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December 8 2013 Latest news:
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Hazel Curtis, owner of Property Potential in Harrogate, talks staging, selling and scribbling
The print version of this article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life
We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here
What was your first job?
I sold office supplies for ISA in Bradford. I was 17, straight out of secretarial college and scared. This was 1987 when we still used telex rolls and golf ball typewriters and people still smoked at their desks.
Imagine! It was all highly motivated telephone sales with about 30 of us crammed into one very noisy office with lots of dreadful coffee, mickey-taking, sales competitions and targets. I must have done something right I stayed for 10 years.
What lessons did it teach you?
Firstly, introduction is key. Saying your name, company name and why you are calling slowly and clearly is fundamentally important. I learned if I gave these details artificially slowly, the customer was more likely to engage with me.
Secondly, always be the one to do the calling back. If someone says Ill read your details and give you a call, thats great, but its even better if I follow it up with and if I dont hear from you in a couple of weeks, Ill call you. Dont let an opportunity drift way.
How has your career progressed?
I stayed with contract stationery for quite a while with a couple of national suppliers, one of which sold office furniture. I quickly realised the increase in unit cost was a great way to hit my target, and I really liked the product. So when an opportunity came up to join a dedicated office furniture dealer in 2000 I jumped at it. Since then I have added space planning, colour schemes and interior designs to my skills portfolio.
This naturally led into the domestic market and The House Doctor Network, where I trained with the queen of home staging Anne Maurice before setting up Property Potential.
What do you enjoy about your job now?
The transformations are always rewarding, especially when the property sells. But the best thing is when a previously unmotivated customer suddenly becomes enthusiastic and energised because they are not facing the project on their own.
Whats next for you?
I would like to take home staging into new markets, still working with people moving up the property ladder but also applying the core principals to those moving through forced circumstances.
Last year I worked with a lovely family whose father was moving into a home suffering with Alzheimers. They had to rent out his house at top dollar rates to pay for his care. I was able to take the pressure off them by working on the house as they concentrated on their dad. This support can be extended to anyone in similar circumstances such as divorce or probate.
What advice would you give?
My advice is always have a means of recording a thought. When ideas pop into your head or you hear something interesting, record it somehow and keep it safe . Then, when you need a little inspiration, take out your collection of ideas and crack on.