Thursday, June 22, 2006

Creative networking

For those who are bringing a new product or idea to market, the length of time it takes to educate the market can be frustrating. Just ask Cindy Young, owner of Hourglass Home Impressions, a company that helps homeowners sell their homes more quickly by taking the owner's personality out of the home. This is called staging® by the International Association for Home Staging Professionals. This concept is readily accepted on both coasts, in fact it is a given that when you put you home on the market, you call your stager at the same time you ring up your Realtor®. That said, Cindy is in the midwest where the market tends to lag behind the trends. Also, the real estate market is glutted at the moment with many homes for sale and fewer buyers looking. Many homeowners can't see the value of paying a bit more to rearrange their homes. But that's where they are wrong.

Cindy is in the middle of trying to educate her market. People are not learning the lessons quickly enough for her. As a smart entrepreneur she asked for help from a few of her business friends. They suggested that she might link with a carpet cleaner who is called in to clean the spots out of the carpeting just before the sign goes out in front of the house. This person could recommend the use of Cindy's services, just as the carpet cleaner's services are being engaged. Cindy can return the favor when her business starts to take off and she is called in first. Additionally, one friend suggested asking to speak before home owner's association meetings. Staged homes get sold more quickly, and from the association member's point of view, it helps to keep the public perception of home values higher when there is NOT a glut of for sale signs sitting in front of houses.

Educating a market about a new idea is always a challenge. If you were Cindy's friend, what ways would you suggest (that wouldn't take a lot of cash) to move her business to the next level?


MaryAnn Mills said...

I think it is a very good idea to hookup with several realtors within > the area and speak at the local board's meetings for realtors. I would > make some inquiry into how long the average house is on the market, if > it is priced right and is that area moving. If all those answers are > "yes" then the thing to do is staging.
> Why? Because people are not receiving it well.
> Start at the curb! You must get them in.
> Cindy needs to present "before" & "after" pictures and info. "Before" > and how long on the market. Then "after" with pictures and days on the > market. Put this info up front and bold in her marketing information. > MaryAnn Mills
> Sulphur Springs Realty

Jeff LaCourse said...

I agree with MaryAnn. Before and after photos as well as any statistics she could provide would be helpful. If she does not have enough data from her own work, she could find some data from other markets and how it is working for other people.

It may be a good idea to join Womens council or some other real estate professionals groups as well.

As a mortgage professional, I sometimes know that someone is going to list their home even before a Realtor, so meeting some mortgage people may be helpfull as well.

Kelly Elton said...

First of I recommend Cindy's service to anyone wanting to list and sell their home. Secondly, for Cindy, I recommend talking to some builders who have these beautiful newly constructed homes sitting there completely empty. Maybe someone in CN can take you to the next HBA meeting as a guest.

Leasa Maxx said...

Gather unbiased, third party data on the "staging" trend from larger markets; gather your own success stories and pitch a story to the media: print and broadcast.

I bet that the producer of WTOL's AM Saturday would love the visual of Cindy doing a "mini" live staging -- showing the before and after in real time throughout the AM Saturday's broadcast time.

Cindy Young said...

Thank you everybody for your advice! ~Cindy Young~

Judy Gorun said...

Cindy might try contacting a Realtor who has a vacant home currently on the market, and offer to stage the home for a period of time. Then, a Realtor's Open House could be held by the listing agent, and sponsored by a lender or title company, providing a light lunch or snacks. Local Realtors would then have the opportunity to view the home and the quality of Cindy's staging. Cindy could attend the event, and have the opportunity to showcase her talents, and at the same time, network with Realtors who could promote her business to clients who could/should use her services.