Archive for May, 2012

When I first got started with RTV I naturally introduced myself to the local realtors here in the Sarasota and Tampa area of Florida with a discounted, introductory rate. But as I raised my rates to where I felt they should be…my phone stopped ringing. I wasn’t about to get into a price war with the other local photographers who were so clearly offering an inferior product. So, I’ve been concentrating my focus on the homeowners themselves.

Whenever I get a “pricing” call, it’s easy to hear in the prospect’s voice the uninterested tone as soon as I mention my rates for 6 panoramas plus stills. You can bet even money that they’ve already heard a lesser price from another virtual tour photographer and the prospect figures that all real estate virtual tours are the same.

The key is not to sound like a salesman. Simply talk matter-of-factly
about all the extras we offer that the other photographers don’t. You
see, most prospects haven’t taken the time to actually see any of your
virtual tours before they call. They’re simply going down a list and
looking for the best deal, thinking that all real estate virtual tours
are the same.  

REMEMBER NOT ALL REAL ESTATE VIRTUAL TOURS ARE CREATED EQUAL
and I always make sure that they realize this before they hang up.

“What did you think of our full screen option?” or  “Do you realize that we provide you with a weekly hit report that runs deep.” or “Did you know that our virtual tours rank naturally in the search engines giving you even more exposure?” or even “How did you like the ‘share tour’ feature?” When they admit that they haven’t seen any of the features…you got ’em!!

Most of the time, curiosity will get the better of them and this will stop the prospect in their tracks. That’s when the questions start and all you have to do is send them to your web site. Talk them through one of yoru sample real estate tours, showing them all the extras that the other photographers don’t offer and you now have a genuine interest. Of course, once you’ve sold them, you now have to deliver. Here’s where “over-delivering” really pays off!!

Most prospects will agree to 6 pans but whenever I quote rates, I always mention my rates for EXTRA pans as well. Then, I shoot EVERYTHING!! When I put the virtual tour together, I will from time to time, wind up with a few extra pans. I then send the tour to the client with the extra pans and a message stating that they should let me know which pans to delete…OR…I can simply bill them for the extra pans should they decide to keep it as is.

Guess what? I have never had anyone ask to delete any of the extra pans. A few days later, I receive a check for the balance which sometimes comes out to be double my initial rate.

The best part is this…They do so willingly and happily. How do I know this? Half of my virtual tour business has come from word-of-mouth and continues to grow through recommendations from satisfied customers.

So, let your competition under-cut your price. If you “over-deliver”, it won’t matter. You’ll come out on top and earn the higher rate.

Good luck providers and get ready for Fusion!

Mike Vega
Order a virtual tour: 941-376-5713

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I’ve been doing real estate photography for a while now, and I’ve used a number of the virtual tour software products out there to produce the slide shows and virtual tour images … mostly based on what the agents were using (some have their own virtual tour software or like a particular system, so I learned to work within their business model).

In an ever-changing real estate market, I decided to find a virtual tour solution that would accommodate my own business model, I chose RTV!   After my initial conversation, I knew that RTV would have all the powerful marketing tools that I wanted to incorporate and would give me the flexibility to grow my business.   I had almost forgotten about the convention until I received a blog post about things to come.  Wow !  The types of things that I was interested in adding to my business were all there — and not just that, they were better than I had imagined !

Making the decision to come to the virtual tour convention was an easy one.  Some ‘life’ things changed, and I was disappointed that I would probably miss the convention — but, as luck would have it, they changed again!  Wow, I could go … but no flight, I would have to drive.  No hotel, all the RTV providers had the entire hotel booked.  What to do ?   Wow!  Ben Knorr called me — out of the blue for some follow-up questions I had.  I don’t believe in coincidences!   I told Ben that I was interested in coming but didn’t know what to do about a room.  Right then, on the spot, Ben found me a hotel room at the same rate, got me confirmed and I was on my way.  Thanks, Ben !

