Stop Leaving Money On The Table


I’m forever taking to my clients about how having a media presence is going to be essential for them in years to come as the way we consume our information is constantly change. Professional video is a part of that change.
Instead of just talking about it I decided to do something different, take my own advice and get in front of the camera.

After 15+ years in this industry I’ve picked up a few things along the way. Here I share my thoughts on why professional real estate photography and professional is essential, together with treating every listing the same regardless of how much commission is in it for you.

If you don’t you’re leaving money on the table and you’re not even realising it.

You can watch the video above or read the transcript below if you prefer.


“Hi everyone, if you don't already know me and we haven't already worked together

I'm Ben and I'm the owner and photographer at shutter speed Studios. I'm a real estate photographer and videographer and I specialize in

everything digital media related for architects, builders, real estate agents & the building game.

I'm constantly telling my clients about how good professional video and branding can be for their business and, to be honest, I've started to feel like a little bit of a hypocrite because I'm telling you guys this but I realized I'm not taking full advantage of it myself.

So now it's time to put my money where my mouth is and get in front of the camera. Well, maybe not my money 'cuz I'm not paying myself to do this but anyway... Before I share my ideas about how premium photography and video can help you and your business we need to do one thing first.

We need to make a promise to each other. I'm going to promise to tell you the truth, and you're going to promise not to get offended by anything that might have to share.

So can we make that promise, because who here watching really just wants me to slap a bunch of frosting on top and tell you what you want to hear versus what you really should hear and what you need to hear?

Okay so if you're on board with that cool.

So here's the deal, as a real estate photographer and videographer I have two jobs. Job number one, I create ideal imagery of listings so that they stand out to such a degree that every possible buyer who's looking for a house like that puts it on their "A-List" of homes to look at this weekend versus having a go on their "B-List" of homes to possibly look at next weekend or very likely never, because so many people find a house in their first week of looking for a property.

Now that's something that you might not be admitting to yourselves but it bears repeating. If your listing ends up on any buyers "B-List" for any reason then you're lowering your chances of getting the best possible results for your client and for yourself.

Think about it.

The only way to really get the highest possible price is what? What's the only way to know that you've got the highest possible price that could be achieved in this market, in this moment today versus 20 years ago or 20 years from now. And not only get the highest possible price but know that without a doubt that you pulled it off.

Well, I'll tell you. You get the world's best buyer on the planet and the world's second best buyer on the planet to walk through that house within a day or two of each other. They'll both decide that they want it and they fall in love with it and they both put in offers and then a bidding war ensues. And when the dust settles everyone knows what the highest possible price for that listing was. You know it, the buyers know it & if they have one the buyer's agent knows it. But most importantly the seller your client they know it too.

So let's look at that a little more closely even. If you've got the world's best buyer through the house and they wrote an offer but they did this solo and there was no second buyer, there was no bidding war, the seller's left just staring at an offer and negotiating with one person.

So what could happen? Well, it might very well be the case that that world's best buyer ends up paying I don't know, $592,000 for that house. Now they would have been willing to pay $600,000 for that house but that extra money would have only shown up in the scenario of a bidding war.

Psychology changes drastically when that auction effect so to speak is in play. People go from "how much can I get this house for to the mindset of oh my god if I don't pull out all the stops here somebody else is going to be living in my house!"

Now that's not a small difference, it's huge! The littlest hinge swings big doors in your business that's really the most important hinge that there really is, whether anybody told you or not.

So this is the bottom line.

You as the listing agent really only have one goal. You've got one job and one very specific job. We can't "control people" so to speak so all you can do is systematically deploy tactics designed to get as many buyers possible through the door of that house and that's it. This is called "stacking the deck"

You have no idea who the world's best buyer is or who the world's second-best buyer is so all you can do is stack the deck in your favour by shoving as many people as possible through that house as you can.

Doing this means you increase the odds that both of the best buyer and the second best buyer walk through that house and then once they do they'll automatically go into their little bidding war. If they're both putting in offers that part takes care of itself, which brings us back to the "A-List" principle that I mentioned before.

You need to do everything you can to get all the buyers out there to put your listing on their "A-List" because that is the thing that stacks the deck in your favour of getting the second best buyer through the door of that house.

And premium real estate photography and video is your biggest fist in the fight to do that very thing, and here's the part that's going to hurt which is why we made that promise to each other right at the beginning.

If you're not choosing the highest quality photography that money can buy to promote your listings you can't honestly say that you are doing everything possible to get the highest possible price for your seller. Because we all know what we all know that 90% of all buyers are making a decision to look at a house based on two things. Number one is the price, and number two is how good does that house look?

That limited ad text that you put in that 300 words that you write that's all beautiful and creative that's not the thing that gets somebody up off the lounge, cancelling kids soccer or football this weekend to go and see that house. The pictures are.

So every single drop of compromise that you inject into the equation in regard to your photography, your media and your marketing. All the reasons that you come up with to cut corners on this, the number one most important thing. The backbone on which all the other marketing efforts that you're going to undertake is built on. Every single bit of compromise that you take in this regard is going to be you choosing to take a step backwards in regard to that main mission you as the listing agent has.

Getting all the buyers to put your listing on their "A-List" of homes to look at this weekend. That's really the truth of the matter.

If you really want to say that you're doing everything that you can to get

the highest price for your sellers, then you start by making sure the photography and media that you use is the best that money can buy and then you work from there on everything else that goes into your marketing campaign.

Now, that's the first thing that I do I help you stack the deck in your favour but the second thing is even more important to you because let's be honest, while every realtor out there will say they're looking out for the best interest of their sellers, a quick look through or domain will show lots and lots of homes with photos that, well, let's say that they're below average.


