Tips For Launching Your Home Staging Business

So, you’ve finally listened to that little voice telling you to follow your dreams and become a home stager and redesigner. You paid your tuition, completed your program and framed your certificate.  You did it! You are finally on your way to having an exciting career in design.  Now all you need to do is start your own business and find your first client.

This may seem like an insurmountable task. Starting a business is not for the faint of heart!  However, with a little thought and planning you will feel more confident. Here are some helpful tips to get you on your way.

  1. Reserve your domain name first.

    Make sure when you are choosing a name for your business you check to make sure that the domain is available for the name you wish to use.  You don’t want to make the mistake of registering your business with the government only to find out that the domain name is unavailable.

  2. Build a stunning website.

    One of the most powerful marketing tools you will have will be your website. It will be the home of your portfolio, where potential clients can find out more about you and where they can interact with your brand 24/7.  If you don’t possess the necessary skills to create your own site, you will need to invest in having this created for you by a competent web designer.

    This will likely be one of the most expensive steps to starting your own business.  However, in a visual business like staging you need to represent your business professionally online.

  3. Network with realtors in your desired area.

    Realtors are the lifeblood of a stager’s business. Do some research and make a list of some realtors you would like to work with.  Invite them for coffee to discuss a mutually beneficial business relationship.

  4. Design business cards that compliment your brand and have them printed in large quantities.

    If you are serious about promoting your business, you will need more business cards than you think; 500 is a good number to start with. You never know when you might meet someone who is interested in your services or knows someone who needs your help. A business card contains all pertinent contact information and should be designed to reflect your company style.

  5. Create a one-page business plan.

    A business plan doesn’t need to be overly formal or long unless you are planning to approach lenders and partners with it.  This business plan is for you.  It is a roadmap for you to use to guide you through the days and weeks ahead.

A business should at least contain these three elements:

  1. What you are wanting to achieve with your business.
  2. How you are going to find your clients. What marketing strategies you will implement.
  3. How much money you will need to start your business and what you are expecting to earn from your business.

These are just a few ideas to help you get your business started. With a little preparation, you will be on your way to having the business of your dreams.

Networking… Your Best Marketing Tool

We all know the importance of knowing the “right people”. People who are connected to your potential clients who can personally use your services and/or refer others to you. A network is the quickest and most efficient way to make these connections.

There are many different groups out there. There are women’s groups, industry specific groups as well as groups for home stagers and designers. It is important to go to several of these groups first as a guest to see which ones are worth your investment of both time and money.

Here are a few benefits of joining a business network:

  1. A network is like an unpaid sales team working for you when you are busy doing other things.
  2. A network generates referrals which will eventually lead to increased sales.
  3. It expands the number of individuals who know about you and your business.
  4. It is a great way to keep you motivated in your business. Talking to other business owners inspires new ideas and provides a wealth of experience to draw from.
  5. It helps you to define your business more clearly as you are continually practicing your pitch to other members.
  6. You are able to gain valuable business advice from other more experienced business owners.
  7. On a more personal level, networking forms friendships. One of the perks of frequently attending networking groups is that some of your contacts will actually become your friends and it is always nice to see a friendly face in the crowd when you attend networking events.

Are Your Limiting Beliefs Stopping Your Success?

Having the ‘right’ mindset is critical to every home staging entrepreneurs’ success. Our thoughts or beliefs shape our lives and allow us to make the decisions that we make in life and in our business. Interesting that studies show that most people fill their heads with negative thoughts! Negative thinking can be a bad habit that some people are addicted to and if they spend a lot of time reading newspapers and/or watching news then 90% of that news is negative because it’s what sells!

I like this simple definition of ‘Mindset’:

Mindset

And beliefs are thoughts that you keep thinking over and over whether they are making your life or home staging business better or not. Your current business reality reflects your beliefs and the expectations/results that arise from your beliefs. Do you see yourself as successful or as a failure?

