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.
When you 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 realtor is really there for.
The agent is hosting a public open house to show that particular home AND to get leads on new clients who may be selling or buying.
That’s why you’ll find real estate agents hosting open houses for other agent’s listings! They’re trying to build up their own contact list— and meeting 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 you focus on these 3 objectives in your conversation:
- 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, 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 Course 2, The Business of Home Staging: What You Need to Start and Grow.
Don’t assume that the real estate agent knows what home staging is, or has ever worked with a home stager before.
Even though home staging has existed for more than 15 years, and the idea that a well decorated home is more appealing to buyers isn’t earth-shatteringly new, you’ll be amazed at how many agents don’t think about staging or have never actually worked with a home stager before!
It’s up to you to explain who you are, and what home staging is, 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 first meeting at the open house is only the start of your relationship with the real estate agent.
You need permission to build on that relationship and familiarity in the future. With ongoing communication via a newsletter, when they need your staging services in the future, you’ll still be “top of mind.”
Without ongoing communication, you could pave the way for other home stagers to get hired by this agent.
Imagine if the agent hasn’t heard from you in months and they suddenly have a client who needs a home stager. If your competition contacts them close to when they need staging, the agent may call them instead of you, because you’re no longer “top of mind.” This would be a real shame especially if you’re the one who got them interested in home staging in the first place!
Personally, I find 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 a realtor to say “Hi, 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, or you’re not a writer, check out Staging Diva Chronicles Volumes 1 and 2. They include 24 pre-written staging stories for you!
I’ll continue this series with objective number 2, Demonstrating your own expertise as a home stager.
Please 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?
Debbie Fiskum says
Great tips! Agents can be a good source of your new home staging jobs so it’s wise to build relationships with them. If I know some are having an open house, I may offer to help them in any way.
I’ve also offered to do open houses for agents but so far no one has taken me up on this opportunity. Anyone have any experience doing these for realtors?
Debbie Fiskum, Perfect Transformations Home Staging, Denver
Debra Gould says
Debbie, As far as I know, in North America only a licensed real estate agent can actually host an open house.
Often a less experienced agent (or one with no listings of his own), will offer to host the open house for another agent’s listing as a way to get new client leads from those visiting.
Sue Barry says
You are absolutely correct about only licensed agents are allowed to host an open house. Open houses are done to obtain new leads,as you mentioned Debra, as well as entice an offer on the house being shown. It makes no sense to give that away to someone not in RE:)
Love you site!!! Very professional.
Debra Gould says
Thanks for your input and feedback Sue, much appreciated!
Leigh Love-mayer says
Last week I walked into a neighborhood open house and introduced myself to the Realtor. He immediately called the home owner who was lingering in the kitchen and told her a Home Stager was here!
Turns out she had called two others, and neither returned her calls. She was so excited I was hired on the spot to return after the open house!
After this success, I stopped by another offered by the same Realtor, but attended by another in his office. This house had the most beautiful accessories and artwork I have ever seen, but that was all I could see.
The agent asked for my thoughts and I shared the HS concept and why no one could see the horse for the wagon so to speak. I left him several business cards and was called that evening and hired by the home owner.
I’m so excited as my business seemed to be taking off!!!! Both home owners were very excited afterwards and the Realtor was able to see what a difference it made.
Thank you Debra for the amazing training you have provided!
Debra Gould says
Leigh, thanks so much for sharing your awesome experience! Congratulations on those successes, I know they will inspire others.
Isn’t it interesting that two home stagers didn’t return the calls of a potential client?! I hear that more often than I can say which is why so many people contact me directly to find them a stager in their area.
Also appreciate your feedback to the Staging Diva Program! Keep up the great work!
Loi Diaz says
You just hit the nail on the head and I finally figured out why I am so reluctant to go to Open Houses: while I am a friendly person, and I might have a captive audience in an open house, the last thing I want to be is intrusive, pushy, and a pest when the realtor has other things to do. Am really looking forward to hearing about Parts 2 & 3.
Peggy Wilcox says
This is a great post. I’m excited about finding open houses near me!
Also, I think when you said “stage yourself first” that should include how we dress, what we are carrying etc.
Looking forward to parts 2 and 3.
Debra Gould says
Hey “Simply Swanky” Peggy,
Thanks for commenting, I totally agree with you about what’s included in staging yourself!
Janine Baird says
I am new to homestaging, I started the Staging Diva training courses. Today I visited a couple of estate agents, but did not get past the door. As I looked at the number of empty houses for sale and others that were full of clutter, I realised that the £1m+ houses, did not look like they were worth a million pounds in the current presentation, and did have a vision if not a little rough round the edges, of how to tackle the houses. i started to practise a pitch in my head but could not dare to go in and ask them anything, as I was dressed the wrong way, and do not feel I have a confident pitch. I am interested in this article you wrote, as it relates to what could have been a very bad move, had I gone in and spoke to anyone they would have known I was a novice. I dont want to get off on a bad footing with potential connections in my industry.. Meanwhile, I will improve my wardrobe and learn what to say..Maybe if I take them newspaper clippings (solid proof) of how Homestaging can make the agent more money? However today I realise that If I want to look professional, I need a business card to pass on to them also. Without this, how the heck are they supposed to use my services. So today I have been brainstorming a new business name and working on a logo. Please give me your opinion, the business name I am keen on amongst many others is “Curb Appeal” I am looking forward to your article next week Demonstrating your own expertise as a home stager. Thank you Debra
Debra Gould says
Hey Janine, Thanks for sharing your experience and I’m glad you found this article helpful. Remember that you don’t have to know “EVERYTHING.” You just need to be able to say something the listener hasn’t thought of yet for them to appreciate your expertise!
Curb appeal is a great phrase. You’ll have to come up with a URL that isn’t already taken so you’ll need to add some additional words to it. Perhaps even UK Curb Appeal. I just saw your additional questions about the challenges with your business name inside our private online discussion group, Staging Diva Network, and addressed them there.
You can find the follow up article to this story at this link Demonstrating Your Expertise with Real Estate Agents.
Good luck with your business name choice and branding. I’m really excited to see what you come up with.
Azi bakhtiari says
Hi I am Azi hom stager , I hope you help me? I been trying so many real estate agent, I introduce myself to them, left my business cards, even my post cards to know what is my services are. but still I didn’t hear anything from them. I have been to a few open houses to meet them. If you can tell me how I can promote my business I really appreciate. Thanks Debra.
Debra Gould says
Azi, the least profitable way to build your staging business is to focus on real estate agents. If you do a google search on “staging diva” with phrases like “real estate” or “real estate agent” you’ll find I’ve written dozens of articles on this topic.
If you want serious marketing help and a profitable business to follow for your home staging business, I suggest you also look at the many resources I offer in the Staging Diva Store