Day 1 — Not knowing what to expect, I found a seat and looked around.  Lots of folks with their cameras, laptops, tablets, smartphones …. yep, I’m in the right place.   I thoroughly enjoyed all the sessions that I attended.  The opportunity to go over the new Fusion virtual tour software platform in open forum was a huge help.  I was so excited when the MagicPlan was presented.  That’s what I’ve been looking at and now to find that it’s going to be bundled with the virtual tours takes it over the top !   I have been curious about the spherical virtual tours for some time as well.  I’ve been doing a few walk-thru videos for folks as well as some other “testimonial” videos, and now, being able to bring it all together just knocks it out of the park !  I look forward to hearing more from Ben on all the equipment and software specs.  I don’t want to forget the other training sessions either.  The sales and marketing session was packed full of ideas and things to think about – I took lots of notes – Thanks, Paige Mitts. 

Overall, I took away a lot from the convention and all the participants.  I had the opportunity to compare notes with the folks sitting around me … it was great to hear ideas and share information and compare challenges, notes and experiences.   Needless to say, I left the RTV convention excited !   The drive home gave me time to process my thoughts and ideas.  I was so excited to get started with the new marketing materials, doing a little road show and getting in front of the agents at the various office that I work with, and wowing them all with the new add-ons that I plan on incorporating.

I still have a lot to process, but have been feverishly putting together the elements of my presentation and marketing materials.   I’ve already started with my BNI network group … they are my sounding board and are hearing about the upcoming changes.  I’ve already spoken to the local MLS board and have offered to do a social media lunch & learn for them … just to get the face time to talk about the importance of photography, interactive virtual tours, interactive floor plans and “top of mind”.

I left the RTV convention with new confidence to be able to talk to my clients, and potential clients, and to take my business to the next level.

Thanks for the RTV staff for everything, and thanks to all the presenters for taking the time to share their virtual tour business practices so that we all can learn and grow.

Karen Lawson
Gloucester Virtual Tours
www.DockMasterVirtualTours.com
Order a Virtual Tour:804-694-7586

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I wanted to take a minute to talk to everyone on this beautiful Friday morning about the extreme importance of continual marketing as we go forward with the launch of our new RealTour Fusion virtual tour software system. By now so many of you have seen just how much the Fusion system has to offer and how we are integrating the system itself to be used as a great marketing tool. With powerful items now just a click away such as integrated flyers, exposure engine, video ripper, the gyro enabled mobile tour, and more we’re giving you a huge opportunity to give your customers feel a sense of ‘shock and amazement’ at how far above and beyond your tours are from any other virtual tour company in the world!

But, take aside the things that Fusion does for you and think of how you can get in the game and do some outside marketing of your own. The importance of continual marketing is something so vital; no virtual tour provider can live without it. You may be asking me, “What if I simply don’t have the revenue to pay for marketing?” The good news is there are easy and inexpensive (even free) ways to constantly market yourself that you NEED to be utilizing.

For starters you can start looking for agents that use virtual tour technology on Realtor.com. These agents will be using a variety of virtual tour systems and the good thing is that they already understand the value of the tool.  Start making a list of their names and contact information as you will want to connect with this group of individuals first. 

Secondly be sure that you’re carving out a little time on Social Media. It is one of the MOST IMPORTANT tools you can use today and again this is completely free. Here are some places to go and set up free accounts:
•    Facebook
•    Twitter
•    LinkedIn
•    About.Me

These outlets will give you access to the people in your community that can see your virtual tour business growing as you create interactive virtual media in your community.  You need to be interactive and ENGAGE with the people on these sites, especially Facebook and Twitter. It’s free and will create a larger audience for you as you start pushing virtual tours. I know at a recent trade show that Jim and I attended many realtors stopped by our booth and said, “We see your tours and posts all the time on facebook.”

