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Real Estate Photographers Going To Realtor Sales Meetings

February 12th, 2013

MeetingGoing to the weekly sales meetings that the managing brokers run at real estate offices can be a great way for real estate photographers to meet listing agents that need RE photography services. In large metro areas where photographers have been doing this for a while, some managing brokers don’t invite vendors that are promoting a product or service to sales meetings. It never hurts to to ask. Just call the office and ask for the managing broker and ask her if you can come talk to the agents.

What to you do or say? Give them some useful information  that they can use. I’ve created the What Realtors Need to Know About Photography hand-out for this kind of situation. Whether Realtors are shooting their listings themselves or having someone else do it, as the person in charge of marketing a property they need to know what good real estate marketing photography looks like and how it works to sell the property.

Here are some tips for doing this kind of meeting presentation:

  1. Use the office website (there always is one) to research who the top listing agents are in the office. Just count listings two or three agents in a office of 20 to 30 will have the most. They are the top listing agents. They are the agents you want to get to know because they need your services.
  2. Frequently the top listing agents won’t be at the meeting because they are out being successful.
  3. Be brief (5 or 10 minutes but be ready to talk for hours if they want you to) and use a hand-out. Make sure it has your name, phone number and website URL on it. You want them to be able to see your work and be able to get hold of your later.
  4. Don’t assume anything about what you will have for equipment in doing the presentation. Bring hand-outs so agents will have something to take with them when they leave.
  5. Be sensitive to their questions rather than talking for along time with your agenda. Your main purpose is to just meet them and be perceived as someone that may have a service that they can may want to use in their business. You don’t have to close them at this meeting.

Over the years I’ve gotten feedback that this sales meeting approach has worked well for photographers building their business. However, in the large market areas you probably won’t be the first photographer that has come to talk to any given real estate office.

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13 Responses to “Real Estate Photographers Going To Realtor Sales Meetings”

  • Don’t assume anything about what you will have for equipment in doing the presentation. Bring hand-outs so agents will have something to take with them when they leave.

  • #2 hit the nail on the head. I’ve been going to office meetings for 5 years. The top producers do not go to these meetings. The people who will spend the money on our services are never in attendance. I’ve stopped going because the time it takes to drive and wait around for the 10 min presentation and the lack of jobs coming from those meetings meant I lost half my day selling to people who are to cheap to invest in quality marketing media to begin with.

    I much would rather find out when the top producer’s open houses are and go offer a few free photos for them on the spot.

    I would not waste my time at office meetings anymore. My 2 cents.

  • Some real estate companies allow vendors to provide a “sponsorship” of the sales meeting – translate to “coffee, lunch, etc”. In return for this sponsorship, the vendor may sit at the back of the room with brochures. Some agencies let vendors speak for 3 minutes in return for the sponsorship. Some agencies – Realty One Group actually charge you to be the official photographer for the agency but then allow you to participate and even include you on their website resources. Many ways of dealing with sales meetings, etc.

  • Hello there,
    Getting started at this and after reading Chad’s comment, I started wondering if it is worth it going to those meetings. Any positive experience from anyone else? Also is it a good idea to offer “few free photos”? wouldn’t that come across as desperation to those top sellers (or any other agent for that matter) that believe in getting paid for every ounce of their work?
    I know I have to start somewhere, and I’m trying to figure out what the best strategy would be. I would appreciate suggestions.
    thank you!

  • Remember what Scott has said, it is about getting more listings for the listing agents, branding themselves as the agent that uses professional photography and/or video. I am a real estate broker, and it is pretty simple, a listing agent makes more money by having more listings. Just like the property, by having photography that stands out from the crowd, the agent will stand out from the crowd and get more listings.
    Rohnn

  • I’ve done only one office meeting and it went great. I picked up a TON of new business and was even invited back a couple times to speak about marketing and filmmaking services that I offer, and once for a “video headshot day.” I’ve made more money and contacts from this one thing than all of my other marketing efforts combined.

    Go in with confidence, know what you’re talking about, be personable/likable and be genuinely interested in them and how you can help them with their marketing. Even if they’re not the top producers, they’re likely to have money to spend with you.

