Upgrading your business skills - the million dollar question.

Home Stager with Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket 416.928.2999

I recently spent three days learning the ins and outs of running a successful design business with Kimberley Seldon of Kimberley Seldon Design Group here in Toronto.

Kimberley is a dynamic designer who embodies success in the Toronto area. Appearing as a regular on Cityline TV, speaking at design shows and featured in many magazines and books, Kimberley is a wealth of information that you can use immediately in your business model.

The one thing that I learned from Kimberley was how to discuss a clients budget. Clients are always reluctant to state what their budget is for many reasons which you are not privy to. Kimberley suggests that you ask them if it is a million dollars. By doing this, they invariably break down laughing and say what their actual budget is or they might even say that it is higher than that. Either way, you can't lose by asking the million dollar question.

kimberly seldon and michelle finnamore












Winner of the Trailblazer Company of the Year Award 2009

advantage staging michelle finnamore

Comments (9)

Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv
REISA - 317-663-4173 - Indianapolis, IN

Good information and thanks for your post. Talking about folks budget takes plenty of skill. Sounds like you learned a bunch.



Nov 16, 2009 12:10 AM
Nancy Williams
Coldwell Banker Homestead Group Select Professionals - Harrisburg, PA

This is good--I find a fair number of people will, when asked what price range they are looking in--"It's not so much the price--it's that we get what we want."  Great.  You are no farther along than when you started.  But if you ask, "Where would you want to be in relation to _____", you'll find out right away what the number is.

Nov 16, 2009 12:11 AM
Kim Dillon
Creative Eye Home Staging - West Chester, PA

What a great idea!  Why is it that people are so reluctant to discuss budget?

Nov 16, 2009 03:41 AM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Hi Tony, I understand most people are very uncomfortable talking about price but how can you serve your client if you have no idea where they are looking. If someone asks me how much is it to design a room I must ask many questions to determine what is needed and then I still ask what is the budget. There are price points for everything. You just have to be upfront enough so that everyone is happy with the end product.

HI Nancy, No sense driving around and sourcing things that are above or below the budget of your client. It is important not to make that decision for your client either way.

There are many farmers in my area that wear their rubber boots into a dealership to buy a new pick up truck. The smart salespeople ask in detail what they are looking for and then the client pays cash for a truck. 

Hi Kim, it has a lot to do with how they were raised I think. I grew up in a family business so we were always talking budget whether it was for wages, repairs, tools etc. Most people are not exposed to money discussions on a rational level every day at home growing up. Most people discuss money in an emotional way instead of in a business way.

Thanks for the comments everyone. This is an important topic and one that can save your bottom line each year by educating your clients on how to determine a budget. Wheter it is pre qualifying for a mortgage or preparing a staging for a sale. Ask a professional to come up with solutions and then make an informed decision on how to proceed.

Nov 16, 2009 07:49 AM
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Sounds like it was a great opportunity Michelle.  What a great way to learn more about our business.

Nov 16, 2009 08:10 PM
Kate Talarico
Kates Home Staging and Interior Design - Goshen, NY
RESA, Top Orange County Home Decorator & Stager

What a great way to lighten the mood when you are questioning a client about money!  Very unique and helpful.

Dec 29, 2009 09:34 AM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Hi Michele, it was well worth the three day fee to be able to learn, first hand, from one of top designers in our major capitol. Kimberly was very impressed with how much information that the other stager that attended with me  and myself shared with everyone. She noted that it was unusal for designers to be so free with their inside information. Of course I let her know about Active Rain and our daily swapping of ideas here.

Hi Kate, definitely the way to break the ice. I have used it many times since attending the seminar and it works every time!

Dec 29, 2009 01:27 PM
c m
Colorado Springs, CO

Great ice breaker!  Good for a laugh, and getting to the real story!  Most have a number in their heads, but are maybe embarassed that it will be too low, or that they will get "ripped off" if they offer too much.  Thanks for sharing!

Apr 16, 2010 03:23 PM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Hi Cheryl, thanks for stopping in to find out about the million dollar question. You will still have clients that inflate their budget when initially speaking with you which leads you to sourcing items that are outside their budget. It does cut down on that happening though and that is why we have to ask. It takes time to source items and that eats up the budget instead of just getting the job done.

Apr 21, 2010 02:58 AM