I just posted an article on the National Association of Realtors, Styled Staged & Sold blog on the “Top 10 Reasons to Stage Your Home in 2015“. I created this post for agents, so that they can use the statistics and imagery to convince their client’s of the benefits of staging. I also created a YouTube video and pdf hand-out below that is a great tool for stagers and agents to embed on their websites, so check it out:
Having compelling resources and tools to give to your sellers and/or agents is critical in this industry! I hear so many stories of how the seller didn’t really understand why they should stage until they saw statistics and room photos. Pictures really matter in this industry, so combining both home staging statistics and staged room photos in a handout or video on your website matters.
For the PDF Instant Download, click to watch the video above or submit your name and email below, thanks!
To see my full post on the National Association of Realtors website, click here.
Every time I get an email with staging success stories, I file them in my “to blog” folder…needless to say, I have too many success stories to tell for Spring 2015! Home staging companies around the globe are literally performing miracles in homes and getting huge returns for their sellers. Since I have too many stories to tell, I’m going to feature some of my favorite photos and recent quotes from HSR Certified home stagers…
Jennifer of Jennifer Neal Homes joined HSR after her real estate agent convinced her that that what she was meant to do in life. She joined HSR and crash coursed all night going 12 hours straight with no sleep. After her first staging job, she attended the broker’s open house and received four more jobs that day! When you see her photos below, you’ll understand why…
Hi Audra, it’s been a busy year so far!
Susan Stucki signed up for the HSR training just 3 months ago and she sent me this email last week…
Hi Audra,I’m sitting in my office now trying to plan for 3 houses I have to stage in the next 10 days! I have already staged 6 others. 3 still have my props. So you can imagine how fast my inventory has had to grow… and haven’t had time to make a portfolio. Your training was fantastic. I couldn’t possibly be doing this without all the information I learned from your course. When things slow down, I will send pictures!Sincerely,Susan Stucki
Cori Smith of The Humble Abode signed up just over three months and sent me these emails…
I just want to say “Thank You” again! It has only been 3 months and I am learning so much. Business is good….well great, considering the short amount of time that it has been. I just completed a vacant staging and two redesigns…
I loved getting this email from a member who took our course and is now mentoring for our Staging Mentors program…
Yep, home staging companies are rocking it so much that some are even turning away business…
Hi Audra, Business is great! In fact, I’ve made the choice to slow down a little right now. I’m determined I am not ready to hire assistants just yet so I am learning to pace myself a bit and become more selective in the projects I take on. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to be making these choices. Starting a home staging business has truly changed my life!
Audra, thanks for your continued support. I really like the stagers connect site and have learned a lot from simply taking in how other stagers handle things. I also refer back to the training modules from time to time. I love that I can go back to seek out what I might have not picked up on the first time around at my convenience!
The emails keep pouring in…
Finally, I have to end with a quote that my dear friend Lori Murphy, an extremely talented home stager in Columbus OH sent me:
If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs
I’m so proud of all these home staging entrepreneurs who had the courage to take the plunge and start working for themselves! I know it’s not easy, so my passion is to do what I can to make it easier, give these talented individuals confidence and help them grow their business!
What will your story look like?
I always say that the relationship between “home staging” and “redesign” is like two sides of the same coin. They are very similar services but the “WHO” of the design element is very different.
What separates staging from redesign is whether we are designing the space for the buyer demographic or the home owner?
What’s the difference between interior design and redesign (or home styling)? Redesign always starts first with using what the home owner already has and loves to enhance the space. In fact, a great redesigner can literally work miracles in just a day in the home!
So why should a home stager also be trained in the art of redesign? Here are 5 great reasons along with some fantastic redesign photos done by Debbie Simril of Debbie Simril Interiors…
1. It’s an Easy Up sell
Statistically, sellers are much more inclined to spend money on the home they are moving into rather than the home they are moving out of, so it’s a much easier “sell”. You’ve just staged the seller’s home to sell, so they already know you, trust you and like you. This should be a no-brainer for home stagers but I find that they just are not “positioning” their redesign business correctly, so they are missing out on huge income returns!
2. It’s a Great Way to Keep a Favorite Client
We all have had those client’s we just LOVE, so why not keep the relationship going and work with them on their next big project? Focus on quality relationships rather than quantity while building your design network of great referrals!
Remember to have a special business card you can hand to your favorite client’s as a thank you for being so wonderful to work with. In the example I created below, you can put your business information on the back and hand write the discount/message you wish to give your clients.
