Face to Face Marketing – Trade Shows
Welcome back to iGUIDE Building Blocks channel. This week’s episode highlights the benefits of investing in Trade Show Marketing to grow your real estate photography businesses. Along with this video we’re sharing our Event Marketing Tool Kit. We follow it when we’re investigating, planning, and executing trade show events and activities and now we’re sharing these tools with you.
Trade shows have been an important part of our business growth from the start. Trade shows and events are also an essential tool for many of our successful iGUIDE teams. We spend a lot of time talking with real estate photographers who tell us that trade shows don’t work for them. So we created this video to help challenge those thoughts and show why trade show marketing deserves to be a part of your business growth strategy.
When we first launched iGUIDE, we exhibited at our local trade show and found that we were the only photography company there. We knew that we were competing with dozens of other photography companies but none had bothered to attend the show. Their absence gave us a chance to meet dozens of real estate agents, brokers, and industry insiders and take full advantage of the situation.
We learned very quickly that real estate is a relationship business and that there is no better way to meet so many clients and influencers in one place at one time. Thanks to this positive experience, trade show marketing became a cornerstone in our marketing program
If you’re among the group of real estate photographers who don’t find trade shows to be an effective marketing tool, consider that you may not have been approaching them correctly.
Apply a methodical approach by using our Event Marketing Kit (available to download below). The checklists will take you through the whole planning process focusing on these three essential parts:
1. Announcing the trade show
2. Running the trade show
3. Following up after the show
Start by thinking of trade shows as a dinner party you are hosting for friends and family. The first step is to send out the invitations. A big part of trade show planning is sending out invitations and announcements of your participation in the event. Create social media posts to share over the weeks leading up to the event to let the people you know and especially the people you want to know about your participation and interest in meeting with them.
Send emails to your existing clients inviting them to attend. Our iGUIDE email templates allow you to send them emails with customized messages very quickly and efficiently. Running your own real estate photography business can be time-consuming and you won’t always get to see your existing clients throughout the year, so letting them know that you’ll be at an event is a great chance to connect. Even if they can’t make it, they’ll appreciate the invitation and gesture.
Don’t forget to send emails to agents, teams, and offices that you want to work with, who have been otherwise difficult to connect with throughout the year. This could be a great opportunity to align your schedules.
The next part in our trade show plan is actually running the show.
When friends and family show up to your dinner party, you wouldn’t greet them from the table. You would go to the door and personally escort them inside. The same idea applies at a trade show or event. Be an excellent host. Stand out at the entrance and greet everyone passing by and welcome those interested visitors inside.
First-time guests to your home will usually be given a quick tour. For first-time guests at your exhibit space, be prepared to give them a quick tour of your services. Tell them why you’re there. We always have a number of iGUIDE displays set up for our guests, showing them what we offer. We also have presets of different websites so that we can address the specific tastes and needs of each visitor. Preparation is the key.
Just like when your dinner party is over and you thank guests for coming and make plans to visit again, when guests at your trade show are leaving, thank them for coming. Be sure to ask them for a business card so you can follow up after the show.
There’s a lot going on at shows and guests are likely meeting a lot of new companies and making a lot of new contacts. Combine that with them going immediately back to their regular business and you can see why it’s important to follow up to keep your services top of mind.
We enter every person we meet in our database and have email templates ready to go thanking new guests for visiting and including an introduction to iGUIDE as a reminder of our services and value. Follow up emails should including pricing, booking information, and links to your portfolio of work. Follow ups aren’t just for speculative business. You should also send thank you notes to existing clients for stopping by and visiting.
At the end of the day, trade show marketing is as simple as running a successful dinner party. Invite your guests, create a great experience, and follow the visit with a thank you. We follow these simple logical steps when we take part in trade show events and have a lot of success.
If trade shows aren’t a part of your marketing plan, we strongly encourage you to reconsider. Trade shows have been one of our best sources of new business and strongest opportunities.
For even more great tips on growing your real estate photography business, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.
