Realtors--You Can Be The Hero!

By
Home Stager with RE:STYLE LLC

Girl superhero  Because of the proliferation of all the home staging shows on HGTV, TLC, DIY, etc., the selling public is very aware of the benefits of home staging. Gosh, HGTV even said that the Number 1 Real Estate Mistake is “Failing to Showcase Your Home” (and they suggest hiring a professional home stager)…

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Why would you want your clients to call a home stager without you getting the credit for suggesting this? Or, why would you want to have a seller ask you if you offer a staging consultation, when you could have been the one to mention it first?

 

I can’t tell you how often I get calls from home sellers, who already have a listing agent, asking for a staging consultation. What a lost opportunity!

 

Okay, so maybe you are apprehensive that you will offend a client by proposing that they get a staging consultation—a justifiable concern. However, if you offer a consultation when you are first called by a prospective client, how can you insult them, when you haven’t even seen their house yet?

 

I have had clients call me who are using Realtors that I have worked with in the past, and these sellers tell me that they had to ask if the Realtor works with a stager, as they (the seller) would like staging help. That Realtor could have gotten a lot of points with the seller just by mentioning staging as part of their listing presentation.

 

Then, countless times I have contacted a Realtor for a listing I have staged where the seller initiated the contact. Granted, I’m prejudiced, but don’t you think it’s a real positive that you’re being handed a listing with the house already staged? Doesn’t this give you a much better chance of actually selling the house?

 

So why do I get such a cool reception from the Realtor, if they even deem to return my phone calls and/or emails? It seems to me that the savvy businessperson would realize that this is a great opportunity to form a partnership with someone who shares his/her goal of selling the house quickly, and for as much money as possible. Or maybe I am delusional…

 

I could understand if my staging was substandard, but it isn’t (check out my Portfolio on www.ReStyleStaging.com). I could understand if I was abrasive and difficult to work with, but I’m not (I have testimonials). I understand if an agent is unwilling to spend the $75 for a one-hour consultation, but many clients are more than willing to invest this amount, and more.

 

And why would any Realtor want to ignore a successful home stager who can be a great referral source for them? I even helped one Realtor get an entire subdivision to market.

 

So, be the hero. Consistently recommend staging, and--if you really want to make an impact--pay for part of the staging fee. You will be richly rewarded with: better listings, quicker sales, more profit, more referrals. 

 

Time to go out and save some sellers from languishing listings! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Super Realtor!

 

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Rainmaker
262,033
Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

what a cute graphic! And a really nice post. Well done!

Jul 12, 2008 02:19 PM #1
Rainmaker
212,509
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Because they don't know what you are going to say to their client.  Give them your presentation and they'll be SOLD...a TEAM created and a win-win for both of you.  I guarantee it.

Jul 12, 2008 05:46 PM #2
Rainer
66,883
Marianne Sweet
Home Sweet Home Staging - Rochester Hills, MI
Home Sweet Home Staging, LLC Rochester Hills, MI

Hi Kathi!!  I've noticed your name popping up on posts lately....welcome!

Great post, and you're absolutely right.  Realtors still don't get it, and it's beyond frustrating.  After 4 years of being in business and marketing my company, I still only have a handful of agents who refer business to me (and I'm not substandard or difficult either!).  The majority of my business comes from homeowners who have found my website. 

We just have to keep plugging away at it, I guess.

Jul 12, 2008 10:35 PM #3
Rainmaker
33,016
Kathi Presutti
RE:STYLE LLC - Brighton, MI
Re:Style, LLC

Mara:

Thanks for the compliment, it's appreciated!

Terrylynn:

If only it were that simple!

I understand what you're saying, and I do recognize that Realtors are very sensitive to what we stagers say to their clients. However, I never refuse to have a Realtor come to the consultation appointment, as long as we have an agreement to be mutually respectful and not undermine each other. I have had Relators go through with me and then say "Oh, you don't need to do that." What are they thinking? Hmmm, that could be another post...