The good news is that you can change your negative thoughts into positive thoughts, and once you have more positive thoughts you believe more positive things are possible in your life and business. And more importantly,

If you change a belief your expectations will change too.

And once your expectations change you create a new reality for yourself. Now I’m not saying it’s easy but there are several techniques that you can use to change your beliefs and reprogram your thoughts. You could study NLP (neuro linguistic programming) or practice EFT (emotional freedom technique) but here is a simpler solution:

Whenever a negative thought comes into your mind, find the BEST that you can in that situation so that you create a positive thought.

And once you continue to be aware of a negative thought, you can thank it for sharing, and ask it to leave. Replace it with a new thought focused on what you want your reality to be. As a home stager it makes sense that you want to attract great ideal clients and create a thriving business.

Changing your thoughts and non-serving beliefs takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself and start now, one thought at a time…

Here are a few suggestions that might just work for you:

  • Start hanging around with more positive like-minded people and get in their energy it will help lift you up
  • Get clear on what it is you want in your home staging business – find out what business model works for you and immerse yourself in creating success
  • Set your intention before you start your work so that you know what results you are expecting – every day and long term
  • Stay focused on attaining the goals that you set but keep them realistic and attainable
  • If you go off course, correct and continue and high-five yourself for getting as far as you have in your business
  • Celebrate ALL your successes – you raise your energy level by acknowledging what has worked well for you and what you have learned
  • Expect what you want to happen – see it in your mind’s eye and hang around with people who are successful – create a vision board that shows your success
  • Model behavior that you admire and that makes you feel good – if you know another home stager who is massively successful check out what they are doing on social media sites and sign up for their newsletter
  • Everything happens for a reason and that reason is there to serve you – find the lesson in your situation and learn from it
  • When negative mindfrick happens – say ‘thanks for sharing’ and think a positive thought – what’s the best thing that can happen next
  • Spend a lot less time watching the news and reading about negative news – read uplifting books or get daily quotations that get you in the right mindset

Having a ‘winner’s mindset’ might take a little time for you, or you may already have that mindset. You’ve heard the expression ‘If you think you can, you can and if you think you can’t you can’t’. There are hundreds of home stagers who ‘think they can’ and who are creating successful home staging businesses and that is what is making this such a great industry to be part of!

How to Attract More ‘Ideal’ Realtors…

Targeting Your Ideal ClientWe think we’re pretty safe in saying that most new home stagers want to accept any work that comes their way. They might think that anyone with a pulse or a check book is a good prospect, right?

Wrong for a number of reasons, but perhaps right because they will learn soon enough the type of realtor they want to avoid. We just call these ‘lessons’ and hopefully start to make better conscious choices about who we want to work with.

There are 3 steps to using what is called the ‘Law of Attraction – Deliberate Attraction’ process. Just have fun with this method and see what you do attract!

Step 1 – Identify Your Ideal Realtor

Make a list of the qualities you want in your ‘Ideal Realtor’. What seems to have brought the most success to home stagers in metropolitan areas working with realtors is to have 3 or 4 consistent, like-minded realtors who completely trust you and let you make the necessary decisions about staging. These are your ‘perfect ideal realtors’ – they pay on time, pay easily and happily, respect your company’s ability, praise your work to other realtors and clients, refer you often and never question what you have done.

You are part of their team and they also market your company in their promotional materials. They know they cannot succeed without you and your expertise. You have a meaningful, fulfilling relationship and you are their first call for home staging. They understand that if they have a client who is not happy with something that you have done, that you are prepared to sit down and discuss another solution for them. You are their ‘go-to home staging company’ and they also expect that every member of your team is as professional as you! Think of it as a ‘marriage’ that rocks!

If you live in a more rural area you may need to be working with many realtors depending on the market and the number of listings in your area. The same process applies. Determine what you want your ideal realtor to be like and focus on finding them.

Step 2 – Give Your Desire Attention

Once you have decided the characteristics of your ‘ideal realtor’ now it’s time to start praising them! You might even consider doing a Vision Board where you have photos of who you want to work with and some of their listings. Start engaging with them on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter (if they use it) and Active Rain.

