In my course, Staging Diva Sales and Marketing Secrets to Boost Your Home Staging Business, one of the more than 80 home staging marketing ideas I share is going to open houses to meet real estate agents.
It’s important to be clear in your own mind about what you’re there for and what you want to accomplish. This will keep you focused and channel your energies in the right direction. Otherwise, you can say the wrong thing and end up with an angry REALTOR® screaming, “get the hell out of here,” as happened to a beginner home stager I wrote about recently.
If you decide to engage the real estate agent in conversation, make sure you aren’t taking time away from possible clients who may be touring the home. While showing up at an agent’s open house gives you a captive audience, you don’t want to seem like you’re taking advantage of that or interfering with what the agent is really there for.
By the way, the agent is REALLY there to not only show that particular home, but more often they’re there to get leads on new clients. That’s why you’ll find real estate agents hosting open houses for another agent’s listing! They’re trying to build up their own contact list and house hunters in their targeted neighborhood is an excellent start.
As a home stager hoping to make a meaningful contact with a real estate agent that may lead to future home staging projects, I recommend that in your conversation, you focus on these 3 objectives:
- Initiating and starting to build your relationship with that agent.
- Demonstrating your own expertise as a home stager.
- Educating him/her about how staging can help the agent make more money.
Let’s explore these 3 objectives in more detail.
1. Initiating and starting to build your relationship with the real estate agent
This is your first face-to-face meeting and you need to make the right first impression by staging yourself first. You should have a professional, and yet conversational-sounding, way of introducing yourself. Practice this a bunch of times in advance so you sound confident when you say it, even if you’re brand new to home staging. For tips on how to prepare this see The Business of Home Staging: What You Need to Start and Grow.
Don’t assume that the agent knows what home staging is or has ever worked with a home stager before.
Even though the term home staging has existed for more than a decade, and the idea that a well decorated home will be more appealing to buyers isn’t anything earth-shatteringly new, you’ll be amazed at how many agents don’t think about it or have never actually worked with a home stager before. It’s up to you to explain who you are and what you do in a clear and compelling way.
Because this first meeting is an ideal opportunity to exchange business cards, you also want to get the agent’s permission to email them helpful tips or your newsletter (you have one right?). This is only the start of your relationship so you need permission to build on that relationship and familiarity in the future. With ongoing communication, when they need your staging services in the future, you’ll still be “top of mind.”
If there isn’t any ongoing communication what can easily happen is that now that you’ve introduced them to the concept of home staging, the next time a project opportunity arises, it may go to your competition who has contacted them more recently.
Personally, I find having a monthly newsletter is the easiest way to keep this communication open. It’s much less scary or intrusive than picking up the phone to an agent to say “remember me?” A newsletter lets you market to them without being pushy or “salesy.” If you’re worried about what to say in a newsletter, check out Staging Diva Chronicles Volumes 1 and 2 that include 24 pre-written staging stories for you!
Next week I’ll continue with objective number 2, Demonstrating your own expertise as a home stager.
Until then, I would love for you to share your thoughts on this article so far. Have you had any success meeting agents at open houses? How did you initiate or build your relationship with the real estate agent you met this way? Were they open to discussing home staging with you? Had they ever used a home stager before?
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Discover the ONLY Home Staging Business Training Program taught by a seasoned entrepreneur who has successfully grown her own home staging business (not as a side-line to selling real estate). With an MBA in marketing and hundreds of home staging clients, internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva, is uniquely qualified to train others how to start and grow a profitable home staging business.