- “Let Me Tell You How I Work”: How to Create a Powerful Value Message and Why it Matters
- Taking Social Media to the Next Level in 2010
- Business Plan 2010 – Tip 2: Start Blogging.
- Stand Out In Your Marketplace: Highlight Your ASP® Designation
- What is Staging and Why Do You Need an Accredited Staging Professional®?
What’s the value we as ASPs® bring to the real estate transaction? With a plethora of online resources and other information channels, what do we offer Realtors® and consumers they cannot find elsewhere or do by themselves? We know what we offer, but do they know it? Are we telling them? How can we tell them? We cannot afford to assume that they do and must proactively educate them upfront, and immediately and effectively communicate the value we give them. We must embrace that a new consumer has emerged, with unique preferences and expectations, and especially with new ways to seek out information. It’s time to incorporate new solutions and technologies into our daily work process to meet their needs and especially how we will meet their expectations. Here are three examples of information you can share to effectively show the value you give your clients. Tell the Impact of Staging: Share Home Staging Statistics Let’s say a consumer’s vacant home is on the market for $400,000, and it hasn’t sold for over eight months. I’m sure you agree that’s not an unrealistic situation these days given our nation’s economic condition. With no activity, the seller may consider a 10% price reduction. That’s $40,000! I’m sure the seller would consider any other option that to lower his or her price that much. Are you currently discussing Home Staging statistics with Realtors® and prospective customers? Nothing speaks more clearly of the impact of Home Staging than numbers, and Stagedhomes.com provides statistics you can use to showcase the difference Home Staging makes. Click here to access Staging statistics provided by Stagedhomes.com. Share Testimonials and Case Studies Are you currently interviewing consumers after a successful transaction, and are you using their testimonials when reaching out to prospective clients? Testimonials are powerful as it gives consumers an unbiased idea for what it’s like to work with you. Another way to show tangible evidence of what you do for your clients is by providing detailed case studies of past Staging assignments. Have you ever been contacted by a Realtor® looking for a way to sell a home that’s been on the market for a while? Did the Staging of a vacant home speed up the sales process? While before and after pictures certainly showcase the quality of your work, an in-depth case study should show the financial results and the faster time frame it took to sell a home. Discuss the background of the sale, including how many days on the market, previous price changes, and the expectations the clients may have had in terms of how fast they needed to sell their home. Build and Manage Expectations An absolutely essential part of sharing your value is to build and manage expectations among those you want to work with. Share the stages of your Staging process from start to finish, tell them how you work, and discuss upfront what they can expect. Talk about your role, and the role of Realtors and consumers. Discuss with sellers how you, forming a team with the sellers, their Realtors and any other professionals, will get their homes sold for more money. Here are three examples of how you visibly can showcase the value you give your clients. Start Blogging Want to find an effective way to frequently communicate with prospective clients and real estate agents? Yesterday’s newsletter is today’s blog. A blog allows you to easily share your knowledge, tips, and value with existing and prospective clients, and influencers such as Realtors® and other industry professionals. Here are a couple of examples of what you can write about on your own blog: Virtual Staging The concept of virtual Staging has been discussed more and more online in recent months. Knowing that consumers may wonder about the use of virtual Staging over in-home Staging, consider writing about it similarly to what I recently did. Here is a blog post I wrote about virtual Staging. It’s an effective way to bring up a subject, and educate those who visit your blog. What’s an ASP®? Consumers probably wonder what an Accredited Staging Professional® does and especially how working with an ASP® will benefit them. A while back we revised our documents describing exactly what an ASP® is and the value they bring. Click here for a blog post I recently wrote. You too can share information you know is of interest to those you would like to work with. Share Online Presentations Have you ever spoken with a Realtor® or prospective client who in the most uncommitted way responds “just send me some information?” That’s likely because the way we prefer to learn about products, services and solutions differently from just a couple of years ago. These days, consumers – professionals as well – want to do research on their own. Through search engines we can find just about anything we need. We’d rather not spend our time hearing a sales offer, no matter how much we may in fact need the service we’re told about. As a consumer I don’t want to be sold something; I want to find out on my own what I need and from whom I need it. There’s also a good possibility that a consumer may do their research on you and your business before they contact you. Your website, blog or even Facebook profile may be where they first learn about you. Do not wait until you have a chance to sit down to share the information; make it available online and provide it prior to your initial meeting. By the time you meet they will be more familiar with the extent and complexities of the Staging process, and therefore more likely to seek the guidance of a professional. Recognizing that those we want to work with may be averse to inviting us to discuss what we can do for them, we must find ways to inform and educate before we may have had a chance to meet them in person. Here’s an excellent way to share your materials online: upload your Power Point Preservation. Click here to view how ASP® Stacey Gibson’s effectively showcases the value of Home Staging and her business through an online presentation. Answer Frequently Asked Questions As ASPs® we are intimately knowledgeable about every aspect of the Home Staging process, and it’s easy to assume consumers, Realtors® and other industry professionals are too. An effective way to educate them about aspects of Home Staging they may not know to ask about is to share a list of frequently asked questions. By giving answers upfront you educate your audience rather than wait for them to ask you questions. Also, it’s an effective way to convert those who may previously have little understanding of the impact of Home Staging. Communicating our value is not an easy task. We want to show what we do without coming off as too promotional. Rather than giving a sales pitch we must educate. Instead of promoting ourselves too aggressively, we must give helpful information and tools to win the trust of those we want to work with. Sharing your information with the tools given above will most likely help achieve that. Live in Joy, ASP® Stage® with Joy and Enjoy the Wonder and Magic of it all! Barb Barb Schwarz, ASP®, ASPM®, IAHSP® The Creator of Home Staging® Founder and CEO,Stagedhomes.com Founder and Chairwoman, IAHSP and the IAHSP Foundation Here are previous blog posts I’ve written on the subject of value proposition, social media, blogging, and sharing your information and materials online.