June 17th, 2013
There are very few businesses where you can make a list of names, phone numbers, email addresses of all your potential customers, but you can in real estate photography since real estate agents are listed on their company website along with their listings.
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 do that:
- 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).
- Don’t waste your time marketing buyers agents because they don’t need real estate photographers. Only listing agents (agents that work with home sellers) need photographers. Buyers agents typically don’t have any listings.
- 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.
- 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.
- As you proceed through each office the agents that are the top listing agents 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. You’ll see the pattern emerge quickly.
- Once you’ve gone through all the major offices in the area, sort the spreadsheet by number of listings and by listing price.
- This agent list is a list of who’s who in your area. It shows you who to focus your marketing on. During the rest of your marketing when you meet an agent at an open house or at an office or wherever you’ll have a way to focus on potential clients.
The most successful listing agents have the most listings at the highest price. Ideally you want to focus on the top 5% or 10% of agents. 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 an agent with lots of listings are already using a professional photographer. This will tell you exactly who to focus your marketing efforts on by name.
How you use this list will depend on how much competition there is in your market area. In a market like Seattle, WA where there is a lot of real estate photography competition as a beginning real estate photographer you’ll have to compete with a lot of folks. See what they are delivering and find a listing agent to turn into a satisfied customer. If you are working in Corvallis, OR where there are no real estate photographers you’ll spend most of your time convincing listing agents that using a professional photographer will make them money. Either way success comes from making personal contact with those agents that are on your list of potential customers and creating a satisfied customer one at a time. Pretty soon the word about you will get around.