    Side note: I think it’s a mistake to discount agents just because they’re not the top producers. In my experience those top producers are a pita to work with and are rarely loyal. I’d rather work with really fun people who appreciate what I offer.

  • @Christian, try not to give away free photos, even when you’re starting. It’s hard to start charging those same clients once you’ve done it for free. As an alternative try giving a discount on their first order, this way they know that it will be full price next time.

  • I have found in my area of Southern California, the brokers don’t want any vendors or photographers. There are plenty of photographers here so they don’t let any of them come to the meetings. Plus like what Chad Jones said, the agents who sell homes and spend money don’t go to the meetings and are not in the office that much. I have found if I wanted to target one agent, finding them at their listing was the best way. Even at that, they would have a newbie doing the open house. I think word of mouth is the best way to get new business. However that takes time and I want it faster!

    David Dewing

  • David – I started with the 10′ step ladder, then built an 18′ pole for about $50 (make that $75 because I splurged wih a Manfrotto quick releaserather than a simple 1/4 20 screw). The Feb 6 posting was dedicated to the subject.

    Mark & Christian – I try not to give away for free, however do make a couple of exceptions. At a sales meeting, award a free shoot pulling a business card out a hat – I of course get everyones name and email in the process. At non-realestate, with some organizations (like Toastmasters) will donate a gift certificate for a fund raising auction, their choice of photo but limited to 1 hr shoot (passively excluding weddings, corp events, etc). What I find amazing is that I have about a 25% fulfillment rate after they won or paid for the certificate!

    Finally, on point #1, the top agent who sold the most…may not use ANY professional photography. In this day and time, you need to pay attention to what they are selling. The top agents in my office, as well as in the multi office area MLS statictics are those agents that specialize in foreclosures. They essentially have relationships with banks and have listings shoveled to them on a non-compete basis. The top produces typically have so many, may never have set foot in the house, won’t answer the phone, reply by email only, and even to submit an offer require that the buyer’s agent sign into their proprietary system and fill in their database with the offer details in addition to the normal written offer. (I actually did that for a while, but the bank portfolio manger loads them up with so much busy work that it just wasn’t worth it.)

  • Larry,
    Thanks for another great post. To everyone else; thanks for sharing your experiences.
    Like some others on this website I’m getting started and currently reaching out to agents at this time. I experimented with cold calls via phone and email to a number of select agents and brought up examples of how photography can help their property at 123 main street and that was an obvious waste of time. Its to easy for agents to dismiss your email or call.
    Your advice could not have been more timely.

  • @ Malia, Mark, Larry
    thank you for the feedback.
    @Rohnn really good point, thank you
    I’m in Utah County, Utah, and in here it seems to be a little different market due to the conservative mindset and frugal mentality, I see a lot of “I’ll do it myself” attitude… I hope that with time and word of mouth I can get my garage business off the ground and obtain an important clientele.

  • I can say that as a realtor, it’s rare that we get presentations from photographers. And there is a need. A short, well rehearsed visual presentation makes the difference. And don’t just go once and think you’re done, hit them all once a year.

  • I got my name out by presenting my work (a 90 second pitch) at weekly caravans and dropping in on open houses. I did this for approx. 6 months. You can’t meet everybody in one day, so keep going and stay in front of them so they can’t forget you. Eventually someone hired me and they were so happy with my work that they started pitching me at the caravans. Shortly there after I was too busy to make it to the caravans. You only need a few of the top realtors to give you a shot. If your work is good enough, they will start passing your name around. Word of mouth is key. This is ideal, as other agents look up to them for their effective marketing. In my experience, the top realtors are my best clients because they appreciate the work and understand its value to them. These professionals understand that they have to spend money to make money. If you can build a good relationship with five or six producers like this in your area, your in good shape and making good money. At this point, I focus only on the top producers because those are the kind of clients I want and need to do my best work. However, if and when things ever slow down for me, I’ll be right back at the caravans again. One note, if you are going to go to caravans, be sure to become an affiliate member of the Realtor association. Everyone’s pays to be there, so you should too.

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