Creating Your Team:
Networking as a Home Stager
“An ecosystem is a web of mutually beneficial relationships that enhances the value of the participants.” – Anonymous
Whether in a busy metropolis or in nature, mutually beneficial relationships rule. In Africa for example, the water-loving hippopotamus is a hulking beast of an animal, with a male weighing approximately 10,000 lbs. The oxpecker on the other hand, is a diminutive bird native to the same region.
How can they help each other? The oxpeckers flock to the water and sit upon the hippos’ backs, proceeding to eat the ticks that cover the animals’ skin. The birds feast upon these ticks, and the hippopotamuses enjoy a bug-free existence. A perfect example of a mutually beneficial relationship.
Networking as a home stager is no different. Envisioning your business as the impressive hippopotamus, what birds can you develop a relationship with, to ensure an enhanced result? Creating and growing a home staging business is an exciting, creative endeavour. In starting this new career, you are committing yourself to a life of new adventures and artistic experiences.
It is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and forge a life for yourself; you are able to become an entrepreneur and follow your dreams. Like any other business, in order to succeed you will require a team around you; you need your own ecosystem. Who is the mutually beneficial relationship with? And how do you find the right people?
Who should be part of your ecosystem?
Home staging has become an essential service in the real estate industry. One of the most important lessons to learn when beginning your journey, is to understand how the real estate industry functions and the role that you play in it.
First impressions have always been critical. With the advancements in technology however, the need for home staging has intensified. Marketing a home has become very visual. In this era of technology, the majority of potential purchasers begin their search for a new home online.
As they scroll through the listings in their area and beyond, their desire to visit a home in person is dependant on the enticement of the home’s photos. Staging is critical; after all, the online pictures are only as beautiful as the home’s interior. If the home does not present itself as one in which the “scroller” wishes to inhabit, a personal visit will not be arranged. If potential buyers are not walking through the home, they will not be putting in any offers.
Realtors therefore, require home stagers whom they can trust to help facilitate a successful sale. As a home stager, you have an opportunity to be an asset; someone who will help sell a property by presenting it in its best possible light. A key role as a home stager is to provide an objective third party opinion by working with the homeowners to address any issues. This enables the agent to avoid offending the homeowner; further enhancing this mutually beneficial relationship.
On the flip-side, when homeowners are considering their decision to list, they will seek out the wisdom of a trusted realtor. Wouldn’t it be nice if your name is front and centre as someone a realtor can rely on to assist them in effectively marketing the home? Realtors can be reluctant to call upon an unfamiliar home stager.
They can view this unfamiliarity as a potential risk to their relationship with the homeowner, thereby jeopardizing the listing and ultimately, their commission. If you have established a mutually beneficial relationship with a realtor, your success is guaranteed. It is imperative therefore, that your ecosystem contains real estate agents.
How do you find the right people?
The real estate market is flooded with agents. In the Toronto area alone, there are over 50,000 realtors registered as members in the Toronto Real Estate Board. In fact, Toronto has 17% of Canada’s population, but 41% of its realtors. So how can you find the right people, simply by networking as a home stager?
#1. Use your current job as a networking opportunity. Be a positive reflection of the realtor you are working with; always be professional, polite, punctual, tactful and gracious. Get the job done on time and on budget. Remember too, to promote and partner with the agents that are loyal to you whenever you get the chance. They will appreciate and return the favour.
#2. Be visible and get noticed. “Your presence and visibility is likely to get you more leads and referrals as your face and name will pop up in the heads of fellow businessmen when they need the product or service you offer”.
- Attend real estate annual conventions and trade shows. Investing in a booth is an opportunity to network with key agents, and provides a face and name for them to remember. Bring some key pieces of inventory, examples of your work, as well as a handout emphasizing your branding. Include professional signage as a backdrop to your booth.
- When presented with an opportunity to speak one-on-one with local agents, listen more and talk less. Learn about what is important to this particular agent. Asking them relevant questions will get them talking about themselves and offer you valuable information in regards to how you can benefit them.
- Volunteer within your community.
- Join local groups and attend fundraisers.
- Sponsor a sports team and attend the games. This demonstrates not only your generosity, but your willingness to contribute your time as well as your money.
#3. Use technology. Utilize social media as the effective tool it can be.
- Be active daily, and make your online presence heard. Answer questions on other forums and present yourself as the expert.
- Take advantage of every new “follow”, connection and “like”.
Just as the hippopotamus benefits from the oxpecker, so too can your home staging business benefit from real estate agents. Realtors require home staging as an essential part of their marketing strategy, and stagers require real estate agents for referrals.
Networking as a home stager, although critical to the success of your business, can be as easy as one, two, three.