I’ve seen some discussion on how home stagers can achieve more success in their business. Having run one of the most successful home staging companies in the industry (until I sold it in January 2012), I would like to chime in with my advice.
Don’t look for the low hanging fruit, dig in and penetrate your market in a deep way.”
The real secret to building your market is by educating real estate professionals, focusing on the numbers, and creating a beautiful luxurious product that is above your competition.
Someone recently posted that home stagers should focus their business on the real estate professionals who already believe in home staging. If you were like me, you probably wondered, “Where are those agents?” The truth is that while home staging is becoming a real estate trend, it is still anything but common. If you are lucky enough to work in an area where home staging is commonly believed to be a necessary part of business, then you are also in an area with steep competition and most of the low hanging fruit has already been picked (by other stagers). Educating those who don’t already understand the value of staging, but are beginning to see it in media or with other agents provides an opportunity to teach them your ways as well as be seen as the local expert.
Focusing on the numbers is sort of a double sided sword. You must first understand that all sales (and yes, you are in sales now) is about working the numbers. It is unlikely that you will have 100% sales. Learn what your numbers are, find ways to improve the success rate and increase the number of sales calls. Don’t worry, sales calls don’t have to be cold, it just means that you need more opportunities to get in front of potential clients. Think about what you can do to support your local real estate community and get in there. Have your 15 second interview answers ready and have some fun.
When it comes to focusing on numbers, the other side of the sword is about statistics. While it is all well and good to know your national statistics, homegain.com surveys, or your home staging training company’s staging statistics, the most important number is your own. If you’ve never gathered your statistics before, or if you don’t have a great system, RESA just came out with a terrific home staging statistics spreadsheet that you can use free. (I helped contribute to this project, which was exciting because statistics were such a huge part of my business.)
Finally, you need to have a product that isn’t like everyone else’s in order to stand out. If you are using the same rental furniture as everyone else, what’s setting your work apart? Once you find that you offer something that differentiates you from your competition, in service and end product, you won’t worry any longer that your competitors are undercutting your prices. You will have the success that they will want YOU so much that they will pay your rates. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it is happening, all across the country, right now.
Getting on the lips of every single agents who knows what home staging is should be your goal for your market. In Charleston, if you knew about home staging, you knew about First Impressions. Period. The way to be successful is to be the company that is setting the bar. When you set the standards, you run the game. If you want to be in charge, be successful and earn money doing what you love – staging – then you are going to have to break out the shovel and start digging.