Aug 05 2020

7 tips: Present references effectively

One swallow doesn't make a summer. And the mere photo of the finished kitchen does not tempt you to buy it. If you want to present references effectively and prove expertise, tell the story of the transformation. Before pictures are as much a part of it as a beautifully staged result.

Seven years in television, during which I did numerous redesigns of rooms, have taught me three things. First: good pictures need informative text - and vice versa. Second: What you want to say works best with a story. And third: Take that rag away. You cut.

Here's how it worked: With great dedication we had designed, decorated and lit up a kitchen for the final shoot. But when my boss saw the piece, all she said was, "Christ, there's a rag on the floor!" That sat.

To this day I still scan photos with Feudelradar and immediately notice when pictures give away potential. It's like samples of the work of professional decorators, which, though beautiful, seem interchangeable because something important was overlooked. Would you like to present your references effectively? Then read on. 

1. tell a story 

With every reference without a story you miss the chance to earn heroic sympathy points. Storytelling is not as difficult as you might think. Each of your projects has a beginning (initial situation, task), a hero's journey (challenges you master with expertise) and a happy end (result, customer praise). Tell us about it! 

2. start with the initial situation 

Nobody buys new furniture without a reason. And because you - conscientious as you are - have made a needs analysis, you know it and the desire behind a planning. Think about what was important to the client. What should be better in the new kitchen than before? Describe it in two or three sentences: 

"Once upon a time there was an old farmhouse. The kitchen there was cramped and aging, rustic oak type. Now everything should be brighter and more open." 

Remember: You want to present your references effectively! So take a photo of the initial situation (or several, depending on the planning). If possible, choose the same perspective that you will take again later to photograph the newly designed room. This way, viewers can orientate themselves more quickly and compare the result more easily. A look at the "previous image" makes it easier for you to find the same image detail. 

3. show expertise 

There are hurdles in most planning. And you know what? You love these challenges, because that's what makes a story! Heroes who reach their goal without detours are boring. The more difficult the task, so that it can only be mastered with special skills, the better. Your super powers are your special knowledge. So show how you mastered the situation: 

"Tricky in the planning, in which kitchen and living room should form a unit in the future, were the old wooden beams, which should be preserved because of their charm. So what we did was..." 

To present references effectively, describe how you got the cow off the ice. The layman cannot necessarily recognise your ingenuity from the photo of the final result. Only the interplay of image and text provides the aha effect and thus the true proof of your skills. If you wish, you can illustrate your explanations with intermediate steps. If the comparison shows that you have fulfilled the task, this will ensure credibility and a good basis of trust. 

4. added value through tips 

Many people will find themselves in the situations you describe and realize that you also have solutions for their own home. So it's only natural to round it all off with a tip that proves that you think in terms of service. What should someone in a similar situation look out for? 

"We have integrated various light sources to illuminate the dark corners of the farmhouse. Always think about good lighting when planning. It should provide brightness for working, but also promote a cosy atmosphere. Our extensive lighting range has many solutions for this." 

For those of you who like the light in the reference kitchen, you could add what kind of products are involved. Of course, this also applies to the other elements in the room, for example fronts, decors, worktop materials, tiles or special cabinet types. Do not be stingy with the highlights of your planning!

5. ask for customer opinions 

The happy end for your story is a nice room and satisfied customers. Because it comes from like-minded people, word of mouth is particularly valuable advertising. As a result: You can use customer testimonials to effectively showcase your credentials. Remember that there are legal things to consider. You can find information about this on the Internet or contact a lawyer. 

6. decorate the rooms 

And how should the pictures of the finished project look like? Again and again I see dark rooms with bare surfaces. Underneath, it says "Another beautiful kitchen for a happy customer" - and that's where it usually ends... Seldom a comparison, almost never a story. These plans quickly seem arbitrary. 

If you want to present references effectively, beautiful photos are half the battle. It is not without reason that manufacturers advertise in brochures with examples of homes, and exhibitors at trade fairs send stylists to their booths. That's why bloggers are so popular who give an insight into their homes. 

A decorated room with atmospheric lighting makes you want to buy. We want it to be just as beautiful as in the picture and take up the suggestions. Of course, a decoration means additional effort, time is often short and you need the consent of the residents. But: the wow-effect is also much greater. Maybe you can at least place a few household items in the room? And don't forget to switch on the carefully planned lighting! 

7. remember the call to action 

You have presented your references effectively, the potential clientele is very pleased. What should happen now? Get down to business with a call to action. "Make an appointment for a consultation", it may be written on a button. Or you can write your contact details on the bottom of the post. This is entirely up to you. The main thing is that you take the rag out of the picture!

Author: Christine Piontek

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