I was asked by one of my colleagues in today’s morning briefing to help pen some appropriate words that we could use to convince our vendors to invest in professional photography.
“Sure,” I said. “You mean some of them don’t want to?”
To my surprise, the answer was a resounding “Yes! They honestly don’t see the point. They think we should do it.”
I was failing to see the logic in that. “But we’re professional realtors,” I exclaimed, “we’re not professional photographers!” I was preaching to the converted and the room nodded.
Time to do some research and find some well-put, arguments in favour of hiring a professional photographer to take quality images of villas and properties for sale.
Luckily I came across an article by Shannon O’Brien on the Market Leader website. Her excellent piece entitled: Back Away From the iPhone and Hire a Photographer was written back in 2013, way before the latest iPhone 7 mega-pixel-all-in-one-camera-phone-computer-gadget, but the sentiment is as true now as it was then.
Ms. O’Brien begins with a question we should be asking each and every vendor who raises eyebrows at our suggestion to hire a professional photographer and that is:
“Are you really taking photos of your listings with your iPhone? As Dr. Phil says, how’s that working for you?”
“Erm, actuallynot as well as I’d hoped to be honest.” Is the vendor’s rather timid reply.
“Really? Now there’s a surprise. Why do you think that is?”
There are many studies out there that suggest very strongly that real estate listings engage and (hopefully) lead to sales because of that all-important first impression. And that means image.
Believe it or not first impressions DO count, especially when you’re competing against the rest of the world and a whole new breed of smart-phone photographers who take up our most valuable online resource: time!
According to Ms. O’Brien and the WSJ, you have one chance to impress – a scant two seconds to grab a buyer’s attention without a photograph and 20 seconds with one.
As it goes, that’s not a lot of time for that first impression. If you need proof of this just have a look at your own website’s Google analytics to see what most people spend time on. Have a great image and people engage. Have an obviously home-made snap and they don’t. That’s not rocket science.
“What’s the incentive?” asks the unconvinced vendor. “For me? I mean why should I spend money doing this? Isn’t that what the real estate agent is supposed to do?”
The short and respectable answer to that is, “No! Let me repeat this … we are professional realtors, not professional photographers. Our expertise and focus is finding the right buyer for the right property and making the whole process as seamless and as enjoyable as possible, not taking second-rate pictures. And anyway do we really want to be doing business with someone who thinks one tenth of one percent of the selling price is really so much to pay, especially when it helps to sell?“
O’Brien gives the perfect example when she says … would Phil Knight (the Cofounder and Chairman of Nike) whip out his point-and-shoot and snap random photos of a pile of athletic shoes to be used in Nike’s print advertising? Obviously not!
The vendor is beginning to come round but he and she want more. So, how about this stat to close with … homes photographed by a professional, garner 61 percent more online views and sell for more.
That’s because a buyer is going to be more attracted to a seller who sees the value of presenting their property in the best possible light.
It’s a sub-conscious connection that works across every business. If something looks like you spent time, energy and love making it be the best it can be, then the chances of connecting with someone who appreciates and values it increase, especially when we’re talking about hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. Isn’t that the bottom line?
So, if you’re a motivated vendor looking to sell your property, take our advice and hire a professional photographer to let it shine! And don’t forget they’re your pictures to use as you see fit, we just ask to be able to use them so we can do what we do best.
Andy writes on a variety of topics related to property, real estate, the customer experience, mindset training and local/international trends for Seven Stones Indonesia. You can read some of his blogs here.