Face to Face Marketing – Office Presentations
It’s time for another edition of our Building Blocks video series. This week Kevin Klages discusses office presentations and highlights why they should have a starring role in your direct marketing strategy when you’re focused on growing your real estate photography business.
We often meet brokerage owners, team trainers, marketers, and office managers who ask us to come in and present iGUIDE to their agents. We always welcome the chance to travel around North America, working with local iGUIDE professionals, holding office, agent, and team presentations for three primary reasons.
- We know that iGUIDE is legitimately helping realtors be better at their jobs. We’re giving them the tools to win more listings, set their listings apart from their competition, and make their work more efficient.
- Office presentations get our local teams excited about doing their own presentations. A lot of photographers we meet don’t want to be salespeople and when they see themselves as educators, not sales people, they see the inherent worth of effective office presentations.
- These presentations help our local iGUIDE teams grow their business. Every presentation we do, means more work for our local team.
Jim, who leads an iGUIDE team recently told us that he would have started doing presentations a lot earlier, had he known how easy they were and how much business he can generate from them.
In the beginning, we noticed a trend. Regardless of how many people attended, one in every five attendees became an iGUIDE customer. If there were five people in the room, we would get one new customer. If there were 30 people, we would get six new customers. Since we knew that one in five people who came to our presentation became customers, our goal was to get as many warm bums in those chairs as we could. More bums meant more new customers.
There were times when only five people to show up and we realized that this was more a result of the announcements and invitations, than our topic. Often times if an announcement was sent out at all, it was last minute, generic, boring, and stuffed in with a whole lot of other information. People skimmed over the announcement about our presentation.
So we took ownership of the announcements and media posts on behalf of the office. We now make every effort to ensure we get the maximum return for our invested time by:
- Creating dynamic email invitations for offices to forward agents, a week and then again, a day before the presentation.
- Developing social posts for the offices to share with their network, which makes their life easier and makes them look better at the same time.
The reward from this increased effort was clear. More bums in chairs!
On the day of a presentation, we always bring some treats for the front desk team, such as muffins or donuts. Another important lesson for real estate photographers, is to value the influence of the administrative staff. If we schedule a breakfast, lunch, or happy hour session in an office, we will fix the administrative staff something and take it out or invite them in to grab something before the guests arrive.
This kind gesture helps with our presentations in many ways. It gains us fast access to the wifi password so we can start loading up web pages and also get connected to the projector or tv. Most importantly, they share news of our visit with other people in the office. They help to put a few more bums in chairs.
When it comes time to present, a bit of stage fright can set in. It’s natural. It happens to the most experienced speakers.
To create a positive mindset that helps to deliver a great presentation, just count the attendees, then divide by five. Focus on the one in five people who are your future customers-in-waiting. Don’t ignore the other four, but direct your presentation to those customers-in-waiting.
Now just treat the next 30 minutes or so, as an opportunity to explain iGUIDE to that customer and show them how you will help them to:
- Win their next listing
- Market the property
- Save them and their sellers time during closing
- And overall make their business more efficient
Treat these people like they’re already your customers. Make it a foregone conclusion so you don’t need to sell them. What you need to do, is show customers how to get the maximum value from your services.
This mindset helps take away the pressure from trying to sell and creates a more relaxed atmosphere for you and the attendees. Try it, it works.
We strongly encourage you to make office presentations a part of your business building program. Like trade shows, there is no better place than an office presentation to grow your client roster and business.
Face to Face Marketing – Top Producers Presentations
Welcome back to our Building Blocks video series where Kevin Klages discusses winning strategies to help real estate photographers grow their businesses. This week Kevin continues our Direct Marketing theme by focussing on how to approach and crush a Top Producer Presentation to win more lucrative business.
We learned early on that iGUIDE offers Top Producing Agents and teams incredible value. In fact, iGUIDE offers this unique group even more value than our traditional client base.
