Sheron Cardin's Input...: If no one answers, hang up and move on till someone picks up!

I have been an interior designer for over 27 years and I have always taught my clients the principles I used while decorating their home so they may enjoy decorating too. The home staging trend in residential real estate is a great way to reach more people every day and what I enjoy the most is they are learning the basics of good design through staging. It is my dream for every person to know the joy and pride of living in a decorated home.

If no one answers, hang up and move on till someone picks up!

cell phones

I know real estate agents that will answer their phones in the middle of their own birthday party, in the middle of their 25th anniversary dinner, and even in the middle of the night. Today I could not find a home stager in Seattle in the middle of the day.

This is what happened...I sent out my monthly newsletter as usual and I received a call back message from one of my subscribers in the Seattle area, Kirkland to be exact. And it said "I need a stager for a new listing". OK, I guess he enjoys the information and tips that I write but apparently has never visited my web site which clearly states that I sell home staging forms and instructions, all he knew was he needed a stager now and I was his only lifeline.

I called him immediately and he needed a stager to help his client with the wow factor from his entry. I thought that was kind of cute. He knew what home stagers did but had never used one but now he needs one asap. His client is moving to Hawaii and everything is packed in boxes and ready to go.

I'm not trying to drag this out, I am just trying to tell it just like it happened. This next episode is why I am posting about this particular experience.

I told him that I was in California but I would find him a professional stager immediately and have them call him right away. Well, right away turned into 10 tabs open in my window trying to find a stager from Active Rain that was in his area.

I mapped it out to see what communities were around his office. I opened the dashboard and clicked on the state of Washington, clicked on Kirkland and did not find one stager listed. So I opened Washington again, clicked on Home Stagers and went down the list. I visited their web sites first to make sure their work was good (again the importance of a good web site) and called. What I got was "no answer". I did this 3 more times with no answer. I went to Google to see how many stagers would pop up with the keywords home stagers Seattle. I only found 1 Home Stager on the first page that had an individual web site and was not part of a directory. (I did not want to go through a directory because of the time and sales pitches I would have to weed through.)

I left yet another message with that stager and went on to find a home stager in AR to pick up the phone. I did reach  Sandie Childs because she happened to take the day off. One stager called back but it was too late, she was out unloading her truck. (she was not from AR but I invited her to join of course)

Real estate agents KNOW that their phones are their lifeline to their business and you will never see an agent 10 feet away from their phone at any time (well, that might be an exaggeration) but you get my drift. The time is at hand...Home Stagers will be and are considered real estate professionals and the lifeline to the success of our business will be "who picks up the phone".

I am sure Sandi is going to do a great job for this Realtor and his client and will get many referrals from the lead. Learn from the pros, it is the connections that bring in the work so be sure to keep your phone on and on you. The day has come and it was today.



Comment balloon 15 commentsSheron Cardin • May 01 2007 08:03PM


You are right, Sheron! Home Stagers need real estate agents and vice versa. We all should be available or at least 45 minutes (max) from a return phone call - unless there is something that just cannot wait.
Posted by Keith Pate (Keller Williams Preferred Realty) about 13 years ago

Sheron, this was a great post!  So true!  My brother told me when I was starting my business make sure you always answer the phone, never let them go to Voicemail!  So far we have been really good about that, but then again when they do..well you have heard the message.


Posted by Marci Toliver, Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging (438-4642) about 13 years ago

Hi Keith - I know it is rude to be in one conversation and answer a cell phone. I just hate that. But when you are trying to build a business, you just have to be a little rude sometimes and whoever you are talking to will want the same from you when they need you. I am not saying talk, just answer and then arrange to call back. Home Staging is going to have to be the FAST FOOD of real estate for awhile until everyone's plate is filled up

Marci - I swear you could start your own answering service. wink* back at ya. 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 13 years ago
Sheron how nice of you to take so much care of this situation. I agree about the cell phone concept and know that what you said is true and important. What is more important to me from this story is how much trouble you went to for a subscriber and an unknown stager. GOOD FOR YOU!
Posted by Yvonne Root, Home Stager - Northern Arizona (rooms b.y. root) about 13 years ago

Sheron- If you ever need a stager in Indiana, I promise to answer the phone...

