact info.

    Also, pick up these Real Estate Books, Homes and Land, etc. types of publications. That’s another way of 1) Finding who lists a lot of property and 2) Finding agents who actually spend (waste) money marketing their listings. And of course we all know that spending money in those types of print publications is becoming a bigger waste of marketing dollars every day, so as they jump ship and reallocate their marketing money, it’s a good thing that they be aware of what you offer for quality ONLINE marketing.

  • It’s not a true — not every real-estate offices on the planet lists it’s agents on website. Russian market are different in that — most of offices hide agent names and publicate single aggregated list of listings.

  • As a person with over 38 years of marketing and sales experience in the photo industry I must tell you that I think your article is “spot on” when it comes to the basics as where to start. What you have written is a good rule of thumb when one is starting from zero.

    For those who have been in business for a while then it is more important to know who your top 25% are. Yes, I said the top 25%. The 20/80 rule applies here (no my math is not off, hang in there with me for a moment) You need to know the top 20% that are making 80% of your revenue but I go one step further and identify the next tier of 5%. Those are the ones you want to learn what you can do for them to help bring them up to the next level.

    Oh, and don’t forget that many companies make the mistake of not keeping their top 20% happy. It is much easier to market to them because you already have a proven track record and established relationship. So many companies spend too much time and energy going after new clients only to find that they have ignored the existing ones and then wonder why the bottom line has not really changed.

  • A funny and true thing to always remind is that we all earn an average of the 5 persons we spend the most time with. spend time with.

  • In our area the top 1-2% sell 98% of the houses. I have access to a list of agents and their volume and the top 5%… of those, 75% sell less that 5 houses per year. Keep in mind that our area has 30k plus agents and looking at the top 1% we are still talking 300 agents. A Broker of record does have access to agents numbers but it is at a price. I am fortunate enough to have a good relationship with several local brokerages that have shared this information. Some MLS systems will also allow access to this information for a price.
    I have taken my list and found those that take their own photos… or have someone taking bad photos and do my marketing from there. In each of my areas the busiest agent always brings the rest of my business.

    The list also comes in handy when an agents asks for a discount and claims to sell 40+ houses per years… the list doesn’t lie… I simply reply that I will offer a discount on their 10th house. We offer discounts to very few agents and our busiest agents don’t even ask as they appreciate our hard work.

  • I cringe when I see buyers not working with an agent who will represent their interest. This happens often with new construction when a buyer is swept away by the site agent…only thing worse if they work with the builders lender too.

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