Start connecting with them (not stalking) but get to know more about them personally and from a professional level. Where do they hang out? What networking groups do they belong to? Do they go to a club that you could join? Do you know someone who could make an introduction for you? Have you contacted a real estate office to see if you can do a talk there? And, most importantly IF you did a talk at a realtor office what was your follow up like? Did you follow up or give up? If you gave up your vibration is low and on the negative side and you will only attract more of the same.

Step 3 – Allowing Your Ideal Realtor Business Relationship to Manifest

If you are on social media a fair bit you have probably been reading some blog posts that are bad mouthing realtors! We see it in the blogs posts all the time and we would like you to STOP doing that unless you are happy spending your time, money and energy attracting realtors who don’t return your calls, don’t respect you, ask how high you can jump, don’t want to pay what you are asking for and prefer to have you feel that you are crazy asking for what you are worth!

Instead focus on what you want your realtor to be like and you must PRAISE YOUR REALTOR even if none exist YET! This is what ‘allowing’ means in the Law of Attraction. Put out there what you want and start to notice any evidence of where the realtors are starting to show up in your life now.

If you have a meeting with a realtor who does not want to pay what you are worth, thank them for your time, stick to your pricing and move along until you attract another realtor more suited to you. Every single time you meet a realtor, hear from a realtor, see a realtor’s picture – think a positive thought about them and tell yourself how much you would enjoy working with them.

You will be surprised at what starts to show up in your life. Here’s something to remember…you might not get exactly what you want right away (although you might) but stay positive about anything that comes your way. Everything has the potential to lead to you attracting and working with your ideal realtor.

Sometimes it’s good to keep a journal of all your efforts and see what you are attracting. When you find yourself feeling disheartened go to someone’s website or social media site who you really admire and know that they too had their ups and downs and YET…they made it. You can too!

PS: Watch and listen to our ‘Free Webinar’ Savvy Marketing Tips for Stagers & Stylists to find out what ‘Action Steps’ you need to take in discovering and marketing to your ideal realtor.

PPS: If you want to learn more about the Law of Attraction watch and listen to Dana’s ‘Free Webinar’, Law of Attraction – Attract More of What You Want!

Lots of women in their 60s are becoming home stagers!

Years ago when PRES first opened it’s doors to offer our 5 Day Signature Certified Home Staging and Redesign course most of the students were between the ages of 30 – 45. Interestingly enough over the years we are finding that many women from 50 – 65 are quitting or retiring from their boring, stale jobs to do something more creative. And, in almost all cases home staging and decorating are something that they have been doing their entire life, get oodles of compliments about it, and have finally given themselves permission to do something about it! While many do take the PRES home staging and redesign course, many take other online courses and then just STOP because they are unsure of how to really get the business going.

This is a recent testimonial from a women in her 60s who hired Dana J. Smithers the PRES Business Success Coach to help get her business off the ground. Even though she took another online staging course she felt she didn’t know enough to really confidently put herself out there. She had also signed up for a ‘Law of Attraction’ course that Dana teaches and that helped her get focused on who she wanted as an ideal client and what her ideal ‘part time business’ would look like. She had the right mindset after that!

Jean Shatalow

My last call with Dana was bittersweet. “Bitter” because I knew this was the end of our three month coaching call program and “sweet” because with a job well done by Dana, I have a confidence that is helping me move on to achieve my dream of being a professional home stager. By listening and asking key questions, Dana would put a plan of action together each call that helped me to stay focused and build my business with a firm foundation. Insightful advice, suggestions and wisdom given by Dana always helped me to see that all things are possible if one is willing to apply themselves to the task at hand. Dr. Seuss said, “You’re off to great places, today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” I know I can be on my way thanks to Dana. Jean – Shatalow Home Staging.”

And even though Jean has work to do on her marketing materials like her website and getting more active in social media – she is taking one step at a time to get there! Congratulations Jean and we see huge success awaiting you!

