Here's what we covered in this episode (you can jump to the different sections in the video timeline):
0:00 - Intro
1:29 - Idea 1 - raise prices and do commercial shoots
6:09 - Idea 2 - upsell your add-on services
9:41 - Idea 3 - get more real estate clients
11:00 - Idea 4 - change your brand
12:07 - Idea 5 - combine all of these ideas
13:50 - How to learn how to do this
Real estate photographers: How to earn at least 20 percent more
If you’re a real estate photographer, what could you do to earn at least 20 percent more?
I’ve got 5 ideas for you and you can twist and change these as much as you like, but hopefully this gets some ideas going for how you can build your photography business. The ideas I’m going to share aren’t ground breaking, but I’m going to lay out some numbers for you so it’s really clear for you, and sometimes that’s what we need for the lightbulb to go off in our heads and we can finally see how we can use something new in our own businesses, so hopefully that’s what happens for you today.
Now as I said, we’re going to look at 5 ideas for growth, and this first idea has two parts to it.
The first part is easy – raise your prices by 5 percent. Now doing that should not result in you losing any clients. Honestly, no one should leave you for this, so if you keep all your clients and you increase your rate then straight away you’ll be earning an extra 5 percent. So if you were charging $100 then increase your fee to at least $105. If you were charging $300 for one of your packages then you’d increase it to $315.
Of course, you could choose to increase by more than that, and if you’ve positioned your business the right way then a larger price increase should be absolutely possible for you. So maybe you increase by 10 percent or 20 percent or whatever fits for your business.
But I wanted to keep this low, so I’ve gone for just 5 percent and I think that’s achievable for any photographer who is already delivering good quality work.
The second part to this model is to seek to do one high-value commercial shoot for every 50 real estate shoots you do. So by a commercial shoot I mean a photo shoot for a business that is not real estate, so something like a builder or an interior designer or something like that. And I suggest 1 in 50 as just a ballpark figure, but you could aim for a higher or lower ratio if you wanted to.
So let’s say you charged $1500 for that one commercial shoot. And let's say in the last 12 months you did: 300 shoots at $200 each which equals $60,000. If you were to grow by 20 percent then you’d be earning $72,000, so that's our goal based on these numbers.
So if you were to do part one of this idea and increase your fee by 5 percent, then in the next 12 months you'll do 300 shoots at $210 each, which brings you to $63,000.
Then if you do 1 commercial shoot for every 50 real estate shoots then 300 divided by 50 equals 6 commercial shoots, and if you charged an average of $1500 for each of those, then that’s another $9000 in revenue for you.
So the total is: $63,000 in real estate shoots + $9,000 in commercial shoots equals $72,000 in sales.
There's 20% growth.
But, maybe you’re wondering if you can do that. So if we look at part one where you increase your real estate photography fee by 5 percent, that should be something all of you can do.
The second part is a little harder, because that’s where you need to get 6 clients over the next 12 months to do a commercial shoot with you.
How do you get those commercial clients?
That’s something I talked about in a previous video, so you’ll want to check that out for more, but the basic framework for getting commercial clients looks like this:
Step 1. Position your business for what you want to charge.
Step 2. Consider your business name and make sure it's appropriate. If you want to be chasing architectural clients then you probably don't want to be called Something Real estate Photography.
Step 3. Be confident in how you'll shoot a commercial project.
Step 4. Build a portfolio so you have something to show those commercial prospects.
Step 5. Share appropriate content on social media so they can see the kind of stuff they want for their own business.
Step 6. Have a professional website that aligns with what you want to charge.
Step 7. Rank on page 1 in a Google search so you're getting organic traffic from people looking for a photographer like you.
Step 8. Go through my marketing process where you start by identifying your prospects, you’ll connect with them so they’re aware of who you are, you’ll follow-up with them repeatedly so they trust you and become familiar with you, and eventually you’ll make an offer for them to work with you.
If you do all of that then you’re going to get commercial clients because you’re presenting yourself as a photographer that works with businesses in those industries, and you’ve got quality images to back yourself up.
So that’s one idea, but what else could you do if you want to grow by 20 percent?
The second idea is where you very intentionally upsell your add-on services like a video tour or a matterport or whatever else you offer.
So what you want to do here is find out how many units of whatever it is you do you would need to sell to grow by 20 percent.
To do that you take your current turnover and you multiply it by 1.2.
So if you earn $45,000 and you want to grow by 20 percent, then $45,000 multiplied by 1.2 equals $54,000. So in that example, you need to earn an extra $9000.
Next up, you take the average price of your add-on service, and let’s say it’s $250. So then you take that value that you want to grow by, which might be $9000, and you divide it by your add-on service fee, which might be $250, and that equals 36 sales per year that you need for your add-on service to grow by 20 percent.
So now you know how many units of your add-on service you need to sell, now you need to know how frequently you need to get that upsell.
So how many shoots do you do in a year?