Also, I do regularly present to groups of Realtors, and I always address how I will approach their client and the ways that I will address issues--using many of Barb Schwarz's helpful sayings, which they love!

Actually, I believe it's more about what Marianne says in her comment. We are both in the same market.

I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and I know I can learn a lot from you. I believe you were on a Realtor panel at one of the IAHSP symposiums, and I remember being quite impressed!

Marianne:

Hi! Thanks for comment. It makes me feel much better that you are experiencing the same issues! I know you are a great stager, so that makes it even more helpful!

As for reappearing here, I decided I should get back in the rain, while I have some time!

 

Jul 13, 2008 02:20 AM #4
Rainmaker
226,084
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Realtors will stay for my consultations, especially the first time just to see what it is exactly that I say to their clients. Some take notes on the suggestions, the homeowner always gets a written report.

Realtors are always impressed when I manage to get what they would term a difficult (read head strong) client that will not declutter or put away theme collections and I seem to have them starting the process during the consultation.  They don't know how I manage to do it and not insult the client but are convinced of my services after witnessing the first time.

Then the word spreads in their office and the Realtors that are non believers start to try to me with their clients too. Slow process but an effective one.

Jul 13, 2008 03:15 AM #5
Rainer
35,105
Lisa Roy
SPACELiFT HOME STAGING, Greater Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

You are bang on Kathi.  There are so many missed opportunities with Realtors.  When we do presentations in Realtors offices, we try to get across what staging can do for their clients.  Most don't get it but there are some that are catching on finally.  Certain areas are better than others but we just have to keep on educating Realtors on the power of staging.  It seems a no brainer but most just can't get past the idea of more money being spent, especially these days.  They can't see it will return to them by selling quicker and usually for more money. Info like you just posted will help.  Keep at it!

Jul 13, 2008 03:40 AM #6
Rainmaker
212,509
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

The super Realtor thing is soo cute.  And right on really, they all want a differentiator, well Realtors here it is!!  

Well I guess Kathi that's what I'm saying, it gets that simple when you are on the TEAM, rather than just "letting them come along" or they "let you come along".  When you are a TEAM member you and the Realtor know where the line is and they don't cross it.  Sometimes I know more about the client than the stager and I clue them in up front so that doesn't happen.  It's a collaborative event and you compliment each other.  AND then the Realtor wouldn't think of listing a home without you and you wouldn't want to stage without them being the representing Realtor whenever possible.  It makes for a partnership.  It means when you  come across someone who is unrepresented by a Realtor, you'll recommend them and they will do the same.  It's lovely.  AND it does work and it is that simple.  Just get the first Realtor on board and you'll find you like it more and will go get more and more.

You have the skill and perhaps haven't found the right Realtors deserving of your expertise.  But that's a target marketing challenge, which is another blog. 

Thanks for the compliment. 

 

Jul 13, 2008 04:56 AM #7
Rainmaker
33,016
Kathi Presutti
RE:STYLE LLC - Brighton, MI
Re:Style, LLC

Michelle:

It's fun to be able to get the clients to respond so well, isn't it? Sometimes, I think it's just that now they are hearing it for the second time  (their Realtor already said it once, in most cases) and also from a professional that your Realtor has positioned as the "expert". Good job!

Lisa:

Thanks--you obviously totally understand where I was coming from. Together, we stagers will get the word out!

Terrylynn:

I agree, we are partners in this. I always believe the Realtor and I are on the same team, but maybe I need to express that more openly. Of course, I do make a point of referring home sellers who come to me directly to one of my team members--I have had the opportunity to do this a fair number of times, and I really enjoy referring someone who I have worked with closely. There are a number of Realtors who I team up with, and it is a wonderful way to work! It may take a couple of times before we get our rhythm, but when we do, we accomplish so much, and both of us can be surprised with the great results!