Time to Expand Your Home Staging Business?

At some point in time you will be making the decision whether or not you want to expand. Sometimes this decision can come about because you are feeling so exhausted from trying to do everything yourself. Or you may have hired on some contract workers but found that they are not always available when you need them. Regardless of ‘why’ you need to think about expanding there are some ways that are better than others.

Chances are you have heard this expression before and maybe not really understood what it meant, or perhaps you did but were not sure how you were going to accomplish this.

You want to be working ‘ON’ your business

not ‘IN’ your business…

Woman Multi-taskingWhen you are first starting up your home staging business you are juggling not only how to run your business but how to manage your life now that you are an entrepreneur. You may find that even though you have started your business your family members still have expectations of you doing all the great things for them that you have always done. I guarantee if you try to be all things to all people and not set any new boundaries – your life will be absolutely chaotic and absolutely no FUN!

So let’s take a look and how you can expand your business without the chaos, and where you get back to having more fun and doing what you love to do.

7 TIPS on Expanding Your Home Staging Business

  1. DELEGATE: Whether you are just starting or have been in business for a while decide what you can give to someone else to do. It does not necessarily mean that you aren’t good at it, it just may not be a good use of your time and energy. For me, one of the first things I delegated was my bookkeeping. It not only drains my energy, I’m terrible at it! Is it time for you to hire some contract assistance or is it time to hire your first employee? Your numbers will tell you that but so will the amount of energy you have to do what you do best.
  2. LEARN HOW TO SELL: This is every staging entrepreneurs Number 1 priority – you must know how to sell your services. You know what you do best and you are most likely the one person in your business who has the most ‘energy’ for making the sale. It doesn’t mean that you can’t ‘delegate’ someone to make follow up calls for you and set appointments, it does mean however, that you will be the one doing the sales call and closing the sale.
  3. FIND BALANCE: I don’t really believe that entrepreneurs will ever have balance in every area of their life so, I don’t suggest striving for that. What I do suggest is to find ‘your balance’ and most likely a good part of your week will be you working. You also need to take good care of yourself and this might mean some form of exercise, eating nutritious meals and taking some ‘me’ time. Set boundaries with your family and friends so everyone is clear when it’s personal time and when it’s your business time.
  4. REVISIT YOUR SERVICES: Every quarter I take a look at where my revenues are coming from and even ‘if’ I thought they ‘should’ come from one area and they are not – it’s time to focus on the area that generates the best income for my business. Always be open to changing your business plan if something is not working for you. The same goes for your marketing plan – if you had some strategies in place and they are not attracting new clients then change them and find out what will you in front of more clients.
  5. BECOME THE EXPERT: I know I’ve talked about this in a previous newsletter but it is important for you to stand out from other people offering the same services that you do. Be ‘creative’ not ‘competitive’. Provide more value than what the actual cash value of your services is. Get yourself known in your community through writing for your local paper, doing talks at realtor offices or libraries – people can only buy from you if they know about you!
  6. KEEP LEARNING: Continue to learn new tools to grow your business particularly in the area of social media – this needs to be part of your strategic marketing plan. I highly recommend checking out eVision Media‘s social media program if you are unclear about what you need to be doing. Check out networking groups in your area for speakers who can teach you more about growing your business. Find your local home staging networking groups and get involved with them. Find someone who is successful and follow them – you can always do what they are doing – make it authentically yours.
  7. HIRE A COACH: Most home staging entrepreneurs that I coach love the creative, decorative, fun part of home staging and redesign. What they don’t love so much is ‘selling’ and ‘marketing’ their business. Their energy goes from a 10 (being high excitement) to a 1 within minutes when I ask about their plans and strategies. Find a business coach who is the right fit for you and invest the money in growing your business. Your coach can live anywhere but if they have experience in your business all the better.

