By Todd Anthony Puma May 15, 2013
Months ago, I wrote in this space about not judging a customer by how
they dress or what they drive. Last week, I described ways to build
partnerships with other firms in the industry. This week, I want to
bring it all together. The bottom line is focusing on customer service
as the priority. Make the customer happy, work with each other as peers,
and we will all not only grow the industry but make more money and be
By Todd Anthony Puma May 07, 2013
There is a lot of competition between integrators, but there needs to be cooperation as well. Everyone needs a way to quickly scale up or down, or just have someone they can lean on in a time crunch.
By Todd Anthony Puma May 01, 2013
When business is slow, you have bills to pay, and payroll to meet, it’s hard to turn down a job that you know isn’t the right fit for your company. Most times, it’s important to trust your instincts and know when to say “no.”
By Todd Anthony Puma April 24, 2013
Like many custom AV integrators, I work really hard and spend long days
doing estimates, programming systems, and keeping my company’s
financial books in order. So my wife finally convinced me to take a
vacation this spring, and I’m glad that I finally did.
By Todd Anthony Puma April 10, 2013
It happens in every industry, to everyone. It’s what killed Border’s and Circuit City. Price-shopping online. We’ve all felt the pain of a client taking our estimate, after we’ve put in hours of work to formulate the perfect package for them, and then calling us back a day later telling us how they can get everything cheaper online, completely ignoring our expertise and time put forth to recommend just the right product. I’ve found it tends to happen more in the middle-market (jobs under $30,000), but will still occur in the high-end as well.
By Todd Anthony Puma April 03, 2013
The key to success in our business is referrals. Doing great work and providing top-notch customer service are the cost of entry, so in order to grow and expand, you need your clients to pass along your good name. While client referrals are awesome, and we all aim to get those, there just isn’t always enough volume there. That’s why we all strive to work with designers, architects, and contractors.
By Todd Anthony Puma March 27, 2013
We all have relationships in our lives that really matter, and then there are other relationships that we treat as more transactional, such as those with our suppliers, be it distributors, manufacturers, or reps. I think, however, it’s important to make your supplier relationships as strong as your other professional relationships because this can help you solve problems when you’re out in the field.
By Todd Anthony Puma March 19, 2013
One of the best ways to improve profitability is by reducing truck rolls. Lately, we’ve accomplished this by using technology such as IP-based power management products, remote programming for universal remotes, Teamviewer to troubleshoot systems, and countless other products. But an incident last week reminded me that returning to the basics during a routine service call is just as important.
By Todd Anthony Puma March 13, 2013
When a new client decides they are interested in your services, they place a phone call to your office and speak to your administrative assistant or receptionist. He or she takes their information and writes down what the client is looking for, then puts them on the schedule for a technician to come to their home. The technician takes the client’s information and arrives to their home for their appointment. He asks questions and completes the service accordingly. Once the technician leaves the client’s home, the interaction with this client ends without any input from you, the owner.
By Todd Anthony Puma March 05, 2013
Many people in the industry know them as the behemoth booth at CEDIA and InfoComm, and some follow the misconception of them being impersonal and expensive. The more I indulge in Crestron, the more enlightened I am becoming to the level of personal attention they display towards the integration industry.