Homes That Make a Good First Impression Have 5 Things in Common

House Staging

NEW YORK – Jan. 17, 2018 – It takes just 26 seconds for a guest to form an opinion of your home when they walk through the front door. What does your space say about you? While we try to resist the urge to judge, there’s no doubt that first impressions count.

Whether you’re expecting guests or you’re hoping to transform your spare room into a rental, experts agree there are five key areas that friends notice first about your house. Thankfully, it takes minutes to correct them. Here, Miranda Cresswell, brand director at OneFineStay, and Ariel Kaye, CEO of Parachute and the newly opened Parachute Hotel, explains the most effective ways to update your home before guests arrive. Got five minutes to spare? Make these simple changes for a home that makes a lasting impression.

A styled entryway

“A clean and welcoming entryway is crucial in leaving a good first impression – it’s the first thing a guest sees!” says Cresswell. When transforming a home into a OneFineStay property, she says it’s crucial that the entrance introduces a design theme. “A good first impression – that moment when a guest’s breath is taken away – comes from stepping into a home with striking, deliberate design,” she says. “Think bright, organized and neutral. There’s a place for the eclectic or quirky, but the entryway is not that place.”

Instant fix: If you don’t have time to restyle your entryway, Cresswell says updating wall decor is a simple way to unify the space. “Rather than cobbling a bunch of different frames or odds and ends together, choose a few specific things that pair perfectly. A precisely placed mirror can make a space look much bigger and brighter.”

An uplifting scent

If you only pay attention to the look of your home, you’re missing one of the most important factors that influence guests: fragrance. “Scent can be one of the most immediate factors in making a first impression, and it is often overlooked,” says Cresswell.

A Trulia study suggests it could also increase the value of your home; 30 percent of real estate agents said scent was the single most important sense during an open house and named vanilla and fresh scents as the most popular among house hunters.

Instant fix: Light a vanilla or citrus candle in the living room or near the entrance to infuse your home with an uplifting scent. If you’re turning your home into a rental, be sure to use a tall lantern to shield the open flame. “Flowers always add an elegant but subtle fragrance, and baking cookies is another great way to get a welcoming air on arrival,” says Cresswell.

A lack of clutter

It’s time to address that discarded pile of magazines or strewn shoes – when it comes to first impressions, clutter counts: 73 percent of real estate agents said cleanliness is the most important sight-based feature during a viewing, possibly because unnecessary furniture and decor can make a space feel small.

“A foyer should have absolutely no clutter,” says Cresswell. “Everything, from decorative knickknacks to practical things like shoes, should have a designated place. Keys should be hung neatly on a key rack, and shoes should have a rack or boot tray. As for cleanliness, dusting and vacuuming go a long way.”

Instant fix: Use decorative baskets to mask mess. Position them by the doorway, under a coffee table, or beside a sofa to fake a cleaner-looking home without removing any items.

White paint

The color you choose to paint your home can have a big impact on its value. A report by Zillow Digs found that slate gray was among the most disliked colors among guests and cut the value of a home by over $1000. If you’re painting a guest room, real estate agents told Trulia that white, ivory, and eggshell are the most appealing shades to create an inviting space.

Instant fix: If repainting your home isn’t an option, pay attention to lighting. A carefully chosen floor lamp with the right colored bulb can subtly change the intensity of paint and is a perfect way to make a slate-gray room feel bright and fresh.

Thoughtful touches

To turn a good first impression into a lasting one, Kaye says personal touches matter most. “A well-made bed is the most important thing you can offer your guests. It is the key to making your visitors feel completely comfortable, cozy, and relaxed!” When creating the brand’s first-ever hotel, Kaye channeled five-star vibes with a few expert touches. “You should always provide at least two pillows of varying firmness per guest and dedicate a few sets of towels and sheets for guest use only. This will allow them to last longer than if you added them to your daily rotation of linens.”

Instant fix: Caught off-guard by unexpected guests? Try this hotel-approved towel folding method for a thoughtful guestroom touch. “First, lay the towel flat on a surface, and smooth out any wrinkles. Then, starting with the long side of the towel, fold the length in thirds,” says Kaye. “Grasp the short side, and fold the towel in half. Repeat this step,” and you should be left with a neat square.

Get the latest on home decor trends, design ideas, shopping guides and food news, and take a look inside your favorite celebrity homes on DomaineHome.com.