Position Yourself As a Home Staging Expert

Believe it or not, anyone can call themselves an ‘expert’ in any area of business. You don’t really have to ask anyone’s permission to call yourself an expert – do you? You can claim that you are the ‘Number 1 Home Staging Company’ and no one is really going to ask you how you came up with that – are they?

You do however need to ‘be an expert’ and ‘feel like an expert’ as most realtors and sellers would prefer to deal with a ‘home staging expert’ versus someone who doesn’t see themselves the same way.

Definition of an Expert:

Someone recognized as a reliable source… An expert is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study… A person can become an expert by virtue of training, education, professional, publication or experience believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person…

So why do you need to be a ‘home staging & redesign expert’?

Expert SealOnce you consider yourself a home staging expert you can charge higher rates than others who are not yet experts in their field. Your growing reputation in the field attracts home owners and realtors who want to work with you. Other industry professionals may start to ask for advice about something they are having a challenge with or want to explore.

In my experience over the years because I positioned myself as a home staging expert I was often contact by libraries and private organizations to speak at their functions. Real estate companies look for speakers at their conferences. The media likes to profile experts and you may be contacted for television and radio shows. My magazine articles attract other publications and I get requests to write for other publications.

And, if I can do this so can you!

These are my suggestions on some of the things you can do to become an expert in home staging:

  1. Gain Experience - if you have already started your home staging and redesign business then by the very nature of you getting out and gaining experience you are on your way to becoming an expert. If someone asks you to help them with a job – just do it!
  2. Write Articles and eArticles - determine where you will get great exposure to start promoting yourself as an expert; contact local editors and if you get rejected just move on to the next contact; write an article once a week and send it out to as many places as you can think of; repeat…
  3. Write a Book or eBook – you may not think you have much to write about but I believe you can write an ebook about home staging and even a book if you are a good writer. You can always hire a copy writer if this is not one of your skills.
  4. Get Social Media Exposure – Create blog posts that provide TIPS to your target market. If you don’t have ideas of your own look at other peoples’ blogs and make an expert comment about the post. People will start to notice you.
  5. ‘Free’ Talks - find out where you can do some free talks about home staging. Libraries or community centers need to provide interesting talks to their patrons. Consider doing a talk with a realtor, mortgage broker and an inspector. With the stats on baby boomers and zoomers – downsizing is pretty topical right now.
  6. Network - get out an mingle with your target market and other like-minded professionals; join a BNI, a Meetup group, so many new networking groups keep popping up so check out new ones rather than staying with the same ones; keep your same story for all the networking groups you go to – don’t be one thing one week, and other thing the next week; stay focused on presenting yourself as the home staging expert in your area.
  7. Brand Recognition – create a strong brand with a strong message that you are the home staging expert your sellers and realtors need to connect with. Keep your brand consistent in all your marketing materials.
  8. Seek Knowledge - if you have not taken a professional course in home staging then consider getting certified. Continue to take courses or workshops that increase your knowledge base about running your business.

Regardless of what your training is or what your background it is important to decide what you want your future in the home staging industry to look like. Spend some time thinking about it so that you are truly passionate about delivering the services that you provide to your clients. Focusing on what you love to do attracts more clients!

For more great Marketing Ideas check out my ‘Free Savvy Marketing Tips for Stagers‘.

Getting Your Customers ‘Over The Moon’ About You!

If your sales haven’t been exactly what you were expecting last year, is it possible that your customer service practices may have something to do with sales? You might think you are providing an acceptable level of customer service but what if you went above your standard level – could that be a game changer for you?

Under promise and over deliver…

Satisfy CustomersThis is a great philosophy to live by when you are providing home staging services whether it’s a consultation, client consultation, recommendations or the actual hands-on home staging work, you want to give your clients MORE than they paid for! By giving them MORE you are going to attract MORE clients like them and you are going to get some fantastic testimonials and they are MORE likely to refer you!

Understand I am not suggesting not to charge what the project/job is worth, I am saying throw in ‘a little something extra’ that would make them feel ‘Over the Moon’ about you.

