You’re at an open house together with a Realtor® you’d like to form a business relationship with when a visiting broker stops and asks what brought you there. “I’m an Accredited Staging Professional®,” is likely your response. Unfortunately, that description will not spell out the value you bring to a transaction to the consumers and even many real estate industry professionals you tell it to. In today’s tip I thought I’d share with you how to make sure every message you deliver, whether delivered in person, print or online, is as effective and powerful as it should be.
No matter how you meet a consumer or real estate industry professional – in person, through your blog or website, and even Facebook and Twitter – it’s essential to make sure that the messages you provide instantly give a vivid picture of what you do and the positive impact of your work.
1. Power Messages to Clarify What You Do
Those you come in contact with may be unfamiliar with exactly what Staging is and what Staging does. Make sure to include a power statement immediately. You may consider mentioning the selling impact of Staging as proved by the ASP® statistics we provide you with at Stagedhomes.com, such as “I help sellers and their Realtors® sell homes faster and for more money.” You may also consider sharing “I’ll gladly share how I as an Accredited Staging Professional® help sell homes for top dollars in any market.”
For many years I’ve developed messages that speak directly to the needs of sellers and their Realtors®, and I invite you to use them – they are available to you at the Staging University. Some of them include key messages I’m sure you’ve heard me say or maybe read in our many publications:
1. Decorating is personalizing, Staging is depersonalizing. Staging is not decorating.
2. Staging is not about decorating your home; it’s about selling your house.
3. “Clutter eats equity!”
4. “We can’t sell it if we can’t see it.”
5. “The investment of Staging your home is less than your first price reduction!”
6. “Start packing because with me as your ASP® Realtor® or Stager, you’ll be moving.”
7. “If we can smell it, we can’t sell it.”
Many more power-messages are available at the Staging University®, available through a link at Stagedhomes.com. I invite you to use them – they work! And, when you directly quote me in articles and other materials, please make sure to cite me as the source.
It can often be challenging to fully describe our work in words no matter how well we create our written messages. Fortunately, the result of our work is highly visual, and that’s why it’s so important to make sure we share examples of our prior work by using lots of photos and videos.
2. “Let Me Tell You How I Work”
Both consumers and real estate agents expect you to have a process which you follow for each Staging project and every client. Because the vast information resources available on the Internet consumers are very well-informed and educated, and now more than ever our clients want to know upfront what we’ll do for them, and the results we expect to deliver.
Many years ago I developed a communications theme that has become a benchmark in our industry: outline how you work. By telling consumers and agents alike “Let me tell you how I work” you immediately answer the questions they most likely ask themselves yet may not think to ask. I promise you increase your chances of earning their trust, and, of course, their business.
3. Career Book
Hopefully you’re using a Career Book as taught and showcased during the ASP® training program. I hope you know that you can read up on on Career Book tips at the Staging University®! Here’s a video in which I give you some tips on how to use the Career Book as part of your personal marketing efforts.
4. Conveying Your Message Online, Visually
The Internet allows us to share pictures and videos instantly and to a very large audience. If a picture says a thousand words, videos probably convey at least a million. Consider telling your story by the use of extensive photo libraries, accompanied by a description of each project, including any challenges and the solutions you provided.
Here are some suggestions on how you can share samples of your work online:
Facebook Photo Album
Are you on Facebook? Then consider creating a photo album for each project you’re managing. Once you’ve added images to the album you can easily share them with your contacts at Facebook. You can even share it with those in your sphere of influence who don’t have a Facebook profile – just copy and distribute the link provided underneath the photo album.
Here’s an example of how we showcased a project by Julie Tedesco, ASP, at the Stagedhomes fan page at Facebook. Please let us know if you’d like to have a recent project showcased at our fan page – we’ll be glad to brag about you and your accomplishments!
Blogs offer a tremendous way to share your stories. In each blog post you can mix information about each project and show pictures and videos to visually showcase your projects. Here’s how we typically share pictures – this one as part of a series of testimonials. Here’s an example of how we embed videos into our blog articles.
Flickr.com and Photobucket
Remember the days when we had to email large image files in order to share them with our contacts? These days we can instead upload them onto photo sharing platforms, for free, and then simply share all our photos by giving out a link. You can sign up for a free account at either Flickr.com or Photobucket.com , upload pictures and then share your images by direct link to each an individual photo or an entire photo album.
Got videos of your Staging projects? Upload them to YouTube.com, after you’ve signed up for a free account, and start sharing them. If you mostly use photos but would like exposure at YouTube, consider the following:
Open the program Microsoft Moviemaker (comes with Windows XP but may require downloading from Microsoft.com if you use Vista or Windows 7. For Mac users, consider using iMovie). Add your project photos and record yourself by using a microphone as you describe each step of your Staging process. You may even add background music that comes with Moviemaker for added effect. Once your video is done, upload to YouTube and start sharing.
Click here to visit Stagedhomes at YouTube.com.
Online Power Point Presentation
Do you have a Power Point presentation already created in which you showcase past projects? Now you can upload them and share them just like you can images and videos. Create an account, for free, at slideshare.net and upload your presentations. Once they’re uploaded you’ll find direct links to them that you can share with your contacts. Here’s how we at Stagedhomes use slideshare – click here to view our online presentations.
The reason I suggested the many social media platforms above is that often it can be a challenge to make changes to a website, requiring HTML knowledge and software. If you are well versed with website editing, make sure to add as many images and videos as appropriate at your website. If changing your website is a task requiring the assistance of a webmaster or someone else, consider adding a brief description of your image and video resources, and create links to each from your website.
I hope these suggestions will enable you to effectively share your past accomplishments with others and instantly show the value you bring to clients and the professionals they work with.
Always working for you.
Barb Schwarz, ASP®, ASPM®, IAHSP®
The Creator of Home Staging®
Founder and CEO,Stagedhomes.com
Founder and Chairwoman, IAHSP and the IAHSP Foundation