Communicate Clearly With Your Photos
This article was submitted by guest author Mary A. Plumlee; Founder & CEO of Workroom Association of America LLC, President of Southwest Publishing Group LLC, and Publisher of Window Coverings News Magazine.
It has often been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But a thousands words may be too much information.
Window Treatment craftsmen make pictures come to life, examining each small detail to try to copy exactly every nuance that is shown in the photo given on the workorder. An important tool for the workroom is a magnifying glass.
However, there is an unexpected consequence of miscommunication that can happen with pictures. Early on I learned by sad experience that what I was seeing in the picture was not necessarily what the customer was seeing. It is not profitable to go to extremes to copy a picture without knowing exactly what the customer likes about it.
I am often surprised at the answer when I routinely ask a client, “What exactly is it about this picture that you like.” The answer can range from “I like it all, I want a room just like that” to, “I just like the color.”
In the window treatment business, a good motto is ‘NO SURPRISES’….ever. Being sent down the wrong trail by not communicating clearly with the client is a nasty surprise for the designer and even worse for the client. Don’t be overconfident that a picture alone is telling you everything you need to know.
Communication with the workroom is just as important. Pictures and drawings are a time saving way to communicate the desired results. However, drawings can be tricky when done by hand. While some designers are artists, others are decidedly not. The magnifying glass applied to stick figures and scrawls doesn’t do a lot of good. Chasing down the designer for an interpretation over the phone wastes time and money.
Computer rendering software such as DreamDraper or Minutes Matter can be valuable tools for selling and specifying window treatments. After all, if you communicate in pictures, those pictures should say the right things.