Another thing I would like to tell you to start doing is a simple thing called Cold Calling. That’s right. Pick up the phone and start calling businesses in your area that you think could use your services. By calling as many as twenty new potential leads a day, you will see results from free marketing that will boost your sales and give you the extra income you’re looking for.  Not sure who to call??  Call people you already know. That’s seriously the very best place to start.  Where do you go to the gym? Who cuts your hair? Your spouses hair? Are your children in a daycare or in preschool? What church do you belong to? How about your doctor or dentist?  A local spa or massage therapist that you go to is great.  Do you know the chef or owner of your favorite restaurant in town?  See there, you already have a list going and we’ve just scratched the surface!

 On top of cold calling, I also suggest that you send out e-mail notifications, or a newsletter.  Start gathering e-mails from people in your area. Businesses that may need your services will have their e-mail addresses on their websites or media outlets and you can compile a very useful list for yourself without paying a cent! Make sure that when you do these free e-mail blasts that you are putting something intriguing and useful in the subject line and not over doing it. Send out a nice e-mail once a month or so.  Try to do it only when you have something truly important to say.  With Fusion you’ll be busy for months to come. You’ll quickly brand yourself in the person’s mind and they’ll start feeling comfortable with seeing you in their inbox.

Social media, cold calls, and e-mailing that I’ve mentioned above are all free! Now, if you want to expand your wallet a little and get more direct results you can always try a few different things for being on a tight budget. Making sure you have eye catching business cards is HUGE! Instead of cold calling, take a day and swing into the establishments you’re looking to target. Drop off your card and engage with them first hand.

You’ll find as you start doing these things that there are so many ways to market and brand yourself that there is really not enough time in a day. As a final note please don’t put all of your eggs in a single basket. Meaning if you’re spending all of your day facebooking or list building or even cold calling you will want to try and spread things out a bit more.

Good luck out there everyone and get ready for launch!

Yours sincerely,

Jason

RTV, Inc
Virtual Tour Software & Digital Marketing Training
http://www.RealTourVision.com
Order a virtual tour today: 866-947-8687

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Thanks Jason, Jacque, Ben and the whole team at RTV for putting on the best virtual tour provider conference in the world.  My trip began by flying from Dallas to Grand Rapids, MI and driving up with my good friends Dawn Frees and Chris.  What amazing people we have as part of the RTV virtual tour network.   Mario Spaghetti -aka Dawn- did an excellent job of driving in the sometimes torrential rain.  On the drive, we were keeping in touch with others in route via the RTV Facebook Fan Page

I was excited to see there were lots of other Disc Golfers in our group.  Thursday evening I ran into Larry Jennings and he and I decided to play at 6am the next morning.  Thanks for bringing the plastic, Larry!  I am not sure if I would have been so excited if I had realized that 6am Traverse City time was actually 5am Dallas time.  Ouch, that 4:45 wake- up call was pretty brutal.  At any rate, Larry and I played 9 holes of disc golf to begin our conference experience on Friday morning.  A most excellent start to the weekend!

Disc golf out of the way, I was ready to be amazed by the new RealTour Fusion virtual tour system training.  I was NOT disappointed.  The Fusion virtual tour system has everything we need to take our virtual tour businesses to the next level –  virtual tour narration, You Tube uploads, flyer creation, exposure engine, lead grabber, 360 x 360 spherical support, full motion video, amazing animated hot spots, and more – this system has it all!  Fusion is going to transform real estate virtual tours, as well as give us a fresh look for those commercial virtual tours.

Next up was Jacque Burke and Gabe Clark discussing the new Tour Track system.  As a career sales person, I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to have a company basically giving you FREE leads.  As part of the RTV network we have the chance to be a part of nationwide contracts, adding to the business of each virtual tour provider. Keep those leads coming, we won’t let you down!