Thanks for going above and beyond for someone who needed you.

Posted by Kimberly Wester about 13 years ago
Thanks girls, I didn't think of it that way but I did feel like I represented the whole industry. Our reputation was on the line. The best and the worst happens in the blink of an eye or, in this case, the ring of the phone.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 13 years ago

Hey, Sheron, that was such a NICE thing to do!  I used to laugh a long time ago because I get calls (honestly!) for Feng Shui "emergencies" and now I see Home Stagers getting them too. They finally decide they want the service and they want it NOW.  The only time I don't pick up is during a Consultation, otherwise I try to get it or call back as soon as possible.  Great story :)

















Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 13 years ago
Hey Carole - OK, I am going to test you...I will be calling you before sure you pick up! ;)
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 13 years ago

Hi Sheron!

Sandie Childs, here. Again, thank you VERY much for the call yesterday (Monday May 1st) I did contact the real estate agent. He will in turn, give my name and contact info to the client. I talked with the real estate agent about the entryway "dilemma" and about staging in general. He was an easy person to talk to; I enjoyed chatting with him. Now,  I am awaiting a call back from the client. My company is Simply Staged for Success, in  Washington State. I just started my business recently and have a few jobs lined up, one in Vancouver and one in Portland, Oregon. We work up and down the I-5 corridor. I am really looking forward to updating the entryway, my understanding is that it has older wall paper on the entry wall, a bit of an outdated color of blue with a design and an unattractive pattern. It will be an interesting challenge, depending on how large the entry way is and how bold the wallpaper is, will determine which direction I go, in order to change the look. Fresh flowers always add to an entry way...but I need to take a look at the house first. Anyway, I am looking forward to the challenge, and thanks again. If I have the opportunity to send business your way, I will be sure to do that! Take care, and I will more than likely be talking with you soon.

Sandie Childs


Posted by Sandie Childs (Simply Staged For Success) about 13 years ago

I am so glad you blogged about this. When I took my business course I was told to NOT answer your phone, let it go to voicemail, because it makes you appear busy. Thankfully I NEVER DO THAT!! My phone comes everywhere with me.

Phyllis Pafumi

Posted by Phyllis Pafumi, ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ (ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey) about 13 years ago

Hi Sandi , it is a nice surprise to hear from you! keep us posted on the progress!

Phyllis - I used to do that too...what were we thinking! 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 13 years ago

I am in the Seattle area, and I am afraid this is a very busy time for stagers here! I am staging 4000+ Square foot homes back to back days, and have a 2-3 week wait list. That is the reality of it. Still, there is something to be said about getting a real person on the other end of the line when you call. So stagers, do we raise our prices and hire secretaries? Luckily, my realtors know the way I handle their business inquiries, and respect my schedule, so it is working.


Posted by Julianna Hind, REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA (eXp Realty) about 13 years ago

Hmmmmm, my thoughts on the subject..............I don't ever answer my phone when driving.  I have enough to do just dodging the red light runners and speeders without the distraction of a phone call.  When at home I answer.  And I don't give out my cell number unless its to a client.  Personally I think its rude to answer your phone when you're with someone trying to do business.  To date I havent lost one client because their call went to voice mail.  Failing to return calls however is another matter all together.

Terry Haugen - STAGE it RIGHT!

Posted by Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495 (Stage it Right!) about 13 years ago


Way to rally the troops!  I'm impressed you went to such lengths to  find a home stager for an out of state subscriber to your newsletter.  That is really above and beyond.



Posted by Molly S Ringer, Realtor Lake County FL Luxury Homes (Weichert Hallmark Properties) about 13 years ago

Julianna - I will be sure to refer you. I will be in Seattle the first week in August...hope the heat wave that I experience every year will be over by then. Glad to see you are so busy and will make a note of that. It could be the way all stagers will end up getting work is by the process of elimination...who knows?

Terry - you sound like you have it all together!

Shai - I can't imagine leaving anyone hanging. Maybe someday I will become the Home Stager dispatcher!!! Thanks for the support. 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 13 years ago