Assessing Your Customer Service Level

Take an assessment of some of the ideas here and see how you would rate yourself. How many can you say “YES I DO THAT” to.

  1. If a prospect/client has left you a message on your phone do you get back to them within 24 hours? I mean pick up the phone and phone them? If a prospect/client has sent you an email do you get back to them within 24 hours?
  2. If you do not return phone calls or emails on the weekend do you let your prospects/clients know that by putting this in your message? (Staging isn’t often just a Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm business so you might need to revisit this)
  3. If you are not going to be able to return emails or phone calls while you are on vacation or sick, do you have someone in place who can do that for you? Is everyone on your team someone you are proud of that can deal competently with your clients when you are not available?
  4. If you say/promise that you are going to do something for your client, do you do it on time and on budget? If things are off-budget do you take the time to consult with your client rather than surprising them at the end with an extra charge or do you absorb the extra charges?
  5. Do you always arrive just a few minutes early to your appointments and look professional? If you are going to be late do you let your clients know? Is your portfolio up to date with great ‘before and after’ photos that you will impress your client?
  6. When you do your hands-on home staging work do you do a little extra for your client and let them know what you did? Perhaps you staged a small area for them that you hadn’t agreed you would do? Brought in a small accessory that you knew would work well at no charge for them?
  7. Do you have a Follow Up system in place that allows you to keep in touch with your clients? Are you sending out a fabulous monthly newsletter that gives them great tips on what they need to do to get their property ready for selling? Do you let them know about your awesome Special Promotions you have coming up? If you know when their birthdays are and you have a close relationship with them – send them a card!
  8. Are your clients really aware of how much you enjoyed working with them and how much you appreciate having the opportunity to stage their property? Perhaps you give them a small branded gift that you leave behind after the job. Send Out Cards (or something similar) are great for saying ‘Thank You’ and you can enclose a small gift with your card.
  9. Do you take the time to phone your client to check in with how the sale of their home is progressing? If you staged a vacant home you will know when it has sold but it’s a great idea to touch base with your clients and if need be, do a little coaching to keep them positive and hopeful that a sale is just around the corner.
  10. Even if you did not get the home staging job you bid on, did you follow up with the realtor and/or client to find out what you could have done differently, better, etc.? Did you send them a ‘Thank You’ card and not an email?

Having said all of the above will improve your Customer Service it is a given that your home staging designs and talents are exceptional already! You may have been able to get a 100% on these Customer Service questions – that’s just great. If not, you can make the choice to change some of the ways you are doing business. Only you can determine your level of customer service but to really excel in today’s home staging marketplace, I think you need to pick up the phone more, meet more people in person and deliver on all your promises

Action Assignment

Take a close look at what systems you have in place as part of your Customer Service program. Is it time to revisit this and/or add some new services? What are 3 new things you could do to show your clients/prospects that you actually ‘personally’ care about them? Get inside your client’s head and think what would put a smile on their face!

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Want to use this article in your next ezine or on your website? Please do! Here’s what you need to include:

Dana Smithers is founder and creative director of the PRES Staging Resource Centre, a company devoted to teaching entrepreneurial women how to start and run their home staging business. Through her workshops, courses, mentoring programs, and products, Dana shows her students how to live their dream of becoming a home stager whether part time or full time. She is committed to her students’ on-going success.

Setting Your Intentions for 2014 — Your PRES Top 10!

In your business there are many universal laws at work. One of them is the ‘Law of Intention’ which is based on the fact that…

there is always an infinite amount of energy and information
present to create whatever you want.

This law of intention works hand-in-hand with the Law of Attraction. One of the first things you need to do as a home staging entrepreneur is to decide WHAT YOU WANT your business to look like.

What might some of your intentions be this year? Take a look at this list for home staging entrepreneurs and feel what resonates with you. Use the following phrase in front of each one below and you will know whether or not it’s something you really ‘intend’ to do or not. If you don’t get a good feeling from it, decide if it is something you don’t need to do at this time or is there some resistance coming up around it that you might want to examine more closely?