You know it, I know it, we all know it and that pattern of action it proves one

thing. While Agents has a whole claim to be looking out for the best interests of their sellers, their actions tell a completely different story.

Now, why might this be the case? Well, I think I know why.

One - overpriced listings. So many sellers want more than their house is worth. We all know while most sellers who do this, their agents put the house up for sale and the market kicks them in the guts, they get a reality check.

It's like a tooth getting pulled. But eventually you'll speak to your vendor and they'll come down to reality, get a bit of a lower price and the house sells and the agents get paid. This is as common as the day is long.

We all know it but we also know that some listings, they don't. They never come down and in those cases, any money spent on photos or marketing is a waste again a commitment to brutal honesty when an agent hires me to photograph those listings I get paid and the agent doesn't.

So the agent, they take a loss and it seems that agents are so upset by the idea of losing maybe even $200 that they just skip on the better quality photography because they're worried that might happen and that's fine but since so many agents are taking overpriced listings that scenario plays itself out a lot doesn't it?

Well, I'm glad to see that we're all on the same page and we were on the same sheet of music.

The other reason why they don't hire a professional photographer is that they've got broken thinking. Some version of it is oh it's a hot market, that homes going to sell itself without professional photography and going that extra step, I think that we can all see a hole in that logic.

Sure it may sell in either case, but it's possible that that home would sell for a lot more with professional photography and your job's to actually get it sold for more if you could get it sold for more money. Isn't that the commitment that you're making to your vendor in the first place?

I think we all know that this is something very strong, and it's a very strong possibility that the home would sell for more we professional photos versus not.

There's plenty of articles out there on any real estate blog in any real estate

news site that says professional photography increases the sale prices of homes. There are zero articles saying that they decrease the price of homes.

So if you're really looking out for the best interests of your sellers should you not err on the side of caution, and have professional photography done on every single listing that you can, so you can know that you're not leaving any money on the table that could have been put in your sellers pocket?

And if the home had sold for more money because of the photography like all the articles say I think we all know the answer to that.

Now let's refocus because what I'm here to tell you next is where all the money is made.

The real reason to hire a photographer has nothing to do with selling your listings at all. In fact, I just completely throw that out the window and never think of it again.

From now on until forever the money that you spend on professional photography and marketing has nothing to do with selling that particular house. Instead, that money is going towards selling you and selling your personal brand.

You need to be building a consistent personal brand that screams excellence and quality. You think that sellers aren't looking around on you? Of course they are!

They're looking for someone to list their house and they're looking for someone who's maybe going to go with Aunt Linda because, everybody has an Aunt Linda who's a realtor, but some aren't going to go with Aunt Linda.

Because Linda doesn't believe in doing business with family, because it goes south and it can damage relationships and ruin Christmas dinner for the next decade.

So they're snooping around on, or wherever they see your face and they click through to see your profile page, and what do they see? They see you treating every listing the same.

Does mark down the road see you treating every listing the same?

Mark's house is $400,000. That's likely not going to be the hugest commission for you, and then if you're on a 50/50 split with somebody else in the office sure, maybe it's only $3,000. But I wouldn't step over three grand cash if I found it on the street and probably neither would you!

So does mark or Kelly or whoever, see you treating everybody the same or do they look through your sales history and see that sellers with homes over $500,000 get professional photography and the ones under that price line whatever it might be get a substandard treatment?

Those people get I don't know, the phone photos.

Let me tell you something if you're doing that, if you're treating people different then you better believe that you've lost $3,000 or more in the last 12 months.

Someone who would have listed with you, they didn't list with you. They snooped on you and you failed their test and they moved on. They kept clicking until they found an agent who showed through their personal brand that they treat everyone with the same highest standard of excellence and they found that agent, they picked up the phone they called that agent and you had no clue.

If $3,000 just vanished from our bank accounts tonight you'd be on the phone for days in a panic and rage and screaming at your bank to get the money back and get that problem fixed. But you've already lost that $3,000 in the last year because someone was seeking an agent who showed consistent excellence, and when they came across your profile that's not what they saw they saw favouritism.

The number one reason to hire me over any of my competitors is to solve that problem once and for all.

It takes a lot to get people to reject their own family member if they're an agent and go looking for someone not in their sphere of influence. And once they're there you don't want to lose that person on the profile page

just because you communicate a pattern of showing favouritism instead of

treating everybody equal and at a higher level.

So here's where it gets even better.

Your competition, most of them they're not here. They're not watching

this so they're going to continue to play favourites and if you're not, then

that means that their profile pages are going to be skipped over and pushing all the Marks and the Kellie's of the world into your arms because Mark will keep looking until he finds the person that he or whoever feels will treat them and their listing BEST and they decide to pick up the phone, make that call and make that listing appointment.

So here's the downside and I'll wrap it up with this because I've been talking for way too long.

If you're making these mistakes, if you're not stacking the deck in your

sellers favour with professional photography and video and professional

marketing, so that you can get the world's best buyer and the world's

second best buyer into that house and into a bidding war.

If you are telling the world that you play favourites instead of showing

the world that you treat everybody with excellence, well we all know this but there are already agents who ARE doing pro-grade photography on every single one of their listings even the two-bedroom apartments and this means that you will be the one doing the pushing.

You'll be the one pushing the Marks and the Kellie's of the world off your profile page and into the arms of those particular competitors. You'll be leaving money on the table and you won't even know it.

So if you want to stop the bleeding. If you want to see that this is something that needs to be addressed in your business well guess what, you've

watched me for long enough, I'm right here. Hit the email button or the contact me page on my website or get my contact details here, here, or over here, wherever I put them, and let's make sure that the money that you're entitled to earn THIS year ends up in YOUR pocket and not in the pocket of your competitors.

That's what I'm here to do""

Ben Greaves