For Top Producers, iGUIDE is an efficiency tool that enables sharing property information across a team’s agents, administrators, listing, and marketing coordinators. It’s a time and cost reducing tool that saves staff calls, emails, and extra trips to a property; for things like collecting measurements, gathering property details, and answering small questions about a space. iGUIDE is also a communication tool for a team’s frontline staff. It gives staff immediate access to property information that allows them to respond, in real time.
But finding occasions to engage with and win new business from Top Producers at trade shows and office presentations was often limited or non-existent. In order to win their business, we needed a different approach that aligned more closely with their business and their needs.
Winning Top Producing agents and teams became a cornerstone in our initial success and is just as important to many of our most successful iGUIDE teams. Read on for some of our top tips for winning Top Producers’ business.
We once read that it would take five to eight calls before scoring a meeting with a potential client. So to manage the foreseeable frustration, make a game of it. Visualize a set of monkey bars. Your job is to keep your momentum up to get from call one to call eight without falling or getting knocked off.
Everytime you call ensure that you get the “Gatekeepers” name and consistently use it when talking to them. Introduce yourself, explain the purpose of the call, and ask to speak with the decision-maker. This is usually when their gatekeeper mode will kick in and you will likely hear; “They’re busy”, “They’re out”, or “They’re in a meeting”. This is your opportunity to respond with “That’s fine, We can try back on Wednesday”. Consistently let them know that you will be trying again and when.
The strategy is creating a reason and an excuse for calling back. Ask if you could send some examples of what you do, in advance of your next call. Then when you call back, you can start by asking if they or the decision-maker had had a chance to look at what was sent over. Each time be sure to send something different about iGUIDE; looking for the one thing that will resonate.
For example, there’s a team in Kitchener, Ontario, who was listing around 150 properties per year and we really wanted their business. Carol was their listing coordinator and she would answer the phone every time. Our calls became so friendly that she would recognize our number and greet me by name. For most of the calls, we were friendly. But as the gatekeeper, she would not let me through!
Every time Carol and I spoke, I would learn something new about their team and I’d file that information away, planning to use it when I finally got to the decision-maker. On or about our sixth call, Carol was in a rush because she had a bunch of listings to process and still had to run out and measure a home. I told her iGUIDE does the measuring for her, for every listing. We could send her all her measurements when the iGUIDE was complete and save her countless hours per week.
I must have explained this to her a bunch of times, but in this moment, this feature became invaluable and I had my meeting with the decision-maker within the week.
And within two weeks we were doing all the new listings for that team.
It took persistence to continue through Carol’s rejection. But, I knew that this team was worth the investment and I knew I could help them. And it paid off incredibly. This became an investment I made time and again as we added top producer after top producer to our client roster.
Before you make that first call to a Carol, do your homework. Know what that team is doing today and make some assumptions. Use the calls to the gatekeeper to either prove those assumptions correct or help make better ones.
You need to be certain about how you can make their business better and more profitable. Do not expect a successful real estate business to respond to a “Me Too Proposal”. Fortunately, for an iGUIDE Pro, you have the ‘better’ tool and can do better for potential clients.
Once you get into that elusive first face-to face meeting, show them you’ve done your homework. That you respect their business enough to invest time into learning about their business model and clearly define how you think you can help. Don’t presume to know how you can help, simply offer your educated assumptions.
At the end of your Top Producer Presentations, it’s a great idea to offer them the opportunity to try iGUIDE at no cost and with no risk attached. Top Producers are risk averse when it comes to their listings, because they have so much invested in their brand and their reputation.
When you offer the Top Producer a complete iGUIDE service for their next listing, also urge them to continue ordering from their current service provider as well, just in case they aren’t happy with what you create. Although I’m confident that they’d love your services, this suggestion takes away the risk and gives them an exact A/B comparison between your services and their current services; which I know you would win.
Once you deliver the iGUIDE, you can run an iGUIDE Audit and go through it with them, to make sure they clearly understood all the value you bring and show your high level of service, support and invested interest in their success.
These are a couple of the winning techniques we consistently use for winning Top Producer business.
