Sunday, January 1, 2017

Branding vs Marketing

Branding: The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. ~ Small Business Encyclopedia

Marketing: The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. ~ American Marketing Association

In simple terms, your brand represents who you are, and marketing refers to the act of delivering your brand message. When I was first starting out, I didn't have much of a marketing budget, so instead I focused on branding my business. By making myself, and my business, a memorable brand, I generated tons of word-of-mouth referrals! From my cute pink consultation tool belt, to my letterhead, logo on my vehicle, website, marketing materials, and adding a touch of "pink" in everything that I did and wore, I not only provided great service to my clients, but I was easily remembered. When someone drove by my house and saw my company's sign on the lawn, they didn't write down the phone number or website to call me right away, but when they searched for my company online, they recognized my logo and my brand.


What does this mean to you and your business? Establishing, and promoting your brand will help you to stand out. The greater your brand recognition, the better your chances of being remembered when someone is looking for you. Remember that 97% of your clients are not looking for you, but when they are ready to find you, you’ll want to be sure that your company is top of mind.

When considering how you wish to brand yourself, and your company, you’ll first need to establish what your brand stands for:
  • Who are you?
  • What is your business?
  • What do you stand for?
  • How will you create your “brand” recognition?
  • Does your brand have a story?

The foundation of your brand is your logo, everything else is simply a means to communicate your brand, including but not limited to:
  • Website
  • Promotional materials (business cards, flyers, postcards, brochures, lawn signs, etc.)
  • Uniform
  • Colour
  • Phrase
  • Policy

Enlist the services of a professional to design your logo – this is your company’s first impression, and you want to ensure that it’s a clear and positive one. Your logo is not only about the graphics, but also the colours and the font that you select. Choose your colours carefully – remember that these colours will then be used in all future branding. Take into consideration the science behind the colour(s) that you choose. Next, decide whether or not your name will be a part of your logo, and consider what other elements you wish to see – it may be abstract or specific, depending on what you wish to portray.

In addition to your logo, a catchy tag line can also help to establish your brand. This would generally be printed with your logo, and essentially become your company’s mantra.

Ex: SLS Academy - Home Stager Training Redesigned for Tomorrow's Home Stagers

Branding extends to every aspect of your business, from how you answer your phones, to what you and your team wear, your e-mail signature – everything. Be consistent, and be memorable.


Monday, December 5, 2016

SLS Academy Announced as Award Finalist from Home Staging Association!

The Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA®) recently announced SLS Academy’s Client Care Package as a finalist for The RESA® Most Innovative Product or Service of the Year™. How exciting!

SLS Academy will be exhibiting at the 2017 RESA Convention in Las Vegas Nevada at the M Resort Jan 19-21, 2017, where the winners will be announced and presented with their prestigious awards. This annual convention is a huge industry event and a great opportunity to connect with home stagers from around the globe!

“We would like to thank everyone for their participation in the awards process, without the support of our membership we would not be able to recognize so may well deserving people in our industry. All of the finalists in all categories can be seen at www.HomeStagingIndustryAwards.com. All of the winners will be announced at RESACON2017 during the awards banquet January 19, 20, 21, 2017 at the M Resort in Las Vegas”, said Shell Brodnax, President/CEO Real Estate Staging Association. 

About The Real Estate Staging Association®
The Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA®) is the trade association for professional real estate stagers and redesigners For more information on the real estate staging and the convention visit www.RESAConvention.com.  For more information about the awards please visit www.HomeStagingIndustryAwards.com. For more information about real estate staging, or to find a professional stager or redesigner call 800-201-8687 and speak with Shell Brodnax, or visit the RESA® Web site at www.RealEstateStagingAssociation.com     


Learn more about this award-winning Client Care Package!

Inside the Client Care Package, you'll receive access to tips and checklists to use for your clients and you to create the ultimate consultation experience, while helping you to upsell your services.

All of the documents provided are in .doc format so you can edit them, and they're completely customizable with your logo and contact information.

Plus, there's an included tutorial on how to use them!


Friday, November 25, 2016

Use Your Bio to Promote the Star that You Are

Written by Fred Berns
Is your bio boosting or blocking you?
Is the personal profile on your website, social networking sites and in your marketing materials qualifying you for the kind of clients you want?  Or, is it disqualifying you?
Before you can sell your staging services, you have to sell yourself. That’s why your bio is your most important personal marketing tool.
Some Keys to a Killer Bio:
1/ “Only” (as in, “I’m the areas’ only home stager who…”) is your Million $$$ Bio Word.
2/ Other Bio Words that ROCK: First, Newest, Oldest (longest-established), Largest, Award-Winning
3/ Your staging skills don’t matter. What matters is how clients benefit from them.

