Whether you’re a “yenta with flair”, a certified interior designer or a seasoned staging professional, consultations are the lifeblood of your business. It’s not just how you get more business, and how you demonstrate your skill to a new realtor, it’s money in your pocket with NO EXPENSES against it. Your only cost is your time. You’re making a big mistake if you don’t have everything in place to knock off 2 or 3 of these each and every week you’re open for business!
Today, I want to share with you my admiration for a stager who has taken the consultation part of her business and kicked it up A LOT!! You’ll be saying “BAM!” every time you hear her name after you read this, too!!! 🙂
Michelle Molinari of Feature This Dot Dot Dot, started out as a Benjamin Moore paint consultant. To help dithering customers clueless about which beige would work in their space, Michelle taught herself how to work a little piece of software Ben Moore was retailing for $10 (no more, sadly) that would show you what YOUR room would look like in each shade.
Since it is ALWAYS easier to show people rather than tell folks what’s what, Michelle noticed not only how much faster she was able to help people make up their minds, but also that she now had overcome a curious language barrier. Olive green to you means a different olive green to me; we can’t help it; it’s part of where we’ve been in life. (e.g. supermarket olives in a jar vs. the trees in Greece…different hue altogether!)
Molinari stopped describing and started depicting.
Now as a successful Louisiana home stager, Michelle has exchanged her little paint program for the more sophisticated Better Homes and Garden Picture Painter, which can adjust for lighting condition. Before every consultation, Michelle asks each homeowner for current photos of their primary rooms.
“They’re always happy to send them along”, she says, “no-one has ever refused me.”
She reviews what she thinks needs to be done, and creates a possible look. Then as she heads to the consultation itself, she’s loaded for bear!
“This is your house now: this is your house neutralized.”
People GET it immediately! Because they can SEE it. Can you imagine how much simpler it is to get staging gigs this way?
Or wouldn’t most folks be able to do it on their own now? Certainly, and Michelle doesn’t mind if they do. She charges accordingly, and provides massive value – with not just pictures, but detailed lists of the repairs, enhancements and rearrangements she recommends. . . like a kit.
It’s a win-win! Michelle is handsomely paid for her time. The Do-It-Yourself-ers can head happily into the sunset with a well-crafted roadmap, and those who are totally overwhelmed can see exactly what they’re paying for!
Now Michelle’s software of preference Picture Painter is no longer available. Yet the software company has a new version that is available called Home Designer Interiors 2012. You can download a copy for as little as $79.
Would you spend $79 once to make $350 x 3 or 4 or 5, every week you want to work? Yes, you’ll have to learn the software, but it’s built for ordinary homeowners and you can do this. For an extra grand a week, I’m sure you can do this just beautifully!
Some people call this Virtual Staging, and use these pictures in lieu of staging. For Michelle Molinari, it’s Conceptual Staging, illustrating the concept of staging for all the parties involved.