In order to become a successful property stager, you need to know how to get home staging clients in order to expand your business and make money. While many stagers have the design skills and creativity to perform their jobs effectively, far fewer possess the business and marketing skills needed to truly excel in this competitive industry.
Client acquisition is surprisingly easy once you know how to do it. However, it takes time and effort to set up your marketing approach and make the connections you will need in order to receive a steady flow of clients from your referral sources. Therefore, each stager must demonstrate the initiative to go out and network themselves efficiently in order to maximize the return on their time investment and minimize the monetary investment that needs to be made in order to increase the size of their clientele.
This tutorial is one in a continuing series offering business lessons for professional home stagers. In this guide, we will look at ways to gain clients and examine the effectiveness of several methods of client acquisition.
How to Get Clients with Referrals
When it comes to acquiring clients as a home stager, the key word to remember is referrals. You will likely receive virtually all your initial clients through referrals from real estate professionals and will then receive a steady stream of continuing customers from client referrals, as well. You must learn to network with real estate agents and brokers, since these people will be instrumental in getting your home stager career off to a good start.
When approaching real estate sales agents and brokers, you must be professional, organized and ready to offer them something to make it worth their time to talk to you. Sending emails or letters will rarely generate results. Instead, it is best to make an appointment to see agents and brokers or try to meet with the entire office during one of their scheduled staff meetings. Once you have their attention, be prepared to show photos of your work, have written handouts outlining why they should recommend you and offer them incentives in the way of a referral fee, as well as an easier sales process, both of which will appeal to any real estate professional.
You can offer to stage some properties for free, or at cost, to demonstrate your skills. You can offer to share your profit with each referring agent. You can also help agents to deal with problem customers and properties by enhancing these homes and working with the owners to facilitate easier sales. Basically, you should consider doing everything possible to earn your way onto a successful real estate team and deserve the trust that they will invest in you. If you can achieve the goal of successful networking with major real estate players, you will be assured of clients for as long as your arrangement is beneficial to the agents and brokers who will recommend you.
How to Get Home Staging Clients with Advertising
Unlike most other businesses, home stagers rarely succeed in getting clients using traditional advertising methods. I have spoken with many stagers who have wasted tens or thousands of dollars taking out ads in local newspapers, on movie screens, in phone books (one of the worst investments ever) and on billboards. While these approaches are good to get the word out that your services are available, they rarely convert into actual clients.
Being an exception to this rule is possible to achieve, however, especially if you are a stager who is taking a different approach, such as helping DIYers to enhance their properties. In this type of business, advertising in competing circles to real estate agents might work, as long as you push an agenda offering design and marketing help to sellers who are going the FSBO route. However, if you make this your mission, be prepared to make some enemies in the real estate sector, so it is a risky proposition to be sure.
I usually recommend saving your money when it comes to advertising dollars and investing time and effort into the networking objectives detailed above. Statistically, you are likely to fare much better than trying to acquire clients all by yourself.
How to Get Home Staging Clients Advice
Remember, you can not succeed in business if you do not have a steady flow of paying customers. This is a blanket truth regardless of your skills or talents. You need work in order to make money. Therefore, you must learn the skills that you will require in order to earn clients from agent referrals. The key to success in this endeavor is multi-faceted:
First, you must sell yourself to agents and brokers. You must look professional, speak professionally and act in a manner that is appealing to these seasoned property experts. Demonstrate your knowledge to them and be sure to tell them how staging will help their business.
Next, you must have depictions available that can show your work and materials that outline how home staging will directly benefit agents and brokers. Many real estate professionals will want to review this material and fact check at their convenience, long after your time spent together, so put everything in writing that you will say in your verbal service offering.
Finally, real estate professionals are very busy people. Be respectful of their time by being short and concise, covering all the main points of your proposed business relationship clearly, but never repetitively. If these people think you are wasting their time during a meeting, you will surely be wasting your time as well, since you will not impress them nor earn their business.
Remember, staging is very beneficial for real estate sales people. Make them understand how you can help them and they will actually want to help you, as well.
In closing, also remember to network with your present clients. Be their friend and make them aware how much staging will help them to sell their properties. Always do a great job and over-deliver on results. You might want to start an incentive program to help clients earn rewards for recommending you, but this is usually unnecessary. If you outperform their expectations, they will want to refer people to you, since you already helped them to achieve a major life goal of selling their property for top dollar. Work hard and you will be rewarded.