If You Won’t Play The Game, Get Off The Bench

Not too long ago, I went to watch a university hockey game. I love college hockey. It’s fast, skilled and all the players are usually determined to play their best. On this particular game I was excited to watch a player who had played with my son, many years ago in minor hockey. His name was Kyle. He had much success in his hockey career and was in his final year of eligibility. He was the leading scorer of the team. In fact, scouts came to the game from a couple of semi-professional leagues just to watch him play.

I best remember him as extremely skilled but very independent and hot tempered. You really didn’t want to get on his bad side. In the second period, I noticed the coach wanting Kyle to get back into the bench. Kyle refused to skate to the bench. He finally did and an argument ensued in front of all who were in attendance between Kyle and the coach. Kyle was eventually ordered to leave the bench and never returned to the game. He didn’t like that, but neither did the coach. Kyle wasn’t much of a team player, that game.

So what does hockey have to do with home staging? Everything. Like many companies and projects, successful home staging has a team approach. In many ways, the real estate agent is like the general manager, selecting the right players who will best sell the client’s home quickly and at the best price. Choosing the right home stager is critical to the sale of a home. Proven experience and skill should always be a metric for success. Sometimes the real estate representative will micro manage a sale, others will delegate. Each has its merit but in the end, the real estate agent is accountable for the success or failure of a listing. This is where the team players all have to step up and be the best.

I can best speak from the perspective of a furniture rental company, who has been involved in many home staging projects. Yes, I have always considered furniture rental as a member of the team. Furniture rental companies don’t just rent, they sell a service package that totally supports the home stager and in essence, the real estate agent.

From quality product, to delivery, to install to pick-up, rental companies need to be depended on to fulfill the expectations of their clients, often the home stager. But, we are a team. I have always found that the most successful home stagings and furniture rental installations are dependent on reasonable planning time, high organizational skills from all involved and mutual respect of all team players. There is NO sense to bully, force or take advantage of others, thinking that one is not as important as the other. I used to roll my eyes at the dynamics of a Donald Trump Apprentice episode. Leaders must lead, but there should be mutual respect from each other. The goal is always to succeed in selling the home in the most cost effective way in the shortest time possible at the best possible price.

I remember when I was approached by a very good client, a home stager, and was asked if I could lower my pricing by 35% for a particular project that had a very tight budget. I agreed. I knew neither the homeowner, agent nor home stager were taking advantage of each other. It was just a calculated financial issue. I was being part of the team. I have also been asked to buy particular custom products to make a staging more successful. I understood, and we did. We looked good doing it, the home stager looks good for the quality of the staging package and most importantly the real estate agent looks good selling the home at maximum price.

My final point is that if we are all players on a team, the team should be carefully selected. When approaching a furniture rental company, find out how many home stagings they have experience with, ask for references if you wish, find out if they are totally dedicated to furniture rental or do they do home staging on the side. A true furniture rental company will NOT participate in home staging and will often refer up to three home stagers to an end user or real estate representative, IF ASKED. The fewer key areas for conflict of interest, the better. I would like to add that loyalty goes a long way. The more the team stays together on home staging projects, the more flexible they are to each other. Truly a furniture rental company, if successful can become a home stager’s BFF!

Now let’s get back to Kyle. He in fact realized his behaviour was a detriment to the team. He didn’t score any goals the next game but he did get 4 assists! He understood what team meant. I think all those involved in real estate and home staging have their own teams. Consequently, players change, often for the sake of improvement. Vince Lombardi, legendary NFL coach said it best about the value of a team. He said, “individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” May you and your team continually achieve success!