Living with the Products That We Recommend is the Only Way

1/22/2014 5:08:00 PM
In our business it is critical to “walk the talk.” We can’t recommend products like control systems, speakers, or other gear to our clients that we ourselves haven’t at least tried out, or preferably, installed in our own homes or showrooms. Not only would it be hypocritical to recommend equipment we don’t use ourselves, but we need to know exactly what the user the experience we are promising will be like, and we have to let our customers see the experience first hand to sell them on sophisticated control, audio and video systems.

As I don’t have a dedicated showroom, I have completely revamped the AV system in my own home not once, but twice in the past year. I moved into a newly constructed home a year ago. I had pre-wired for URC’s Total Control as I was a dedicated URC dealer at the time. Then I started to work with Crestron. So at the last minute I initiated revamp #1, where I created a dual-system set up; I could use either Total Control or a basic Crestron system. I used that set up to demonstrate differences between products to clients. Some went with Total Control for the simplicity and lower price point, while others went with Crestron for the bigger headroom in expansion and more customizable experience.

Since then, I have thrown my company headlong into the Crestron world. And to be sure that I knew the system inside and out and could talk to my clients with complete confidence and could show them all that is possible, I tore out both of my original systems and replaced with a full-fledged Crestron system at home. I’m talking new wiring with Cresnet, new Cat-6 to several locations, intercoms, lighting, thermostats (replacing Nest), outdoor speakers, and new TSW in-wall touchscreens throughout.

I started with a fresh rack-build and completely revamped everything. It was a huge investment in time and money, but wow, has it paid off. Clients can sense your commitment and your enthusiasm when you do something so thoroughly to your own home. I use my home as a demo space and clients love to see it working in a real-world situation, being able to take my iPhone or a TSW touchpanel and controlling the entire home.

I love that I know the system inside and out so that if a client does call with a question or concern, I know exactly what is happening and how the system is functioning because I live with it everyday.

Getting to the place where you can say you’ve literally lived with a system is a big commitment, and it is not just a one-time investment. As new products and categories come out, I will integrate them at home as well. But there is no other way I can think of to demonstrate my commitment to my clients and to show them what is possible. They have to see it with their own eyes and know that I feel so strongly about what I sell and install that my family and I use it every day.
+Todd Anthony Puma is president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City.


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