I guess my frustration is that so many Realtors don't see the benefit. But I know the 80-20 rule--we'll end up doing 80% of our business with 20% of the possible market. It's just finding that 20% that is the challenge!

Thanks for your insightful comments!

Jul 13, 2008 10:54 AM #8
Rainmaker
212,509
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

It sounds like you are doing everything right, yeah that 20/80 principle is tough sometimes while you wait.  HUM.  Perhaps you can start a referral program with your current GREAT realtors and give them a perk of some sort for referring their friends.  That way you get other great realtors and don't have to weed them out so much.  Like a staging of their Holiday client party this year, a client party staging for a sale, or something like that.  NOT a staging for listing though, make it separate or they'll feel you should do that all the time.  Good luck. 

Jul 13, 2008 02:30 PM #9
Rainer
12,646
Deborah Chene
Staging Impressions - Farmington Hills, MI

Hi Kathi,

I'm a little late in responding to this one, but it is a great post and I would like to see more local Realtors respond.  Recently I have been made aware of at least 4 opportunities where very experienced stagers have offered to provide seminars, training and presentations to Realtors and the lack of interest was astounding.    They were not the same stagers.  At one WCR event only the board and possibly 1 or 2 guests attended and lunch was served.  I have continually heard of Realtor packages and promotions not followed up on by local Realtors.

What I am finding is that the Realtors either don't present staging to their clients and wait for clients to bring it up so feathers are not ruffled; stage themselves; or try to get Home Stagers to provide information for free.  Less and less I believe it is the cost of home staging because I continually hear of and provide affordable options, but more and more I see evidence of not willing to give up even a portion of the relationship and not wanting to upset sellers.  Thank goodness sellers are finding us on their own.  If a Realtor is afraid of what we are going to say that can be worked through.  If a Realtor only expects a mouthpiece than they don't understand staging.  If they present us in the right light, the working relationship starts off on the right foot. 

Having been a Realtor and seen how many work it is amazing to me how many are willing to resort only to past marketing tactics and strategies.  How many ad costs and how much time could be saved by a consultation for $75.00 an hour.  The ads are not cheap and the time on market and their time working on a long term or stale listing could be greatly shortened. 

On of the groups I saw a posting that asked where most of staging business came from and it did not come from Realtors.  It came from referrals and web sites.  While I agree to a certain extent in not reinventing the wheel, continuing to chase Realtor meetings is not in my opinion the greatest use of marketing time and dollars.  Eventually with enough public interest and demand Realtors will come around.  Also you have to keep the referrals and testimonials coming.

 

Jul 22, 2008 12:19 AM #10
Rainmaker
33,016
Kathi Presutti
RE:STYLE LLC - Brighton, MI
Re:Style, LLC

Thanks, Deborah!

I hope you are right (about them coming around...)! I, too, would like to see more Realtors comment, though those who are on Active Rain are probably more informed about staging, and more favorably disposed to it, than others in the Realtor community. It mystifies me why a Realtor would be so afraid that we might offend a listing that probably won't sell anyway unless it's properly staged. But, hey, I'm preaching to the choir! Thanks for the support, and the visit to my blog.

 

Jul 22, 2008 01:27 AM #11
Rainmaker
289,914
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

super stagerIt is me Super Stager commenting - great blog - have to fly off now.

Jul 26, 2008 01:38 PM #12
Anonymous
Linda Parker

Hi Kathi

Don't forget the after market. An hour's consultation makes a wonderful house warming gift.

You have a place in my newsletter.  I think you work miracles.

 

Aug 07, 2008 12:14 PM #13
Rainmaker
33,016
Kathi Presutti
RE:STYLE LLC - Brighton, MI
Re:Style, LLC

Hi Linda!

It's great to see you in the rain! Thanks for the kind words! You are already a hero to your clients, for many reasons...

Aug 07, 2008 01:15 PM #14
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Kathi Presutti

Re:Style, LLC
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