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Solutions to the issues that Dillon and Dickey have identified— real-time remote-location access, software-archiving infrastructure, and image-rich media applications—are explored in depth in later chapters.
PUTTING GOING VISUAL INTO PRACTICE 83
• Work in progress for collaborative problem solving. Keeping a visual record of a project will add an entirely new dimension to group interaction. Where appropriate, images could be shared with clients to better connect them to the process. For example, a small food products company was searching for the appropriate type and shape of metal box in which to package a new cookie product. Members of the team sent pictures of sample boxes to each other to arrive at a consensus decision.
• Whiteboards at meetings. Photographing the information on a whiteboard not only records data that might normally go
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unrecorded, it makes it possible for you to easily distribute an absolutely accurate copy of that information to a work group through e-mail.
Photo of whiteboard
Solopreneurs: How a Small-Office or Home-Office (SOHO) Business Grows by Going Visual
One of the primary underlying concepts of this book is that the democratization of technology—through the Internet and easy-to-use, inexpensive digital cameras and camera phones—opens the doors to Going Visual to virtually any businessperson. Sally Carro-cino is an independent sales representative offering home and garden accessories of seven manufacturers to clients such as medium- to high-end gift stores, decorators, furniture stores, and garden centers. Carrocino is an example of a solopreneur who, with no computer or photography background and by adopting a personal Visual Communication strategy, has, in her words, “totally changed my business, totally revolutionized it.”
Like any successful entrepreneur, Carrocino constantly examines her business processes, searching for new opportunities, new ways to be more productive and competitive. She is always on the lookout for techniques that can improve her core skill—communicating— and give her business a boost. In doing so, Carrocino has focused on an irrefutable lesson that 25 years of sales experience has taught her: Words don’t sell products—pictures do.
Her five-step process began with a lightbulb moment, when she realized that Going Visual could help her overcome major obstacles to growing her business.
Carrocino did not even own a computer until she had her light-bulb moment and realized that Going Visual would instantly change the way she communicated with her clients. She remembers: “I had avoided getting a computer; I really didn’t think there was a reason for me to have one. I kept my orders in my file and I liked having paper, and so I really didn’t see it. Then one day at an industry show, I was working with the owner of a store, and he was taking digital pictures of the products. I asked him what he was
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Samples of Carrocino's product pictures
going to do with the pictures, and he said that at night he downloads them and e-mails them to his buyer. The next morning, the buyer goes into the office, sees the pictures, calls him up and tells him what to buy. I thought, Oh my god! That’s when I decided that I needed a digital camera. I could relate it to my business because I was frustrated that many of my manufacturers would introduce new products at a trade show, but wouldn’t provide the reps with pictures of those products. I’d have to wait and wait until the catalogs were sent out. For example, as of February 20, I still hadn’t received pictures of products I saw at a show on January 7. That’s a six-week gap! My customers want to see new products right away, and I don’t want them to go and see those products for themselves at a show where I don’t get paid for writing their order. If I hadn’t taken my own pictures, I would not have been able to
sell any of these new products. Every aspect of this speaks to my bottom line.”
Carrocino knew that she could not make a sale by describing her products in words—she absolutely needed pictures to show her 150 clients the seven product lines she represents. Although hers is a business that traditionally uses pictures, those pictures were supplied by the manufacturers, so accessing them was out of her control, which impacted an important component of her business process: her selling cycle. Carrocino found herself “dead in the water,” she said, unable to sell for weeks at a time. She was a passive user of images who was about to take control and become an active image communicator.
STEP 1. SURVEY
Do an inventory of internal and external corporate communications for instances of written or verbal information that might be significantly improved if replaced or augmented by images.
The survey consisted of reviewing her product lines and determining which of her manufacturers created a significant gap between the time she viewed new products at the trade show and the moment when they provided her with the materials she needed (in the form of catalogs or product sheets) to start her sales process. Carrocino was determined to take control and significantly accelerate the sales process by taking and instantly distributing her own pictures of the new products. She identified her Community of Interest as the seven manufacturers whose lines she represented and the 150 clients to whom she sold those products. She became actively involved in producing images of her manufacturers’ products (hence the two-way arrow in the following graphic) and distributed the pictures to all of her clients.