Stylists versus real estate agents—it’s not a boxing match but a partnership, so why the adversarial relationship?
Plenty of students here at the International Institute of Home Staging are scared of real estate agents. They’re scared of them for a number of reasons, primarily because they can be intimidating, but also because agents have a lot of power when it comes to engaging a home stager or property stylist. If the agent is busy and hard to catch, or simply not interested in pre-sale styling, it can be an uphill battle for stylists to get a foothold in the property industry.
There are a couple of simple reasons why an agent may reject your services: either you’re not approaching the agent in the right way, or you’ve not done the research to find the right agents in the right places. Having just one agent on board can change your business in a very small time frame.
Here are five tips for finding and working with agents.
1. Be proactive and responsive
Do your homework and select agents that you believe will be open to having their portfolio of properties styled. If you’re particular about who you work with, try to get to know how they interact with colleagues, contractors and clients before you make your approach. Take the initiative when it comes to the stager-agent relationship and always be open to the agent’s needs when they do decide they want styling, including integrating their feedback into your work.
2. Be the ultimate communicator
Polish your communication skills and you’ll be able to identify and match the communication style of the agent you are dealing with. Some agents are direct and you may need to be clear and straightforward in your dealings with them; for others who communicate in a less direct manner you may need to coax out what they really want from your correspondence or conversations with them. People like it when they are being heard and understood—be that person.
3. Show them the benefits
Agents may not know the value of a stager, so make sure when you approach them to be clear on what you do, how you do it and what’s in it for them and their clients, the property sellers. If you have a portfolio of past work, a visual example may be the best way to demonstrate the value you bring. Support your pitch with data regarding return on investment (ROI).
4. Stave off concerns
Whether through false assumptions or bad experiences, some agents have misconceptions about the staging process and what it entails. Combine your communication skills with your value proposition to explain the staging process, to demonstrate that it won’t slow down the timelines greatly and to emphasise that it will yield a better result.
5. Be professional
Professionalism goes a long way to create a good impression. Dazzle them with your confidence, styling skills and property knowledge. Always be polite and gracious, even when handling a rejection or feedback; the real estate industry is a close-knit community and word will get around about how you are to work with, so make sure the right message is sent.
What do you find most impresses agents?