3. Design is More Lucrative
Yes, I said it…you will make more money if you position your business for BOTH staging and redesign. Redesign projects tend to last longer and have higher dollar amounts then the average staging project. I’ve been training stagers for more than 10 years now and I can comfortably say that my long-time veterans are now doing more redesign/design than staging (unless they focused on a niche). Why is that? Because they positioned their business to market first staging then second, redesign. They followed my business model of doing both staging and redesign!
4. Design is HOTTER Than Ever!
Yes, the career outlook according to a recent Houzz survey shows that the design industry is feeling more confident than ever! This isn’t a huge surprise because it mirrors what is going on in the staging industry…when home values rise, so does home improvement spending.
5. The Perfect Business Model
A lot of stagers who join my training program tell me that they were always slow in the fall/winter season since their business reflected the real estate industry lulls. Ironically, redesign and design picks up in the fall and winter as people decorate for the holidays, so having a business model that incorporates redesign and holiday design makes for a well-hedged business model.
Finally, this is what Debbie Simril who after 15 years in the design industry decided to take the plunge and sign up for our HSR Certification in Home Staging and Redesign:
What will your story be?
Before you jump into a career in staging and redesign, take our free video and email series by click on image below!
I just finished updating my “Blogging” section and creating a webinar about successful blogging for home stagers and designers in 2015. The Internet is always changing and so I’m constantly updating my training material to reflect what matters to stager TODAY.
Blogging for business is not about writing down your musings so much as giving prospects an insight to the way you work and your style, so having a plan for how to do this is essential!
If you’re a home stager, you may be saying, “why blog?” That’s a good question. Here are six great reasons why blogging is essential for home stagers:
- For skilled writers who are capitalizing on their strength
- To create credibility – which in our industry is critical
- To create a “Buzz” about your business and staging in general
- Better SEO for your website – Who doesn’t want that?
- Build your email list – Fill your pipeline with prospects
- “Touch” your prospects/clients – Most of sales is just reminding people that you are there
I see so many stagers create interesting blogs to only have them go out into the Internet-sphere never to be read by anyone! It’s a complete waste of time to blog and not be incredibly “intentional” about it, so…
Here are my 5 Steps to Blogging Success for Home Stagers and Designers:
1. WHO Exactly is Your Audience?
As a professional home stager and designer, you have many different target markets you could potentially be writing to. Too many times I see stagers writing for other stagers which really doesn’t help them at all. In the blogging training I added the members area, we listed those target markets, where they hang out online, what they wanted to see/learn about and more importantly…what they would share. When you know WHO you are targeting you can move onto the next key step and that is…
2. WHAT Are Your KEY WORDS?
One of the beautiful things about the home staging vs the design industry is it’s lack of keywords. Yes, it’s a good thing when there are few terms that describe what you do because that makes listing those terms that much easier.
For the home staging industry, the key words that 85% of folks would use to search are “home staging” and “home stager” but getting to the top of Google with those keywords can be tricky, so thinking outside of the box is imperative. List your “service” key words and how someone in your area might phrase those services and your type of work in a search. Next list your specific location keywords and you have a starting point for what to blog about.
A very cool tool that helps you brainstorm these key word terms is at www.semrush.com. Remember, my philosophy is to help stagers never reinvent the wheel and when you know how to use the cool tools online that help your business…you save tons of time!
3. HOW Can You Get Their Attention?
Nobody wants to read straight text. In an era of very short attention spans, it’s critical to be visual and readable! Here are things to think about when trying to get your reader’s attention:
- Headlines Matter – There are cool resources online that can help you craft a killer headline and I list some in the training
- Images Matter – We are in the visual industry and a picture is worth 1000 words, so make this work for you! I list a ton of great resources and rules for images in the training but you all know I’m a huge fan of Canva which puts the visual in motion. Canva is developing a Canva at Work program I’m excited to see, so go to Canva for Work so you get early access.
- Readability Matters – People like numbered lists and bullet points, so it’s easier to skim the page.
- Grammar Matters – Another cool tool that can help with your grammar is at www.grammarly.com.
4. WHEN Should You Post?
It’s not so much about what time of day (although I’d stick to midday) but how often? It takes time to blog, so shooting for once a week on Wednesdays is a good goal to start. Plan ahead and develop a calendar based on the ideas you brainstormed in steps 1-3.
There’s nothing worse than going to a website and seeing that the last blog was posted in 2012! An easy way to not give the impression you’re out of business is to simply leave the date off your posts.
