The Force of Ideas

March 6, 2008
I can still hear her now. Michael, whats the big idea?! Youve cut holes in the walls of every room of this house. Whats Uncle Tony going to say when he gets home and sees this mess? That was my dear Aunt Ann, and she was pretty upset the day that I decided to install an intercom system that Id bought from the local hardware store. Now remember, this was in the 60s when not very many people had an intercom and some didnt even know what they were.

I had to act fast. I thought that Aunt Ann would be just as glad to have an intercom system as I was. But that didnt seem to be the case at the moment. What could I say to persuade her that all the holes and dust were worth it? I started right in on the features that I liked. I dont care if it washes the car. What are you going to do to repair this damage? she said.

Clearly, I needed a different approach or all heck was going to break loose. So I started over. Auntie, how many times have you had to come all the way up to the third floor to tell me that dinner was ready just because I couldnt hear you call? I asked in a caring tone. Well, more than Id like to, she said. I sensed something was changing in her attitude, so I kept going. And how many times have we missed the baseball score because we were outside working in the yard? I asked, knowing that Auntie was a diehard Pirates fan. Well, a bunch. The game is on Saturday afternoons, and thats the best time for yard work, she said. At that point, I knew I had Aunt Ann hooked.

Presenting Concepts

When I think back on this story, there is a real lesson that we can all benefit from. People dont care nearly as much about products as we do. With that in mind, I would advise you that the best way to sell more products is to be fluid in explaining cool ideas and concepts that your clients can relate to. Then tie these ideas back to benefits in your sales presentations and bids. Here are a couple of cool ideas and suggestions for presenting to your clients that are sure to get buy-in and increase your sales:

Idea 1: Invisible home theaters deliver all the excitement of conventional home theaters, yet they blend seamlessly with modern dcor so no one even notices they are there.

Ask your client: What if I told you that we could install a custom home theater in this area that would give you all the surround sound excitement of a movie theater, yet all you would see is a clear HD picture? Would that be something of interest to you?

In your bid explain: You said that you were interested in a movie theater-like experience but didnt want to see the speakers in or on the walls. By using a new, ultra-thin, flat-panel high-definition display, ceiling-mounted loudspeakers with pivoting drivers, and an in-wall subwoofer, we will create a home theater system that involves you, yet preserves your dcor.

Idea 2: Distributed high-definition audio/video reduces clutter by centrally locating all cable boxes, satellite receivers, and audio amplifiers.

Ask your client: What if I told you we could install a high-definition TV with spectacular stereo sound in every room of the house, yet you would never see a piece of equipment or any wires? Wouldnt that be a great way to watch whatever you want, wherever you want?

In your bid explain: By using a distributed audio/video system with local TV automation, we are able to hide all of the gear in the equipment closet. The system consists of a multi-zone audio receiver with wireless remote control, so you can enjoy TV plus your iPod or HD Radio in every room, and it incorporates a multi-zone high-definition video switcher that gives every TV access to cable, satellite, or DVDs. And with local TV automation, all you have to do is press one button to turn the system on and start enjoying any source program you wish.

Im sure that you have several cool ideas of your own. If you want help in framing them up, dont hesitate to send me an e-mail. Im always glad to help.

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