Target Marketing of Real Estate Agents Using Awful Photography

May 30th, 2017

Matthew in Utah says:

I’m looking for advice on how to market clients who currently have awful photography. I would like to reach out via email but will be doing some cold calling. I am wondering if anybody has had any success with this and how have you “nicely” or maybe not so nicely stated that “hey, your current photos suck, use me”?

I think targeting your marketing to listing agents that have awful photography is a good way to target inexperienced agents. Not too long ago, we featured a success story on marketing inexperienced agents.

As to the question of how to market to them, many times we have talked about how:

  1. Face to face marketing is the best way to market real estate agents.
  2. Cold calling used to be effective 5 or 10 years ago. Nowadays, there is so much cold calling going on that people are fed up with it. I doubt that it is effective anymore.
  3. Email marketing is not very effective at marketing new clients. It’s much better for keeping in contact with current clients.

When you are talking to agents, I don’t think it’s of any use to point out to them that the photos they use on their listings are bad. Just pitch what professional photography can do for them. This argument is simple and they can see what it does for the top agents in their office. The main resistance to professional photography is they are not successful enough to afford it. You have to convince them that they have to spend money to make money!

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10 Responses to “Target Marketing of Real Estate Agents Using Awful Photography”

  • Unfortunately the agents who have sucky photos on their listing already know it.

  • This is exactly how I got started. I got the app for my laptop, drew a five-mile circle around my house and had it show me houses over 350k. Then I looked at the photos – the ones I knew I could beat I emailed the agent with an electronic marketing package consisting of basically many of the things available here along with a couple examples of my photos.

    I think I e-mailed about 50 agents. I received two replies – one from a guy who knew he had crappy photos. He said: “Price sells a house, photographs don’t mean sh*t.” The other was a top agent in town who said: “My photographer is retiring, I’ll give you a call on my next listing.”

    The second agent’s photos weren’t bad – I just knew I could do better. I still shoot five or six high-end properties for that agent every month. I shot one for the other guy about 5 years after our e-mail exchange, when he decided that photographs might actually make a difference. Never shot for him again.

    The top agent didn’t give away my name because he knew I would get too busy to do his shoots – but people eventually figured out who I was and next thing I knew I had more work than I could do every week.

    The best use of crappy photography in marketing was when I had time to go to real estate offices to give talks about photography for real estate. I would show a before and after series and tell the agents I wasn’t there to sell them anything, just give them some pointers that would help to keep them off the sites. Every session someone would come up and tell me they understood what was needed, but they would rather just hire me to do it for them.

    Frankly, there is so much available work for real estate photographers in my town I am surprised when someone tells me they having a hard time making money with their camera.

  • People who have bad photos don’t care, if they did they wouldn’t have bad photos to begin with (either that or they’re an absolute beginner). These are also the folks who tend to be “cost conscious”. A valuable lesson I learned early on is don’t underprice to get business, people who are “cost conscious” are typically the *absolute worst* to work with, really, I mean that. The people who don’t bat an eye at costs tend to be the best and also very loyal customers. Why you say? Metaphorically speaking, cheap people want to pay for an inch and get a mile in return, people who aren’t cheap pay for and inch and expect an inch in return (or wouldn’t mind if you throw in a .25 of an inch for free but won’t be mad if you don’t ), simple as that.Truthfully, bad agents won’t value your work, they may like the way it looks but they’re typically not willing to pay for it. If you aim in the middle of the pack chances are you’re going to some bites (and from some good agents who’ll value your work).

    There’s some food for thought……..

  • In my area there are over 8,000 Realtors. The consistent listing agents are our steady clientele and they don’t post crappy pictures. That’s maybe 500 or so agents and of those only 75 or so list 10 or more homes per year (the ‘or more’ can be a pretty big number). The rest of the listings are agents that are not a listing agent. The Realtor that helps you find your new home, so you list with her/him. They really don’t know what it’s all about and on top of that are scared of spending money and not making the sale. For them it’s a lot of money to gamble. Know who your clients are and approach them as such, then you will be successful. I have had a Realtors license off and on for 43 years, I do know what I am talking about.

  • I agree 100% with Scott. I would also recommend doing presentations from time to time with the best agencies in town during their weekly member meetings. I would pick one thing to focus on whether its how the best photos result in faster sales at higher prices, or how video will help you get listings etc etc. Don’t try to cover everything in one presentation. This will give you material for follow up presentations and keep your presentations short and sharp and thus memorable. And try to ID the realtors who have most of the listings. In my small market there are a few hundred realtors but only 8-12 who actually make a living at it. And since realtors have to pay you out of their commissions, those who sell small, inexpensive properties will not have much to pay to photographers. For obvious reasons, they will pinch their pennies.

  • I called the MLS to discuss getting some statistics. I do not have MLS access, other than What is the best approach to getting to the numbers……IE the top listing agents. For my first “talk” I am thinking about showing the actual numbers from the area…who’s houses sell consistently faster, and are they using professional photography.

  • I had hardly any success marketing to agents who had crap photos but once I started talking to agents who already had decent images (and I knew I could produce better by putting in the effort and not simply going through the motions) then I started getting somewhere fast.

  • Peggy, all the information you need to be able to identify the top listing agents in your area is contained in this ebook: Suggest you purchase it, read it and apply what you learn. It’s very time consuming and tedious. But, what you will learn about the agents in your market will be invaluable and enable you to target the agents that you will want to work with and not waste time marketing to agents where there is no chance that they would ever use your services.

  • 1. set up a quality website showing your outstanding work.
    2. Talk to only the top 20% There are not enough quality photographers to meet all the needs. and these people do most of the listings.
    3. go out and take pictures of the offices of these brokers. many will have their own private offices – not with brokerages – but it doesn’t matter.
    4. Use these images as an introduction: first in emails … 2 or 3, and then print them out high quality 8 X 10 and deliver them personally . you may need to do this once or twice to get a face to face audience but remember, they are the best and it may take some persistence to get their attention. You may not get the audience with the images but in the end they will appreciate your persistence and talk to you. Ask for a project-not a shoot-words matter and then deliver.

    Go on luxury home tours. With postcards of your work to hand out.
    Just remember… at this point in your business you have the time. So concentrate on marketing. Put together a comparison of awful vs professional that you can email.
    Massive activity, and a great attitude along with great images will bring you clients. You will not need many top brokers to keep you busy.

  • Here’s the psychology of the buying of a home. People put together their list of features – bedrooms location, schools, approx price, etc – and plug that into a browser. that brings up a list of homes. How do they look at these homes the very first time? It is usually not to find the perfect home but to eliminate all the homes they don’t want. When they go through this thinning down process it is a very quick decision BASED ON THE QUALITY OF THE IMAGES!!! you must help the brokers realize that if they want to pass this initial elimination process they need quality images for their listings. In fact if you talk to home flippers, they will tell you that they do exactly the opposite. they first go through and throw out all the homes with quality images and concentrate on only the homes with awful pictures. They know that is where all the good deals are buried.

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