4/ Don’t dwell on your “don’t’s.” Don’t fret about the experience, clients, degrees, certifications, and awards that you don’t have.

5/ Highlight, don’t hide your past. Explain how your current clients benefit from the skills you gained from past employment.
If your bio undersells and fails to differentiate you, it is handicapping rather than helping you. You can’t afford that. But you can afford this:
Register by Dec. 31, and I’ll create for you a Killer Bio for half the regular price. 
Your new bio will spell out your special-ness and position you as a uniquely-qualified, one-of-a-kind staging professional.
Register for your half price bio by contacting me at Fred@FredBerns.com, or 303-589-3013.
You can’t get good clients with a bad bio.
The promotional profile I can create for you will give you credit where credit is due, establish you as the “star” that you are, and help you take your staging business to the next level and beyond.


Fred Berns,  a keynote speaker at RESA’s 2017 home staging convention, is the only staging industry business coach and speaker who creates personal bios and other promotional materials for stagers worldwide. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Choose the Right Home Staging Course for YOU

Since home staging as a career has gained additional exposure over the last several years, there are now more options than ever for home staging training. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose which one is the “best” one to take. The answer to this question will depend greatly on what your goals and expectations are. There are several factors to consider in selecting the course that is right for you:

-       How long do you hope to work in this new career for?
o   Regardless of what your answer is to this question, what sort of skills will your training program provide you with?
§  Will they be there for you through the various stages of your business? What sort of support will they provide?
§  If you plan to be in and out of the business in a short time-frame, will they help you with the exit-strategy?
§  If you plan to make this your career for the next couple of decades, will they keep you up-to-date and current as trends and techniques change and evolve?

-       Are you interested in expanding your services beyond home staging (i.e. home organizing, colour consultations, redesign services, and more)?
o   If yes, you’ll want to review what additional training they will provide you to ensure that you are properly equipped to provide these to your clients. Many courses offer advanced options in the areas of design, through continuing education, and others incorporate it into the home stager training course.

-       Do you have any experience running a business?
o   If not, what sort of training will they provide you for managing the business, including registration, day-to-day operations, outlining your services and pricing, marketing, expansion, and more?

-       What vendors are offered?
o   Are they teamed up with resources that will help you to build and grow your business? Any reputable home staging program will have affiliates that they work with to provide you with valuable information, supplies, and discounts.

-       How much time will the course take?
o   The answer you’re looking for for this question might not be what you think! The longer that the course takes to complete, the more comprehensive it likely is. Whether it’s an in-class or online training program, you’ll want to identify the time commitment before registering, to ensure that you are ready to make the commitment that it needs.

-       What does the course content cover?
o   What value will you get for your investment into your training? Review the type of information that you will learn, from home staging techniques, to design theory, to creating your systems and processes, and running the day-to-day business.
o   Will they offer you templates and cheat sheets for starting your business, or will you be creating these yourself from scratch?

-       What direction do you wish to take the business?
o   Do you plan to own your own home staging inventory, or rent it? Do they teach you the differences, and help you to decide which is best for you?
o   Is there a particular niche that you hope to specialize in? If so, what training do they provide in that area?
o   Do you hope to add staffing to your business, or keep it a solo operation? How will they help with whichever direction you choose?

-       What additional support do they offer following completion?
o This may include, but is not limited to: coaching, mastermind groups, continuing education training courses, and networking.

-       What certification do you receive?
o   While this should not be a deciding factor, you will want to consider what your “title” will be once you have completed the course.

-       How do their members interact?
o   Do members offer members support?
o  Do you have an opportunity to connect with and collaborate with others within your designation?

-       What will it cost you to keep your certification and training up to date?
o   Some courses will charge you a membership fee in order to keep your designation title, whereas others will charge you a fee to maintain your access to your training material. Be sure to clearly understand these fees upfront before investing, and ensure that you are prepared to pay them over the coming years.

-       Who will be your training instructor, and what is their experience with home staging?
o   Are they currently operating a home staging business, or have they operated one in the past?
o   If they are not currently operating a home staging business, when was the last time that they worked hands-on with clients?

You’ll notice that price was not mentioned as a factor here, but in truth it should be mentioned. The reason that it was not outlined as a deciding factor is that most reputable training programs will be comparable in price, and therefore this shouldn’t be a deciding factor. If a program is listed significantly lower than the others that you have researched, the chances are that the training provided will be sub-par (you’ve heard the saying that “you get what you pay for”, right?).


At the end of the day, choose the one that best fits your needs and your expectations. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and contact them directly to ask your questions. Heading down any new career path is a big decision, and one that you want to make carefully and purposefully.
Happy staging!