Archive for May, 2007

A year ago we received a call from a competitor, stating that he may be referring about 6 tours our way per year. It seems that some of his agents feel it necessary to be able to see out the windows, and with his One Shot Lens system that’s not possible.

Imagine that….calling us because you can see out the windows! Well, he’s right, of course. One-shot systems can be (grossly) compared to taking a photo of the moon: Half is daytime, half is nighttime. Windows are blown-out (overexposed) because the camera doesn’t know what to do. Our technology is known for its crystal-clear window shots, crucial when shooting the nearby Columbia River.

Those 6 referrals grew to well over 50 in a year and counting. The competitor has tried unsuccessfully to become a Real Tour Vision virtual tour provider in our town, turned down because we have the area saturated.

Check out the available technology, compare the differences, and then decide. We can help.

Dawn Shaffer
All About Virtual Tours
www.allaboutvirtualtours.com

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Hello Virtual Tour Providers, Panorama Jack here. It’s a fact that when you’re out there building 4-10 virtual tours a day you need a little something here and there to keep you fired up. It is also a proven fact that putting some spicy food into your diet each day stems off appetite. These fire crackers below are sure to keep you fit, trim and and moving quickly from scene to scene. They also make a great ice breaker or talking piece when you’re on site shooting a 360 virtual tour. Enjoy!

Panorama Jacks Hot Fire Cracker Snack

Ingredients:

Large box Saltine Crackers
1 1/3 cups Canola Oil
2 T Red Hot Pepper Flakes (to taste) OR Parmesan Cheese
1 package of dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

Directions:

Put crackers in a Gallon Jar.
Mix together Oil, Pepper Flakes (or Parmesan Cheese), and Dressing.
Pour over crackers.
Move jar from side to side so oil gets into crackers.
Let crackers dry and enjoy!

–Jack

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Think good photos and an accompanying 360 tour don’t make a difference when selling a property? Think again.

An recent article appearing in the Nashville Tennessean Newspaper supports the return on investment to be realized from the utilization of a virtual tour – emphasizing quality of photos as a key necessity successfully sell a property –

GOOD PHOTOS and VIRTUAL TOURS…”It’s everything,” says Trish Woolwine, a broker with Fridrich & Clark about posting good Internet photos. Last year she sold a house to a California couple, sight unseen, based solely on the Web photos. “People see the houses on the Internet, and a lot of them have told me if there aren’t a lot of pictures they just pass that one over and go to the next. You have to compete, and you need to have the best pictures you can — and as many as you can — and just really showcase that property.” If yours don’t make the grade, potential buyers may never knock on the door. When the home looks photogenic and the professional-looking photos are posted online, sellers will reap an important benefit: Eliminating people who aren’t serious about buying. And that means you don’t have to pack up the family and leave every time someone wants to check out your digs. – Curb Appeal Moves to the Internet – The Nashville Tennessian – 05/20/07.

As the article states – “Potential buyers may never see house if pictures fail to impress”
This is why more and more successful real estate agents are turning to a professional online marketing expert and virtual tour provider to provide their listing shots and virtual tours.

Here is the full article: FULL ARTICLE

Quality Counts!
Jason Bennett
Nashville Virtual Tours & Photography
http://www.nashvtp.com

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Since 1997 BakerB Solutions (www.bakerb.com) has been providing technology marketing and business consulting solutions to our clients. About 6 years ago (during the real estate boom, my wife and I decided to sell our house. We were originally going to use a trusted Realtor(R) when I decided to give selling our home a shot myself. I told the agent that if I couldn’t sell it with all of my marketing skills within two weeks, that the listing was hers.

That week I took a series of still photographs of our home and created a “mini” website for the house. This was before virtual tours were really overwhelming in our market. The first weekend the house was on the market I sold it for $20K more than the asking price. The buyer was from out of town and his cousin had come through right before the open house ended. He called his cousin and gave him the web address I put together. After looking at the pictures and description online, he flew in the next day and bought the house. At the same time, during the open house I picked up 4 new clients that were real estate agents. Overall the experience changed the face of the company and I didn’t even know it.

After working with my new found real estate clients assisting them with their marketing, I began to earn a solid reputation for results and new ideas that worked. I also watched what was happening in the industry and saw an encouraging trend regarding virtual tours. So much so that one of the TOP local brokers asked me to assist them with some technology marketing for their entire brokerage firm (over 100 people). One of the tasks on the agenda was to identify the best virtual tour software available.

