Developing the Performance List
Editor’s Note: In August 2007, Ira kicked off his series of educational columns. This column focuses on crafting a Performance List, which consists of rough ideas that describe the functionality, aesthetics and performance levels of a system.
A Performance List contains all the prospect’s wants and needs. Your prospect says they want a surround system in the bedroom hidden from view when not in use, and you describe the perfect solution.
Key to your description is the knowledge that your prospects have a limited understanding of the aesthetic, control and performance possibilities available to them. They might be thinking the plasma hides in a piece of furniture, but you describe how the control system activates a lift, dims the lights, closes the shades, turns on the audio system, and lets them choose their source.
Think of your Performance List like a story. You’ll need to paint a picture using the same vocabulary Chantel uses. Chantel, as you may remember, is our fictional successful interior designer working the same project. (See the first installment of this series for a Chantel refresher.) Chantel’s vocabulary isn’t hampered by acronyms (HMDI, CAT5) or standards (Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD). Instead, she uses language from the world of art and design. She talks about elegance. She tells her clients how they’ll feel when they walk into a room.
It’s a proven fact: stories—particularly those with strong metaphors—are easily remembered. Conversely, facts—especially those devoid of emotion—are easily forgotten. So use stories and metaphors to get your ideas across.
Talk about how beautiful the furniture will look in the bedroom. How the screen rises with a quiet “whoosh” and swivels purposefully into position. Tell your prospect the speakers are removed from view, because they’re mounted into the ceiling—and painted to match the paint they’ve chosen. Tell the story how the electronics are discretely rack-mounted in the closet. Tell them, “We’re going to keep this bedroom a bedroom by moving all your electronics out of sight and into the closet. No more exposed equipment.”