Meeting clients is always an exciting experience; it is our opportunity to put our best foot forward and present our business and our ideas. I have learned a few things along the way. Clients may have their own ideas on how their homes should be staged; I find in these instances it is always best to give them an opportunity to voice their opinions. Moving is both stressful and emotional for most home sellers, so it is important to allow them an opportunity to voice their concerns and suggestions. While you are listening to the home owner, make note of any suggestions that may be utilized in your staging plans. As you walk through the client's home, make notes, take digital pictures, and listen to the home owner during your initial walk through. It is important for us to remember that we are guests in their home. Developing a positive relationship can lead to referrals.
Clients may have household pets. If you are allergic to the animal or uncomfortable around the animal, the best solution is to politely ask the home owner to temporarily remove the pet from the room. A little tip for making friends with the furry little creatures is to carry a little Ziploc baggie containing treats. Always get the the owners permission before offering treats to their pet, as they may be on a special diet. Another helpful little trick is to keep a supply of inexpensive dog and cat toys in your car. During the initial phone conversation you can always inquire about pets; then bring in the appropriate toy when you meet with the client. This thoughtful gesture will mean a lot to the home owner. Pets are a very important to many people; they are a part of their family.
Some clients are worried that we will criticize their decorating styles, which can make them defensive. I find it is always helpful to find something positive to say about their home. After all, it is not our job to judge; it is our job to stage their home for sale. The sooner we can alleviate their concerns, the better.
When time is of the essence, and it usually is, prepare a quote and give it to the client along with a copy of your contract before leaving the client's home. Make sure they understand that the work will be scheduled once the contract has been signed and you have received your deposit. Spell everything out ahead of time and avoid any misunderstandings. A professional relationship is the best relationship.