Home Stager Rejection: It's not always personal

Home Stager with Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

nervous home stagerEven though I've been staging homes since 2002 and I'm well known, not everyone who calls me to discuss their staging project actually hires me. This is a reality of the business and one that you can't take personally. I know it is hard not to take this as a personal rejection, especially when the potential home staging client sounds so interested at first.

Here's the scenario. The potential client calls and says they're interested in hiring a home stager. You've felt like they really connected with you on the phone, they sounded excited about your services and then at the end of the conversation, instead of booking a paid home staging consultation, they say something like, "I'll have to check with my husband and get back to you."

Here are 11 reasons that not all project leads turn into paying home staging projects and why you can't take every lead that goes nowhere as a sign that you've failed:

  1. Home sellers are talked out of hiring a stager by their real estate agent.
  2. Home sellers are talked out of staging their home by friends or relatives who say, "your house looks fine." Sometimes the husband or wife wants to go forward with staging, but the other partner disagrees. Since a large percentage of homes are sold because people are divorcing, there is often no way around this challenge.
  3. They get an offer before they actually hire a home stager and take that as a sign that staging isn't needed (even if the offer doesn't result in an actual sale).
  4. Home seller decides to take the house off the market instead of staging (which means they might still contact you to stage their home when they decide to sell it later).
  5. The real estate agent who initially contacted you about the home staging project didn't get the listing, or lost the listing if they already had it.
  6. Like any industry, there will always be "tire kickers" who ask for information but never follow through. That's why you need to avoid the free estimate trap.
  7. They are calling a bunch of home stagers just looking for the lowest price (trust me you don't want this client anyways).
  8. Some stagers do inadequate follow-up preferring to wait passively for the client to contact them again after the first "get to know you" conversation. Meanwhile the potential client assumes the home stager isn't really interested or available.
  9. Some aspiring or even established stagers make up bogus projects to check out the competition in their area. This is normal, you just need to realize that someone who calls you and seems very interested might not really be a potential client. Never make an assumption though. I had one call that I was sure was from a competitor just checking me out and it turned out to be a real client who hired me.
  10. The potential client may not be impressed by how the stager deals with them on the phone, or after viewing their website/portfolio they decide that particular home stager isn't the right person for the job. This might be because the stager actually did something wrong (not projecting the right image) or it could also be that they simply didn't emotionally connect with the stager (that's human nature and happens to everyone including me). Not all potential clients are actually the right clients for you!
  11. Sometimes an "urgent" project get delayed because the client's priorities change. As a stager you may not know this, and when you think all is lost they finally call you again in 3 or 6 months ready to hire you to stage their home!

Stagers, have you found other reasons that a prospect didn't turn into a real paying home staging project? How do you handle those feelings of personal rejection? Please share your comments, I know everyone will learn from your experience. Your ideas may also turn into a topic for a related future post so we can continue the dialog on this key topic of how to build a staging business.

home staging expert Debra Gould

Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc.

Home Staging Entrepreneur and Home Staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva, knows how to make money as a home stager. Discover her secrets to business success in the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program.


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Vance Broker
Advanced Brokers Insurance - San Diego, CA

It is the#1 rule in selling anything.  Your product is not for everyone true, but it is your job to offer your services and find out if it is a good fit.  The hardest part of being in sales is getting people to know what you do so WHEN they need you they will call.  I see this in the insurance field.  It does not matter how much I save someone, if they are not looking for insurance they are not going to change.  I try to just let people know what Ido and eventually when they are looking for insurance they call.  It seems less aggressive if I just keep in mind I am just letting people know I have great products, it's their fault if they are not interested in them! 

Apr 30, 2011 09:25 AM #1
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

I agree that you can NOT take it personal....even though sometimes it's hard to do!  The rejections that are A-OK with me are #6... "Tire Kickers" and #7 "Lowest Price Only".  I also know that like anything else....it needs to feel good to all parties and be a "match"!!

Apr 30, 2011 01:31 PM #2
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

I think in the past 6yrs I have experienced them all LOL. I had one where I thought I was going to do a consult and it turned out to be an interview. I got the job, did the first stage, a color consult and then before we could move on he decided to sell to his daughter. I've certainly had my share of #6,7 &9.

Apr 30, 2011 02:45 PM #3
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento

Personal???   I just call them "Cheeri-nos". It makes me work harder to educate the mis-informed :))

Apr 30, 2011 05:28 PM #4
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Debra, I think your list covers just about all of those "rejections".  The one that gets "under my skin" the most is your #1.  That's why I'm all about education. 

May 01, 2011 03:40 AM #5
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Debra - Ha ha - I like Lori Kim's response.  I haven't heard the term "Cheeri-nos", but that's my attitude.  Just move on and don't waste time or energy on the "ones that got away".

May 01, 2011 04:13 AM #6
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

Vance, I totally agree. That's why having a monthly newsletter is so helpful. Keeps you top of mind for when they're ready to purchase.

Kathy, Janice: I've felt them all too. I make sure I rule out #7 right off the bat, cause I never want to be the lowest price stager.

Lori, Cheeri-no's I love that!

Ginger, I agree with you on #1. It's a pity that one still happens so often but agree continuing to educate our audience is key.

Sally, agreed!

Thanks everyone for your comments! Do you have any others to add to the list?

May 01, 2011 06:17 AM #7
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Those callers looking for the lowest price always get what they pay for!!

May 01, 2011 07:53 AM #8
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