Coronavirus and the government’s decisions to force people to stay home and limit their contact with others are presenting unheard of challenges to real estate photographers all over North America. It is becoming obvious that the situation today is not just a slow down of the market. Most of the economic activities are brought to a complete halt, including real estate.
In these increasingly difficult circumstances, the well-known approach of “working twice as hard to get half as far” might simply be not enough, especially in the states where a “shelter in place” policy is implemented. But let’s stop for a second and consider what we can do with the extra time we have if business has slowed down.
In some cases, the best thing you can do is just be there. Reach out and make sure your existing and potential clients don’t forget about you so that when everybody is back to work, they remember you first and call you, not your competitor.
How can you stay top of mind?
Give them a call and see how things are going, chat about the news and gather some intelligence from the market. Personal contact is the most effective way to keep in touch with your clients. Don’t forget about your social media presence. You have more time to engage with your audience and even have the possibility to grow it. It is a soft and unobtrusive way to keep yourself top of mind with your clients. Utilize email to its fullest potential by sending personalized and/or mass emails to your clients with the latest updates from your real estate photography business, especially if you have these updates.
Do you provide more than still photos for clients? Consider expanding your services. At a time when open houses are being canceled and buyers want additional information about the property before they view it in person, it is a great opportunity to expand your offering to provide virtual tours, floor plans, videos, drone photography, even square footage information to gain more clients. These tools eliminate unnecessary in-person contact, follow social distancing rules, and help give sellers peace of mind since people are worried about traffic in their house and the potential for spreading germs.
If you are providing virtual tours, measurements, and drone photography for real estate, you might consider working with companies who are open year-round and not subject to the seasonality of real estate. Property restoration companies, for example, remain open even today and they need to document damaged property and provide information for insurance purposes with a very high degree of detail. Using technology like the iGUIDE allows you to provide high-quality panoramic views of the entire property as well as accurate measurements so the damage can be properly evaluated.
Staying home offers a great opportunity for experimenting and trying new things with your photography. Try different techniques or tricks and tips you didn’t have time to experiment with before. There is no better time than now, and you can start by shooting your own house!
What about upgrading your equipment? The Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of two characters; one representing “danger” and the other “opportunity”. We realize the “danger” component of our time very well, but quite often we miss out on the “opportunity” side. It’s a great time to invest in more advanced equipment and get a solid discount. You can even try negotiating the purchase price. It often works very well during slower economic seasons when everybody is struggling to make a sale.
Stay optimistic and don’t panic, and remember to think long-term. The Coronavirus curve will flatten and people will be back to work. The economy will start growing again and recover. Focusing on the future (instead of the current situation) will allow you to be prepared for when life goes back to normal.
We are going through some tough times right now and there will be inevitable changes in the market, but do not throw in the towel. Even during these unfavorable times, there are ways to develop and even expand your real estate photography business if you are looking for the opportunities to do so. By incorporating even one of the suggestions above you can create a positive impact on your business once life gets back to normal. Be proactive and find ways to benefit from what may be a seemingly bleak situation. And remember how the saying goes? “If life gives you lemons…”