Let’s say you do 250 shoots per year, so then we take that value of 250 and divide it by the number of add-on units you need, which might be 36. When we do that we get a value of 6.94, which means you would need to upsell about 1 in 7 of your photo shoots to the add-on service, at a value of $250 each, to grow by 20 percent.
Now that you have those numbers, you know exactly how you’re going and you can track your performance. So what I would do there is I would monitor each shoot you do and track in real time how often you can upsell your clients to an add-on service. So you might see that over 1 month you did 21 photo shoots but you only got 1 upsell instead of the 3 you are aiming for, which suggests that you need to change your process somewhat.
Does that make sense? I mean, you could do this and not track your numbers, but then you’re kind of going along blind. You might think you’re doing enough extra services because you feel busy, but you might actually be falling behind but you wouldn’t know it unless you get really specific about tracking everything you do.
So maybe now you’re thinking, how do you upsell?
It’s not that hard to do. First of all, you need to create a great product. So if you’re doing video, make sure the video is awesome. If you’re doing floorplans, make them amazing.
The second thing you need to do is to proactively sell the benefits of using the product in a well-rehearsed script. Your clients aren’t going to buy any of those add-on services if they don’t understand how they help them and the benefits they get from them, so you need to get clear on how your products help your clients and then script it just like they do at your local fast food restaurant.
Now this might sound really foreign to some of you, but planning things out and getting detailed on the numbers, that’s where the profits are for you.
What’s another idea that could help you grow by 20 percent?
Well, something else you could do is to invest in marketing and expand your client base to get more real estate clients working with you.
So if you keep your prices the same, then if you want to grow from $60,000 per year to $72,000 per year then you would need an extra 60 photo shoots at $200 each.
What does that translate to in terms of clients?
Well, if each client brings you an average of one listing per month then you would only need five new clients. Now obviously not all clients are equal and there are some that only do one or two listings per year, so I wouldn’t bother chasing after them. Go after the agents that do a little more volume because they’re the ones that will bring you more value.
So, how do you get 5 clients? For that I’d use the process I've outlined previously, so have a look at my video on marketing for real estate and architectural photographers - you can find it on my website or on my social channels. You can then scale that process up as big as you need to grow by 20 percent or more.
So what’s next? Well, the fourth thing you could do is to change your brand and work on your communication so that you look like you should be charging much more than you do.
So what we’re talking about here is making changes to all of your visual content, such as your website, social media channels, business cards and other print material, so we’re talking about changes to the look of what you deliver but also changes to your messaging so that you sound like a high-level service, but it could also involve changes to your booking process and maybe your deliverables as well.
So perhaps you need to upgrade the quality of your photos and videos, but at the very least you would change your brand so that you are positioned at a different level to where you are now.
It’s hard to say what that could do in terms of specific numbers, but a small change could result in 10 percent growth, but a bigger change could see you grow by 50 percent or even 100 percent or more if you really get this brand redevelopment right.
I’ve got one more idea for you. Let’s say you want to grow by a lot more than 20 percent. Well, if you were to implement all of those ideas, and if you could:
• Increase your photography fees by 5 percent
• Add 1 commercial shoot for every 50 real estate shoots
• Upsell as many add-on services as you would need to grow by 20%.
• Grow your base of real estate clients by 20 percent
• Change your brand that results in growth of 10 to 50 percent or more.
Now that's a lot of work but if you were to do all of that, and let’s say you’re earning $60,000 per year, then:
• Increasing your fee by 5 percent adds $3000.
• Adding extra commercial shoots adds $9000.
• Upselling to your add-on services adds $12,000.
• Growing your base of real estate clients by 20 percent adds $15,600, assuming you’ve also increased your fee by 5 percent.
• Change your brand and grow by a further 20 percent which is another $15,000 based on the old figures.
When we add all that up, then that would take you from $60,000 to about $115,200, which equals 92 percent growth. And again, you can tweak those numbers all sorts of ways to get even larger growth numbers.
So there are 5 different ideas you can use, and of course you can mix and match those in whatever way works for you. But I also know that you may not yet be in a place where you can do all of that. So you might be wondering - How will you get this done? How will you learn of this stuff?
Basically there are two options when you want to learn and grow as a business owner:
One way is to learn from experience. So you try something, if it doesn’t work you try it differently next time, and hopefully you stay in the game long enough that you figure out how to do it. The cost for that way of learning is your time – it takes time to get those skills and learn what processes work for you.
The other way is to learn from others who have gone before you. Now the cost there is a financial one where you’re paying that person to teach you what they know, but the big advantage is you’re going to get to where you want to be much, much quicker and then you can earn more sooner. It’s like having Google Maps to guide you, versus just driving around and figuring out how to get to your destination by taking one street at a time.
So those are your options and if you want to grow, you’re going to have choose one way or the other – you either learn from experience or you learn from others.
If you like the idea of learning from someone then that’s basically what I do with photographers all around the world, so send me a message if you want to find out how I might be able to help you. Just so you know, I don’t work with too many people so spaces are limited, but you’ll never know unless you try so let’s have a chat.