With my 10 years of prior experience in the telecommunications industry as a geek, entrepreneur that grew a thought into a $14M start-up to be sold to Real Networks, I knew a thing or two about what he was looking for. At the end of my search I recommended Real Tour Vision and encouraged the broker to hire their own photographer and bring the capability in house. He decided he did not want to have the ongoing overhead of the human resource. On an impulse I offered to do it for him. We came to a mutual agreement at a price that competed with CirclePix (the least expensive virtual tour company in our market). The difference is that CirclePix offered a “Single Scoop” solution (to use an ice cream analogy), whereas I was offering a “Triple Scoop” for less.

After a year of offering that service I raised my rates to nearly double that of CirclePix, but maintained my client’s loyalty. What made this possible was delivering a high quality solution with unmatched customer service. We both knew going into the agreement that things would change as we went along because we were both discovering how this new venture would work. And at the end of the first year I not only raised my rates, but also added photographers to the business so I could “shift gears” (as mentioned in an earlier Blog). I stared marketing to other brokers and now am the only Interactive Virtual Tour Company that is part of the Long and Foster Home Service Connections program, along with serving many other large national to and small local brokers in our area.

The virtual tour business has enabled me to grow beyond offering websites and business consulting and has even introduced other facets of the business to those same real estate clients from before. But now instead of managing a couple hand full of clients, my repeat customer base is over 200 active agents! Who knew the power of the virtual tour could be so strong? Who knew that with outstanding customer service coupled with Real Tour Vision technology that such a thriving business could be elevated so quickly with so many HAPPY customers? I had no idea when I was selling my house that this would be the case. And I have Real Tour Vision to thank for enabling this rapid growth!

Alex Saenger
BakerB Solutions
Interactive Virtual Tours
& Marketing Specialists
www.BakerB.com

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I recently called upon one of our virtual tour providers to see how things were coming along. We regularly email or calls to providers to see what is happening on the front lines of the virtual tour industry. Often during a call, a Real Tour Vision provider will also ask their sales rep how to handle specific objections they are facing in the field. Real Tour Vision uses this phone time and emails with our providers to help educate as well as gain direction for our future developments.

It was during one of these phone calls that the virtual tour provider stated that the people in their town only use virtual tours on upper end homes and not on any of the others. The virtual tour provider was not yet able to break into more than a handful of tours each week.

What follows are some good reasons a real estate agent should provide or at least offer a virtual tour of every listing. These are some facts that you should arm yourself with and be prepared to use them if you are faced with objections. As a provider for Real Tour Vision or any other virtual tour company it is your responsibility to educate the real estate agents in your market. You must become the local online marketing expert that they look up to. Dive right in and start giving them the straight talk and facts that will sell more tours.

When a prospective home seller is seeking out a real estate agent would you like to get their business? If you would, then you should show them from within your online storefront aka “Your Website” that you care enough about each client to do a virtual tour of every listing.

Are you really prepared to explain to a client of yours that they don’t get a portion of your treatment that the “Jones’s” get because their home is not worth enough? I don’t know anyone who would take that very well. People like to feel important and if you make them feel any differently you WON’T get a referral.

Do you really want that level of inconsistency on your website? Ask yourself, “Who is the online you?” If the online you is supposed to be somewhat like the “In-Person You” you should strive to be consistent in what you do and how you market yourself.

Think GREEN! Showing homes all day long only to have an immediate “No!” when you pull in the driveway is not exactly the best way to spend your time or money. It is a HUGE waste of gasoline and our natural resources. Imagine for a moment if all real estate agents used some form of a virtual tour. How much gas would we save? How much time would we gain to sell more homes?

You have the palm pilot. You have the computer. You have the cell phone. You have all these tools that make your life more efficient and save you time yet you don’t fully embrace virtual tours which would save you countless hours each month.

Point blank. It is a proven fact that nearly everyone gets online to shop for a home these days before they even pick up the phone to call you. Online shoppers enjoy looking at virtual tours. Just over half of American adult internet users (51%) have taken virtual tours of another location online, up from 45% in a previous Pew Internet & American Life Project survey in November 2004. So what are you waiting for? Start using a virtual tour on every home you list and not just the upper end homes.

These are all great facts to load into your aresenal of objection busters. Good luck out there!

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