I (insert your first name) intend to:

  1. Review my 2013 Revenue Streams to determine where my sales came from. Once I do this I can decide what areas I need to focus on more or let go. My main source of revenues is from (fill in the blank) and I plan on increasing this by x%.
  2. Put systems into place that allow my business to flow more easily and free up time for work I need to do. I intend to delegate where it makes sense to pay someone to do things I do not do well and/or no longer want to do because I make more money doing other work I love.
  3. Have more balance in my life – create time for family and friends – my business is part of a healthy life but not my whole life focus. Take good care of myself having ‘me time’ so that I feel refreshed and am happy and productive doing the work I love.
  4. Complete a 90 day marketing plan (click this link for my ‘Free’ Savvy Marketing Webinar) that I can easily follow so that my ‘sales funnel’ is never empty and I am always attracting more new clients. One of my key tactics will be to (fill in the blank – network more, do more social media, secure some speaking engagements, have more ‘get to know me’ meetings, etc).
  5. Create more strategic alliances this year so that others (my unpaid sales force) can refer me. I will focus on having excellent relations with my alliances so we can both cross promote.
  6. Follow up with past clients to build stronger relationships this year and let go of relationships that drain me energetically and financially. Use more stay-in-touch tactics that are more personal than just emails/blogs/posts.
  7. Revisit my ‘ideal client list’ so that I am totally clear on who my target audience is and how to market and attract them. With new clarity I can find more opportunities and inject some new interest in my work and do some out-of-the-box marketing.
  8. Continue taking professional development courses, reading books, attending trade shows and conferences that help me grow personally and professionally. (My new ‘Free Law of Attraction’ teleseminar is great!)
  9. Pick up the phone more and meet with more potential clients and clients in person – and limit the number of texts and emails I am a slave to. These actions will allow me to be more engaging and sustain longer term relationships.
  10. Determine when the time is right to hire a coach/mentor who can help me take my business to the next level.

If you do not set your intentions someone else will, so try and do this on a daily basis
and you will be absolutely amazed at the results. They will change your life.

Action Assignment

Go through the list above ‘Setting Your Intentions for 2014 – the PRES Top 10′ and see which ones resonate with you AND add/delete/change whichever intentions do not work for you. It’s your thoughts that lead to actions, that ultimately lead to results so the best place to start is by becoming aware of what you are thinking.

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Want to use this article in your next ezine or on your website? Please do! Here’s what you need to include:

Dana Smithers is founder and creative director of the PRES Staging Resource Centre, a company devoted to teaching entrepreneurial women how to start and run their home staging business. Through her workshops, courses, mentoring programs, and products, Dana shows her students how to live their dream of becoming a home stager whether part time or full time. She is committed to her students’ on-going success.

How to Make Your Client Testimonials or Case Studies Work for YOU!

Testimonials or case studies are called ‘social proof’ that promote you in your business. They are a great marketing tool to use in your website, in any marketing materials such as business card, post cards, flyers, You Tube videos and even your enewsletter.

When I was recently coaching a home stager I was surprised when she said she had never thought to ask the home seller for a testimonial. She did express some frustration with Realtors® who didn’t get back to her with their promised testimonial. A testimonial can be a few words or a few sentences that express how the client (home seller or realtor) felt about your work. They are writing it from their perception.

A case study contains more factual and sometimes statistical information such as how long the property was on the market, the obstacles to the sale, how much more the property sold for over asking and other pertinent data. You can write this up yourself based on what you know about the property, the sale, etc.

Here are a few tips that will help you get the testimonials you want.