Copyright © 2018, Clique Media Inc., Sophie Miura Domaine. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Does Your Sales Team Help Implement Your Strategy?

Guiding The Sales Process

All too often, the reason a company’s strategy fails is its salespeople focus solely on quotas, targets and bonus levels, ignoring the company’s overarching strategy. If you want your strategy to be implemented by your sales team, you should make sure three things are happening:

  1. Your salespeople are targeting the right people. It’s common for sales teams to chase easy deals, disregarding the ideal client profile. Make sure your sales team is focusing on the organizations/segments you wish to market to, and be assertive about your expectations.
  2. If your strategy changes, your salespeople’s does too. Sales professionals need to break away from old approaches and determine how best to adjust their marketing techniques to the new company strategy.
  3. Your sales team is focusing on client needs. Instead of old-school pitching, sellers need to have deeper conversations with clients about their objectives and provide insight on how the company can help.

Remember, every hour spent developing an opportunity that’s outside your sweet spot is a non-strategic use of time, energy, and resources.

Continue to Scott Edinger’s HBR article…

Dismantling the Sales Machine

Sales leaders have long fixated on process discipline, monitoring reps’ conformance to “optimal” behaviors and their performance of specified activities. Recently, however, this sales machine has stalled. The approaches that once led to predictable progress in a sale do not work with today’s customers, who are empowered with more information than ever before.

The New World of SalesThe new environment favors creative and adaptable sellers who challenge customers with disruptive insights into their housing needs—and offer unexpected solutions. Such “insight selling” gives associates latitude to discover what the customer has already concluded about its needs and the available solutions, determine who the decision makers are, look for signals that the customer is receptive to a new insight about their home, and then figure out how best to proceed.

Most organizations, despite faltering sales performance, still have a climate that emphasizes compliance rather than judgment.

To create a judgment-oriented sales climate, managers must serve as connectors within and beyond their teams, providing a continual flow of information that supports sales professionals as they exercise their judgment on individual transactions. These managers must also focus on the long term, monitoring customers’ behaviors and directing associate’s creativity and critical thinking to the most-promising opportunities. And they need to hire champions—not necessarily those with sales backgrounds—who can thrive in the new climate.

Please read entire HBR article here

Competitive Strategy from “The Princess Bride”

Celebrating 25 years, one of my all time favorite movies, “The Princess Bride”, teaches that in business, the best way to stay ahead of your competitors is to win the battle before it begins.

 

The strategy from the Art of War that is exemplified is “Winning the Battle Before It Is Fought. Westley creatively illustrates this by having beforehand made himself invulnerable to the iocane poison through constant exposure. He then sets the terms of the contest to include it. Therefore it matters not which cup he drinks from, as either way he will win the battle.

In the business world, one sees companies that have applied this principle to win battles in their competitive space and capture market share. It relies on looking at the contest and re-setting its terms.

For example, Cirque du Soleil won its battle by avoiding competing with traditional circuses in the same old way. Instead, they changed the terms of the contest by eliminating animals, moving from a three ring circus down to one to focus the audience, replacing slapstick with artistry, and building the entire performance around a theme (much like the theater). In the process they created an entirely new experience that no one has replicated–and enjoy healthy growth and profits as a result.

Google won its battle to become the search engine of choice by moving away from the over-busy portal approach competitors provided to offer a simple and elegant design that focused on search. Since then it has expanded its empire by buying companies in the same space such as YouTube and DoubleClick. As a result, in June 2012 it reached its highest share ever (67%) in the search market and its market cap may soon pass that of Microsoft.

The best at setting the terms of the contest, and thus winning the battle before it is fought, has to be Apple. A string of victories (iTunes and the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad) have resulted because Apple’s business model offered beautifully designed products that provided content, capabilities, and ease-of-use never before experienced. Apple’s market cap is now greater than that of Internet competitors Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon combined, or, looked at another way, all the listed companies in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Greece.

To be successful at this approach requires seeing possibilities in the market no one else does. To do so means you must understand what customers desire (sometimes even before they do), competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and the capabilities you will need to win. Of course, this takes time, strategy and a lot of effort…much like developing resistance to iocane powder. But the results, as we’ve seen, can pay off handsomely.

Mark McNeilly is an adjunct professor of marketing at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the author of Sun Tzu and the Art of Business: Six Strategic Principles for Managers.