Professionals Share Their Knowledge - Amateurs Hoard What Little They Know
A couple days ago, I was sitting in my Madeline Island real estate office at the computer when I noticed that one of my area competitors was standing outside our building, staring at our property listing sheets on display. She spent quite a long time there and in particular it looked like she was gazing at our property flyers (with multiple large color photos).
I waited quite awhile, then stuck my head out the door and asked if I could help her. She walked into the office and asked me, point blank, "how do you take those big color photos?"
She deserves credit for asking. And I was glad to give her some pointers about wide-angle photography. She said "I don't have thousands of dollars to spend on cameras and lenses". I replied that there are ways to get great results without spending top dollar, and I mentioned that I teach courses in real estate and architectural photography. I gave a condensed version of my photo course in March of this year, at a CRS regional meeting in Chicago, and the portion about photography for virtual tours was a hit. I received half a dozen emails from agents who attended that mini-course, asking me for more information.
This wasn't the first time that a fellow Realtor has asked me "how do you do that?" Just about two weeks ago, I received a phone call from an agent in Boston, Massachussetts who had been perusing my blog and looking at our TourFactory virtual tours, as well as our listing videos on YouTube. During the twenty-minute phone conversation, I introduced him to Microsoft PhotoStory and gave him some tips about using ultrawide lenses or photo stitching to create panoramic views of a property.
It's flattering when colleagues, whether local or from halfway across the country, ask how you do what you do. To an extent, it validates what you're putting into your real estate marketing and tells you that you must be doing something right. Another of my Madeline Island competitors recently made the comment to me that my photos of an Island log home "make the place look so warm!"
A friend asked me why I share marketing "secrets".
In the first place, there's nothing secret about photography (and real estate photography isn't rocket science). Photography is a hobby of mine and that means I take the time to learn from others, whether it's on the Web or by word of mouth.
People who refuse to share their tips and techniques are pretty sad. They're hoarding what they consider this little treasure trove of what they perceive to be "valuable" information (which will likely become obsolete within a year or two). Holding back on information just makes them look paranoid. Pros aren't insecure about sharing what they do and how they do it.
Sharing your marketing techniques with a colleague is no guarantee that they'll ever be able to duplicate your results. And sharing means trading information with others. It's a matter of give and get. It's one of the reasons why I teach other real estate professionals. Teaching is some of the best networking you'll ever do in this business.