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Author: Tony Colangelo
Darrin in Los Angeles, CA writes:
I'm going through the StoryBrand framework right now. In it, the author discusses ways to provide proof that you are a “competent guide” such as testimonials, awards, etc. One way of proving competence is through statistics. So, I have two questions: First, for those who mention stats to your customers, what metrics do you use? The second question is related to Redfin's study showing pro photography is better than point-and-shoot. Has anyone been able to show this improvement through their own stats?
A very interesting couple of questions, Darrin. Thanks for sending them in! I’d like to begin my answer by tackling your second question, first. In short, I would respectfully suggest to you, Darrin, that trying to find the right statistics and metrics to highlight the value of pro photography vs point-and-shoot photography would be a very tedious research study to design and execute; and, even if you were to find a way to do so, it would serve very little purpose and would likely even end up being self-defeating. Let me explain...
First, regardless of whether an agent is using pro photography or point-and-shoot photography, there are simply too many variables at play that contribute to the sale of a house that carry far more weight on influencing the sale than your photography. Moreover, even if you could prove the value of pro photography vs the point-and-shoot approach that so many agents use in their listings, it would likely not be of any value to you because you’d essentially be opening the door to other pro photographers; after all, if the results from your research confirm the value of pro photography, then you run the risk of sending the message to real estate agents that any pro photographer will do!
I’d like to suggest that if you’re going to examine ways to leverage metrics in your photography business, then you need to be examining the topic from a more strategic perspective. That is, if your “desired state” (which is what all strategic thinking should be aimed at), is for you to be seen as an invaluable, long-term resource/partner for your clients, then it behooves you to find metrics that highlight the value of YOU.
In terms of getting useful metrics for your business, I think that something that could work well is to use an evaluation form that can be filled out anonymously by your clients. This evaluation can be focused on getting your clients’ input on the value that YOU bring to the equation (i.e., punctuality in showing up to a shoot, timeliness in delivering images, follow-up, etc.). Indeed, by using a 5-point Likert scale (where a score of 5=strongly agree; 1=strongly disagree), you can gauge your clients’ perceptions on those key behaviors that are directly tied to your value.
At the end of the evaluation form, you can leave room for qualitative feedback too. For instance, you can ask your clients what they’d like to see more of or less of--either from you or your business. This can give you very powerful insights into our clients’ experience of you and the services they’re getting. This type on input can inform future decision-making regarding your business. For instance, what if, in their answer to the question, “What would you like to see more of?”, 75% of respondents shared that they’d like to see you offer aerial photography, so as to save them the trouble of hiring another professional to deliver that service. Wouldn’t you be more confident taking on the financial and time commitment as far as buying a drone and going through the certification, if you knew that there’d be a high likelihood of a big pay-off if you did so? Finally, leaving room for comments also allows your clients an opportunity to state, in their own words, how much they value working with you. This allows you to gather a number of testimonials that can be used as part of your future marketing efforts.
So, if you are using metrics in your business, I hope you’ll take a moment to describe them and share what value they’ve brought to your business. Thanks!
Tony Colangelo is a residential and commercial photographer, as well as a photography coach, based in Victoria, BC, Canada. He is a long-time contributor to PFRE and is the creator of The Art & Science of Great Composition tutorial series.