Lean Design Blog: Authentic elevations and the salesperson’s story

April 27, 2012

I had the pleasure of meeting and having dinner with Charlie Scott the other night. Charlie owns a very successful national consulting firm called Woodland, Obrien and Scott. Among other things, his firm focuses on the voice of the customer in the building industry. Within minutes of meeting and talking with him he brought up the subject of one of my biggest beliefs about design – that elevations must be authentic. Brilliant! From that moment on I knew Charlie and I would be fast friends. During this conversation he explained the concept of the salesperson’s story to me.

Charlie’s belief is that builders have to eliminate anything that might conflict with the salesperson’s story. The salesperson’s charge is to sell your home. To do this they need to have an authentic story about who the builder is and the quality of the homes they build. A specific example we discussed was shutters. If shutters do not visually close to protect the window, regardless of how the other elements of the elevation look, the home is not authentic. How can the salesperson describe and sell your homes with something as basic as this is wrong with their story?

There are countless elements beyond shutters that should be taken into consideration while designing new homes or retooling existing elevations. Make sure to create designs that are telling the right story, your salespeople will love it and so will your customers.


Todd Hallett, AIA, president of TK Design & Associates has been designing award-winning homes for more than 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of its homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was president of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. Todd welcomes your feedback at thallett@tkhomedesign.com or 248.446.1960.


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