Just the two of us…working together

Arcot Interiors sales director Toby Griffin and senior designer Maud Martinage discuss how they work together and offer different perspectives for their clients.

16 Jan, 20

In a departure from our usual Talking Shop column, Arcot Interiors sales director Toby Griffin and senior designer Maud Martinage discuss how working together offers different perspectives for their clients in Just the two of us.

Just the two of us… 1


Maud: “To be honest, you do most of the talking!”

Toby: “Ha ha, that’s true!  But you do most of the live CAD changes.”

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Maud: “Yes, I suppose that’s fair then!”

Toby: “So when we do presentations and consultations as a pair, a team, do you feel that it works, and if so, why?”

Maud: “Yes it definitely does.  I think that is because we approach things in a different way.”

Toby: “In what way do you approach them, and in what way do I approach them?  You can be rude about me!”

Maud: “I really notice that your conversational style flows easily.

“It just seems natural to you to talk and to sell, to talk about products, features, benefits; meaning that I can focus more on the practical, aesthetic, design areas – which suits my architecture background more.”

Toby: “Yes, with your Masters degree in Architecture, you’re definitely more qualified than me!

“But I think that having been in the industry so long, I’ve got the in-depth product knowledge to be able to think of suitable alternatives for clients, and plenty of anecdotes to help explain to them to how things can work, or not work, as the case may be.”

“Do you feel that the fact that you’re a woman and I’m a man makes a difference?”

Maud: “Probably.  But also I feel here that our different approach and personalities makes as much of a difference.”

Toby: “I see it as a bit of Yin and Yang really.  A real chemistry.

“I notice us bouncing ideas off each other mid-consultation when we’re working together and trying to find a good solution.

“Also with us both having our own approaches, it gives the client the opportunity to speak to and listen to opinions and explanations from different angles, and also sometimes latch onto the person they most connect with.

“I notice this particularly with partners, and I often see little mini-conversations breaking out where you are talking to one of the partners, and me to the other.”

Maud: “Yes, it can feel a bit like a dinner-party sometimes!”

Toby: “Do you feel that I’m perhaps more the ‘sales-person’ and you are more of the ‘designer’?”

Maud: “A little perhaps, but it’s not like we sell in an old-school style anyway.

“We’re not like so many other places where clients are faced by pushy sales-designers who will try to sell them anything, no matter whether it’s appropriate or what their budget is.”

Toby: “I agree.  Also when we are presenting together I think it gives that much more confidence and trust for the client.

“In fact I think that we are both so focused on design and specification that the sales just sort of happen by themselves.

“Do you think that there are times when working together isn’t necessary?”

Maud: “Sometimes yes.  If a client is easy to deal with and has given us a clear brief, then your industry knowledge is only really needed at specification stage.”

Toby: “When it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, do you feel that clients benefit from speaking to us as a pair?”

Maud: “Yes I do, particularly bathrooms.  Men and women do use the bathroom in different ways – particularly the loo! – and it helps for us to be able to relate to both sides.

“I laugh when I remember particular conversations we’ve had with clients about double-ended baths, shower-loos, separate shower-heads; and how putting loos deep into a loft’s eaves can result in disaster when used in a standing position!”

Toby: “Ha ha!  Once the sale is agreed, I really think that we feel the benefit there too.

“There are obviously times when one of us is unavailable, and having the other so familiar with the client and project means that installation questions and problems can be sorted much faster. ”

“So, overall, do you think that presenting as a pair would work for everyone?”

Maud: “Not necessarily.  You both need to be team-players, great listeners, and collaborators.

“There also needs to be dynamic between you, which the client can feel is real.  But – if it works – it’s a winning combination!”

Read more as Toby Griffin explains how designers should embrace tech like group chat to improve communication between suppliers, the internal team and consumers.