Face to Face Marketing – Networking
This week, Kevin Klages outlines his top tips for how real estate photographers can get more out of networking events in order to grow their businesses. Watch the video to learn how to define goals for networking events, plan conversation topics to break the ice, adopt techniques to explain your services and generate interest in your services. Lastly, we will share some tips for structuring a follow-up program to capitalize on your time and efforts.
This is the final segment in our series on Face-to-Face marketing. Today, we’re focusing on getting you more from the networking events you attend.
Do you take advantage of local Real Estate or business networking events?
People often dread these things and find them pointless and will only attend if they feel it is absolutely necessary.
Our attitude towards these events changed when we learned that we had the wrong mindset and weren’t preparing for them effectively.
Read on to learn how to set goals for networking events, plan conversation topics to break the ice, incorporate techniques to explain your services and generate interest in your business. Lastly, we will share some tips for structuring a follow-up program to capitalize on your time and efforts.
Successful networking events start with setting goals. In your mind, give yourself reasons for going and a way to measure your success afterwards.
- Thanking existing clients for their business
- Meeting with potential new clients
- Land a meeting with a local top producer
- Met and thanked three existing clients
- Met three potential new clients
- Set a meeting with a top producer
For your first few events, set modest goals that will be easy to achieve. As you succeed at your goals, continue to set more difficult or larger goals. Setting and accomplishing goals will help you mentally see the value and success from participating in these networking events.
The next step is to prepare a few icebreaker questions that will lead to productive conversations.
Here are a few recommended icebreaker’s for you to try, and you should also prepare answers for yourself, in case they come back with “…and what about you?”
- What brought you to here tonight?
- Or, why did you decide to come to this event tonight?
This will help you learn their goals for the event. It will also give you an opportunity to share yours.
- What do you do in real estate?
- If they’re an agent what sort of Real Estate do you prefer, representing buyers or sellers?
These questions will help start a conversation about them and their business. It should also lead to questions about your role in Real Estate and you’re purpose for being there.
Now presume it’s a local Chamber Event where there’s a mix of small business owners and business types. You could ask, “What sort of industry are you in?” Then continue by asking them more questions about their industry. People are comfortable when they can talk about themselves or something they know a great deal about. This is a great way to break the ice
The next thing you need to prepare for, is talking about yourself and what you do.
As professional photographers your work can speak for itself, but here you don’t want a conversation closer, you want a conversation starter. Offer something that will lead into a conversation about what you do.
When asked what ‘we do’, we’ll often start by saying “We document space, meaning we go into properties and collect visual and spatial data that we translate into photos, floor plans, measurements, area calculations, and 3D property tours.”
This usually prompts a host of new questions that will take us a number of different directions about iGUIDE.
This answer is particularly powerful because it’s something they haven’t heard before. Something they will remember. It separates us from all the other photographers they know. It makes us memorable.
This response also gives us flexibility to tailor the rest of the conversation to them. If they’re a realtor, we can talk about our value for real estate listings. If they own a local shop, we can explain how our Google business tours are helping local businesses online.
Following up is the most important part, where you translate networking events into real business opportunities.
Following up after a trade show, office presentation, or networking event will be a lot easier if you structure a process that can be followed every time. To follow up you need contact information. So focus on being a card-getter, and not just a card-giver. Getting their information puts you in control of the next steps.
You can tell them that “I would really like to follow up with you, could I get your card?”
- Send them a note.
- Thank them for the conversation.
- Remind them about what you do and give them some information or a web link to learn a bit more about you and what you do.
It’s important that you make your follow up relatable to them and their industry. If your new contact has the potential to be a client, keep your initial follow up friendly and then keep following up, subtly trying to earn their business. If the person you met may not be a direct client of yours, somewhere within their professional network, they know a potential client for you, so give them information they can share.
If you approach networking with a positive mindset, clearly defined goals, a plan for conversations and follow up after the event, you will find them fun and a great way to generate new opportunities for your business.
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