Long time PFRE reader, contributor and Tasmanian real estate photographer Milton Lowe just sent me and article from his local Sunday Tasmanian newspaper that quotes him explaining the benefits of real estate photography. In the article Milton points out that he has been doing real estate photography for 5 years after being a real estate agent for 16 years and that it has taken local agents a long time to see the financial benefits of professional real estate photography but recently there has been definite move towards using professional real estate photography. You know you've make it when your local newspaper contact you for a quote!
Milton's business has increased 100% a year for the last several years to a point where he is now doing 100 shoots a month for a clientele base of 150 agents. Some agents use his services on all listings and some use him just for their most expensive listings. Last year he raised his prices without any noticeable decrease in business. Recently Milton has expanded his business to builders, businesses, tourist operators and added aerial photography to his services.
What's Milton's secret? Milton says, "A lot ask me why have you done so well? I firmly believe that my recipe for success has been the sustained rapport I have with the agents, most of whom have known and respected me from my days selling RE and being their competitor. They say , it's not that you take good photos, we just like the way you handle the home sellers and take the pressure off us, and the reliable service we get, and that nothing is a fuss. I've been there and done that, so if they list one over the weekend, and need photos for newspaper deadlines on Monday, I'll always do my best to help out. I also believe that by believing in myself and hanging in there when the going was tough and the agents wouldn't use me. I firmly believed that one day, you'll need me and I put that in my regular emails to them. The fact that I take the time to personally deliver photos gets me seen in the office on a regular basis, where I can wave or chat to the agents briefly. I regularly pick up shoots from this".
Wow, Milton, this is great advice for anyone in this business! I find it interesting that I hear almost the same words again and again from successful real estate photographers through out the world. Customer service and being reliable and dependable is as important or more important than providing great photos. The point Milton raises about being confident and hanging in there when agents aren't using your services is important too. Your confidence will come across to your prospective clients. Agents need professional photography even more in a slowing or down market. Part of your success will come from how you communicate that fact.