Why Builders Must Use Professional Photography
Increase Sales & Conversion
A common problem I find with local Kiama, Wollongong and South Coast builders that I speak with on a regular basis is their ability to convert their existing quotes into builds and also attract bigger projects than they currently do.
Take a look around and you'll easily see there's a lot of land releases happening all around us. Shell Cove, Cedar Ridge, Cedar Grove, Calderwood Valley.... these are just a few that spring to mind. This means now more than ever you will be quoting on jobs and the chances are that you will be spending a lot of time doing it. Converting this large effort on quoting into new builds for yourself and your team is essential to the success and growth of your building company.
Not only should you be wanting to increase your conversion rate on your current quotes you have in the pipeline but you should be looking to take advantage of the increase of available work and attract bigger and much more profitable projects.
So how do you do this?
You're no doubt probably asking yourself, why and how can professional photography help you to achieve this goal. I've been asked this question more times than I can remember. We all know the old cliché that a picture can tell a thousand words. It's cheesy and cringe worthy, but it's also true. Especially when you work in a visual field, which building is.
The problem you have is explaining to your clients how good you and your services, quality etc are and convey this message effectively to the prospect and making them believe you. This is the million dollar answer. If only they knew what you knew about how happy and lucky they would be to use you.
The problem is you don’t know how to convey this message properly.
Famous researcher and author on the topic of influence Robert Cialdini talks about this in his book "Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade" where he mentions the power of proof and social proof in order to win the trust and influence of your prospects.
Trying to tell your clients how good you are compared to using pictures as proof pales in comparison of the power of using real proof to impress and press upon your client your credibility. And that right there is what you need to attract work. Credibility.
Combining striking image of your work with the use of social media to gain access to the power of social proof is a hugely important strategy in your attraction and conversion sales strategies.
For example on Facebook or Instagram simply by tagging your clients into the images of their newly built house will elicit comments of positive feedback comments about your services which you can document and use in your quote conversion sales process.
Marketing Yourself - Social Media
There are many social media platforms that you can use to elicit such behaviour and get your services out virally to your clients and their friends and friends of friends. Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, twitter etc are all of great use in this area. You need to be whereever your clients are and where their friends are, so make sure to post of all the options you have and do you best to connect to your clients to show their house being built on all the platforms at once to cover all their friends. No doubt you know the old saying 'be pro-active not re-active'
Marketing Yourself - Images On Your Website
Your website is arguably your most powerful marketing tool in your sales process and unfortunately builders' websites are one of the biggest areas I see room for improvement. And it's completely understandable why.
Websites are not easy and they require constant work to make them work for you. When I ask builders about their website most of the time they have no idea what part it is playing for you. It usually all happens when your not around.
One thing I can promise you, every prospect you have dealt with is visiting your website and looking around your site. They're doing a background check and it's increasingly becoming a big part of what your client thinks of you. Remember when I was talking about your "brand" in the 7 Biggest Mistakes document I made? (What? You haven't read it? well get a free copy HERE )
I'll address this in detail elsewhere on the site but what you need to know is that all your potential clients are going through your site to find proof that you;
do you what you say you do
do what they want you to do
do what they want you to do and do it well
get proof from others that you can do what they want you to do and do it well
Professional photography plays a huge part in doing this for you. So it goes without saying that it's important for you to build up a significant portfolio of photographic proof to show your prospects what you have done in the past, showing what your capable of doing, showing the quality of the workmanship on your projects.
Builders often tell me that they decided not to photograph some of their projects because they didn’t like the colour scheme’s their client chose for their house. For me, (obviously I might be biased here) it seems pretty clear to me that this is a crazy decision to make simply for the one fact that your assuming your tastes are the tastes of your prospect. Even though your last customer simply had a taste very different to yours, who's to say your next prospect wont also have a taste different to yours and potentially be attracted to what your past clients chose?
Brand & Setting Your Standards
The problem for many residential builders out there, they don’t put a lot of weight into the power of creating a stong brand (there's that word again. See a trend growing yet?). They see it as getting a logo and that’s about it, but in my opinion and the opinion of professionals paid hundreds of thousands a year, setting your brand is not just about getting up your logo onto your website and your cars. It is far more than that.
Your brand is about setting your standards at a level of quality in accordance with the level of quality of clients that you want to attract
If the standard you have set for yourself is having a crappy $300 template website that looks like its come from the 90’s with photographs that you have taken yourself then quite simply you’re setting yourself up for attracting smaller projects and to be constantly competing on price. Because that is the standard your clients are expecting from you.
Therefore its important to realise that you need to set your standards much higher than this, to attract prospects that expect quality and are willing to pay for it. One good way to do this is with professionally photographed and re-touched images of ALL of your projects.
Notice I didn't say photo's. Anyone can take a photo. If I give my 12 year old nephew a camera he can take a "photo". What you need are images that will sell you, sell your brand and wow your prospects and set your standard into the highest bracket you can afford.
If you want to really impress them, then we can start looking at video as a marketing tool. But more on that later. If you're not using professional photography, you won't even consider professional video.
Combining the power of professional photographed images of your projects to accompany the strength of your brand is a no brainer. But when you combine this with your sales and conversion process and your quotes to increase your credibility and proof plus also social proof to your clients your on a winning combination to earn the respect of your prospects and separate yourself competing on price with your competitors.
I've said it before, your prospects are often making the decision to build with you or not prior to them even meeting you, and potentially even during the hours you spending to quote on projects. Why waste all your time on quoting projects you were never going to win in the first place because you brand and the images your using has already made the decision for your prospect that they’ll likely not use you,
simply because the impression you’ve made early on during “the time when you need to prove yourself” has already taken you out of the race.
Don’t make this mistake!
Make sure every aspect of your brand, website and the photographs you use to set the standards for yourself and attract the projects you deserve to be building.