5. WHERE Can You Distribute Your Post?
You see, the key to successful blogging is the ability to not only write well but more importantly, distribute the blog to the specific audience you are targeting. There are so many great ways of doing that! In the blogging training I put in the HSR members area, I created a worksheet that listed the places I repost/share my blog once it’s up. Obviously, you will want to share your post on your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter profiles. Beyond that you will want to share it on your LinkedIn and Google+ profiles, as well as with your Groups, Circles, etc…Having a worksheet that helps you keep track of when you shared the post to each profile is critical!
In the HSR Training, I have an exhaustive list of all the editorials across the country by city in my “Public Relations Section”. A great way to get publicity is to share your articles/posts with your local newspaper/magazine editors who are always looking for content and photos!
When you think about it, this 5 step formula for blogging success can really work for almost any industry, so if you’re a real estate agent, you may want to follow this formula as well!
The home staging industry is growing leaps and bounds and it helps all of us when stagers look great, get press and are connecting very credibly with real estate agents, sellers and home owners!
XOXO – Happy Staging!
Hope to hear from you!
Why “To The Trade” Pricing Matters for Home Stagers
As I was adding another 12 “to the trade” vendors to the HSR Member Black Book, I thought it would be good to do a post on why trade pricing even matters for home stagers and their clients. First off, “to the trade” pricing is discounted pricing given by vendors of all kinds to those people who will do volume shopping due to their professions ie. Professional Home Stagers and Interior Designers. You have to prove that you are a professional home stager or designer by filling out an application and showing them some sort of proof of business ie. resell license, HSR certificate, professional memberships.
If you are a home stager and redesigner you should have access to several different vendors at “trade pricing” so you can shop on behalf of your client’s and either share your discount…or not. The discounts can range from about 15-50% depending upon the vendor.
At the Home Staging Resource, we provide a detailed list of all the vendors you would want to connect with for trade pricing along with the contact names and direct links to the sign-up pages. We have over 100 nationwide vendors we recommend who are familiar with our certification program and consider it your “ticket” to getting “to the trade” pricing.
As a trainer, I spend many hours sourcing these vendors and creating these relationships, so that my stagers don’t have to…it’s part of not having to reinvent the wheel when you go through our training. The vendors are specific to the home staging industry.
I just added over 3 hours of video training on staging model homes, so within my research I found those 12 new vendors for that higher level of home. Vendors like FrontGate, Shades of Light, Horchow, Arhaus, Surya, Home Decorators Collection, LS Fabrics and more were added to the already 100+ list I have curated. If you’re a home stager who has not joined our program, you can absolutely contact those places directly for your discount but…
I’m able to get great pricing and connect with these vendors because of my network of over 3000 home stagers, so it’s a win-win for everyone! Being over 3000 strong helps vendors take notice and build credibility within the industry.
Here’s a few tips for those of you connecting on your own with these vendors:
1. Make a List of the Types of Vendors You Think You Will Need
Not only will you want discounts at places that you will be shopping at regularly but what about service vendors and finish companies like carpet cleaners, flooring and lighting companies, moving companies and storage, greenery and fake food for merchandising…there are lots of vendors that stagers use regularly.
2. Think About Those Vendors That Can Make Your Job Easier
For instance, I just found out about an amazing vendor that you can hire hourly to help on a staging day, during a vacant staging or just to help a client move called “GetBellHops“. GetBellHops uses only local college students, does a complete background check and is licensed and insured, so the stager doesn’t have to worry about liability and can trust they have a capable person they are working with. I contacted them on behalf of the HSR network and now HSR members get a direct page to order the bellhops (at the click of a button) and a great discount!
3. Always ASK, Assume Volume and Negotiate Well
I always tell my members to assume that you will be successful and will be shopping like crazy for clients when you negotiate your trade discount. Ask the vendor what their best discount is and how you can connect with them…always assume there is one. I tell my members that since they have direct access to the HSR network, they can approach vendors as a network of 3000 not as a single company. I’m always happy to personally email the vendor myself on behalf of the member if it’s a nationwide vendor that everyone can use.
4. Don’t Give Your Discount Away!
You earned the relationship with that vendor and many times had to go through hoops to get it, so don’t give your discount away! It’s not unreasonable to split the discount with your clients as a benefit to them using you…but that discount is there because of YOU, so don’t devalue it. One of the many benefits of working with a home stager is that we are able to source furnishings and service providers better and less expensively for our clients.
XOXO – Happy Staging!
Hope to hear from you!