TIPS on how to RECEIVE and USE great testimonials in your marketing materials to position you as an EXPERT:

  • As a home stager you want to ask for testimonials from both your home seller and your realtor
  • Once you have completed the work, send out an email request for a testimonial and you can even ‘suggest’ topics that you want them to write about – ask them to talk about their emotions (nervous, excited, etc) and how they felt when they saw the reveal (what impressed them the most)
  • Vary your testimonials so that your potential clients can read about all of the services/differences that you make in staging, redesign and/or decorating or whatever services you offer
  • Put their text in italics to distinguish it from other text and use “quotation marks”
  • You can always shorten a testimonial as long as you leave in the integrity of the comments by using three dots like this … and continuing on
  • Never wait longer than one week for a testimonial because it is most likely you will not get it – a gentle email reminder OR write it for them and ask them to approve it or edit if they want to
  • Typically in our business because of privacy issues we don’t put last names attached to any home photos – so I recommend just using a first name and the city they live in
  • Always thank them for their testimonial either by email or better still send them a card – ‘Send Out Cards’ are great for this or any appropriate card – we all get too many emails and they can keep your card
  • Ask for referrals once you receive their testimonials and remember to keep in touch with them on a regular basis

NB: If you don’t have a TESTIMONIAL REQUEST FORM just email me and I’ll send you one that we use at PRES.

These are some of the HOME STAGING COACHING TESTIMONIALS that I have received. You can see that each one says something different and is very authentic to that coaching client.

“I had been in the home staging and redesign business for about three years and hadn’t seen the growth I had anticipated. I decided to work with a business coach and I really wanted someone who understood my industry and had experience in the areas I lacked. I had read several of Dana’s comments on Linked-In and she always seemed very generous with her advice and resources. After our initial “Get To Know You” phone call I knew this was who I wanted to help me take my business to the next level. During our bi-monthly chats we set goals and she held me accountable for my own successes. Dana has guided me through our time together with inspiration, humour, friendship and compassion.”

Angela – Toronto ON

“I took the PRES Training 5 years ago and also kept my “day job” because I felt so unsure about whether or not I would be successful. My passion for redesign and staging has not wavered, and recently I decided to take the plunge and make a full time commitment to my redesign business and hired Dana as my coach. Dana’s coaching has really helped move forward in my business and break through some emotional blocks. Using her ‘Law of Attraction for Women’ technique I have gained clarity and direction for my business, as well as inspiration and confidence as an entrepreneur. I feel empowered and encouraged by the progress I am beginning to see. Dana coaching and guidance has been magic!”

Mary Ann – North Vancouver BC

“After 2 years in business without success I decided that I was ready to make a change and give my business my all. I said to myself I’m going to give it a year and if things don’t improve I’m calling it quits. I purchased Dana’s 10 Best Marketing Tips, hoping I would find new ways to market my business. I chose Dana has a coach because she is a home stager and thought she would be more helpful to me because of that. I am so glad I did! Dana has helped me so much! My confidence has greatly improved and having the ‘Goals List’ after each call has kept me on task and focused. Her coaching has lead me to making contact with an investor and realtor who are interested in working with me, which I am so excited about. I would definitely recommend Dana as a coach if you are a home stager who feels lost and doesn’t know what to do next, like I was.”

Debbie – Richmond VA

“I took the PRES Staging and Redesign course at the beginning of this year, excited and nervous about starting my own business. It was such a fun and informative course and got me so excited about getting started. I feel I came away with knowledge about the business, contact information and names of people in the industry who could help me put the pieces together and start my business off on the right foot. Dana was always supportive and gave me opportunities to help her and continue my learning even after the course was completed.

I decided to hire her as a business coach recently and by the end of our 6 phone meetings I had a better and more professional website, redesign jobs on the calendar, articles in newspapers and was comfortable participating in and understanding networking groups. I now have a business I LOVE to do every day and continue to feel inspired and supported by Dana.

Thank you for everything Dana! I’m sad to know that our calls have ended because I often think of things I want to chat with you about. I can hear you now saying “keep in touch I’m not going anywhere!” and I really appreciate that about you!”

Joanne – New Westminster BC

Here’s a few sweet, short words from Louise – Chilliwack BC

Thank you from the bottom of my HEART! Your PASSION and ENTHUSIASM to help home stagers & designers to SUCCEED is AMAZING!

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