How many times have you wowed a potential client with your portfolio, only to have your moment of glory interrupted by the “deer-in-the-headlights” look that came over their face when you presented your quote to stage their home? This is exactly what happens when consumers don’t recognize the value of home staging.
Consumers typically buy a product or service based on their perception of its value in relation to its price. As home stagers, we need to keep this concept in mind as we try to convey the value of what we do to potential clients. Thanks to the ever-increasing media coverage of home staging and the highly-competitive nature of today’s real estate market, most home sellers now understand the importance of preparing their home before putting it up for sale. Still, home staging is a service which is often undervalued by consumers because they lack a clear understanding of the process and skills required to take a home from the “before” to the “after” images they see in magazines and on TV. So how can you help your clients recognize the value of home staging in general, and your skills and services in particular? I suggest that it all boils down to two basic points: education and differentiation.
Education starts with letting clients know that the price they pay for home staging is a wise investment. Your services are valuable because, by transforming their homes into products with greater mass appeal and marketability, you help ensure faster, more profitable sales. To prove this point, keep the appropriate national, state and local statistics on hand.
Education also includes providing information about the process of home staging (e.g., cleaning, de-cluttering, developing a design plan, selecting appropriate furnishings, packing, transporting, installing, de-staging, etc.). Clients tend to get a better sense of our value once they understand how much work is typically involved in completing a project.
Differentiation means letting clients see what sets you and your home staging company apart from the competition. This is the time to show off your credentials, your portfolio, your results, your statistics, your testimonials and your knowledge of buyer demographics. Including images of your warehouse, inventory, and delivery truck(s) in your portfolio or other marketing materials may help clients envision what you can do for them as a one-stop resource. Taking the time to provide clients with a quote detailing all services, fees and specific areas of their home to be addressed can further underscore your value.
Differentiation also means conveying the strong interpersonal skills that make you valuable to home sellers and realtors. With each passing year, there are more home stagers competing for clients by bombarding realtors and neighborhoods with marketing materials and visits. Often the stagers who get hired are the ones who not only have excellent technical skills, but strong “people” skills as well. Your interpersonal skills show realtors and their clients that you can remain tactful and professional in even the most difficult situations, which we all know to be a not-so-rare part of the home staging process. Good interpersonal skills will also get you welcomed back for follow-up visits and referrals.
Conveying your value as a home stager can be as simple as educating consumers and differentiating your skills and services from the competition. Keeping these points in mind will not only help you grow your business; but may have the added value of alleviating “sticker shock” when your clients see the bottom line.