Most new entrepreneurial home stagers have difficulty with the concept of ‘selling’. They love the creative aspect to home staging and they get excited about creating their marketing materials and love doing the actual home staging and redesign transformations. But in reality you need to be able to ‘sell your services’ to someone who will buy them or, you will soon be out of business.
So why not take the fear out of selling by just saying that you are ‘getting to know someone and deciding if you want to continue to grow that relationship’. Does that sound more doable and less fearful? When I was in corporate sales we always worked with the 80 – 20 Rule: The Pareto Principle. In essence it simply means that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.
So what this suggests is that you need to look at building quality, long-term relationships with clients that you like doing business with. Forget about ‘hard selling’ to prospects and/or existing clients, but rather take the approach that you want to get to know these contacts better by developing stronger relationships. People buy from you when they ‘Know you, Like you and Trust you’.
SOME TIPS FOR RELATIONSHIP SELLING…
There will be a variety of opportunities for you to build relationships so that you can ‘soft sell’ your home staging and redesign services. Here are a few that have proven to be the best for new and seasoned entrepreneurs:
- NETWORKING RELATIONSHIPS – go to many different networking events with the intention of finding your ‘ideal client’ at these events. Choose to join the ones that you feel most connected with and who also have the same values as you do. Once you find a networking group you want to join then make a commitment to be there each time there is a meeting. Get to know the other members. Find and connect with people that you genuinely want to do business with. Let them get to know who you are and what you do. We have all been to those networking events where right off the bat someone wants to sell you something and they have not taken any time to get to know you, or even what your needs are. This can be offensive and many a good sale is lost by not taking time to build trust with one another.
- REALTOR RELATIONSHIPS – when you are first starting out you need to be ‘out there’ meeting as many realtors as you can spending about 65% of your time doing this. You will be able to discern which ones you have the best fit with and who you will continue to develop relationships with. Ideally over time you can develop more exclusive relationships with fewer realtors. However you always want to be meeting new realtors due to the nature of the market.
- STRATEGIC ALLIANCE RELATIONSHIPS – think about all of the industry-related people that you know that you can develop stronger relationships with. Going out for a coffee or sending a card to keep in touch over time, will definitely pay off for you. Alliances can also be great for referrals as well and this group can help build your business.
- HOME SELLER RELATIONSHIPS – while you may only stage a home the same client once every few years (or perhaps not even this often) remember that you can also move this client into their new home. Also, never underestimate the value of home-seller referrals. Referrals can add up to be a sizable income source for you.
So have some fun, keep connecting with new prospects and remember to get your ‘self’ out of the way and go and connect with someone. Your negative self talk isn’t going to get you closer to your goals – just one little positive action on your part can make a big difference in growing your business. It’s helpful to remind yourself that someone does want to buy what you have to offer, you just need to find them and connect. And it’s okay to not want to connect with everyone because not everyone will be your ideal client!