The rest of the weekend was full of valuable information for my Dallas virtual tour company on everything from floor plan creation, Photoshop, photography tips and some really great sales training.  Thanks to Dawn Frees, Donna Bigg, Dale Hart, Chuck Gullet and Paige Mitts for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us.  Something really great happens when you have a bunch of private business owners getting together and sharing what has made them successful.  Jimmy Plessinger and I had a great conversation about his marketing strategies.   I hope to use them to get closer to his 600+ virtual tours year!

Besides the classes, it was great to catch up with friends I met last year and build some new friendships.   One of the things I find difficult about having my own virtual tour business and working from home is that I miss the camaraderie of an office.  You can begin to feel like you are on an island. Besides, some of my best friends I have met by working side by side.  Thanks RTV for giving us a place to get together with other  virtual tour providers and discuss what works and what doesn’t and build new friendships.  The provider network that RTV has provided is a strong group.  I look forward to growing my Dallas virtual tour company,  being a part of the RTV family and building these friendships for many years to come. 

DFW Virtual Tours

Lisa and Michael Castro

Dallas – Fort Worth Virtual Tour Company

www.pro360virtualtours.com
Local – 817-676-7176

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I’ve always been one to try adventurous new things.  I’ve taken lessons to fly a helicopter, followed a mysterious, mumbling Chinese woman into a dark New York apartment because I thought she said she had a good deal on a knock-off watch and against all advice and common sense, even rented a car in Rome.  Why was Traverse City, Michigan so nerve-racking?

It had only been 6 months since I first spoke to RTV. At that time, I would have sworn the conversation was about his Christmas plans and the weather here in Tulsa, but after hanging up, I realized that I had just become a RTV provider and a Tulsa virtual tour provider. Now, I was on my way to RTV’s 2012 virtual tour provider convention.  I imagined a tight-knit group of virtual tour jockeys and photography nerds with cameras dangling from their necks. They would be bursting into laughter at geeky photography jokes with punch lines like, “… not with THAT spherical aberration, I won’t!” Would I be expected to prove my skills at shooting a 360 virtual tour?  Would I be laughed out of the building because I havethe wrong lens? My fear and anxiety grew as the plane got closer.

I walked into the conference room the first morning and found a seat. As the session was about to start,the man next to me made a funny comment in a strong New York accent.  I laughed and he introduced himself as Dale.  I knew that I had at least one friend in the room.  Over the course of the weekend, my adventurous nature came back. I made a point of introducing myself to the amazing and patient Ben, who never once said, “Would you PLEASE stop calling and emailing me with questions!?” like I’d imagined he would.  At the awards banquet, I stalked Jason until he finally got tired of the woman stalking him and got a free moment.When I took the chance to say hello, he actually remembered who I was and where I was from.  (I choose to believe it’s because I’ve totally impressed him, not because I’ve got a memorable last name and bother him with lots of e-mails.)  On Saturday evening, I stepped out of my shy comfort zone and joined the “cool kids” at Zaiky’s.  Had I not gone, I would have missed the opportunity to sit across from Paige Mitts – one of the most talented and lovely women I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  In fact, she was so captivating, I hardly noticed the disgruntled Middle Eastern man throwing a phone at his customers.  (Well done, Paige!)

My flight home was cancelled and I had to spend an extra day in Traverse City; but I was okay with that. I took a long walk through the pretty downtown area, my mind filled with new information and great ideas on how to build my virtual tour business and make it successful.  I also thought about my fellow RTV providers and how generous they had been with their advice, help and patience with the newbies. 

I’ve started another new adventure and the old saying is true, “it’s the journey, not the destination that’s important.” Because of my previous journeys, I can now hover in a helicopter, miss appointments because my crappy knock-off watch stopped running and I’ve had the most wonderful Italian meal at a tiny place I’d never have found had I not gotten lost driving in Rome. And no matter where my virtual tour business ends up, I’ll always remember that the first leg of this journey began in Traverse City, Michigan.

Go RTV!

Jeanine Persichini
Tulsa Virtual Tours
https://www.facebook.com/VirtuallyAmazingMedia
Order a virtual tour: 214-566-5916

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