Embracing A New Technology And How To Succeed In 2010
In our business, manufacturers always embrace new technology, and 3D is the hot product of moment. Simultaneously, with fewer new homes being built, our industry must attract and sell to new clients in existing homes.
Sony’s Bravia LX900 series, due out later this year, offers integrated 3D functionality with Sony’s 3D active shutter glasses and built-in 3D transmitter.
The last couple of years have not only delivered us some of the greatest innovations ever, but they have made us realize that old-fashioned service, selling, and pampering of existing clients has been the best way to grow our businesses. Here are some takes on our next new technological opportunity and ideas for how you can improve your sales and service in 2010.
THE 3D EFFECT
The new year ushered in many new models of 3D TV and projectors from an assortment of manufacturers. The key here is that the custom installation channel historically has been fed by the excitement of early adopters of technology. We’ve been the ones that who sold “expensive” new technology before the mass market drove the margins out.
Be sure to jump on this 3D opportunity right now and develop your market quickly. Make a list of your past clients and plan your sales process strategy for reaching out to them. Your clients want 3D TV, and your company can educate them and sell to them the technology.
According to Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) executive director Richard Glikes, “This is like selling dedicated home theater all over again. High-performance TVs can grow sales, but you must act now.”
Glikes’ buying group has already spent heavily on press events around the country to show off 3D TVs and projectors from Mitsubishi and Digital Projection. In the second quarter Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony will have 3D TVs readily available as well.
The HTSA and its rival Home Entertainment Source (HES) sell more flat-panel TVs than anyone except for the mass merchants, and both plan on gaining market share with 3D TV. HES executive VP Jim Ristow believes that this is the best chance in years to educate people on technology. “Any new technology that we can talk about and demo is great,” he said. “There is currently much more content than we had for HDTV, and it’s easier to demonstrate.”
Ristow pointed out that it will be difficult for mass merchants to do a great 3D demo, leaving HES dealers/specialists to provide a better experience.
How do we benefit now from 3D TV? The keys involve three words: discipline, demand, and develop. Here’s how these words apply to our businesses.
Do you take the time to “data mine” and save all information about past clients? Have you put your company in the position to call former clients and invite them out for a demo? Do you send out thank you cards and follow-up service reminders on a regular basis? Are you putting forth constant effort to build your business with those that have already proven that they can use you?
Jeremy Burkhardt is president of SpeakerCraft in Riverside, California. He’s a former member of the CEDIA Board.
How are you going to create demand in your market? Do you have key visual spots like billboards, mailers, and TV ads selected to stay in front of your market? Are you advertising in the right places? Do you have the product that your potential clients can afford? Is your presentation of the product personalized for each client you meet?
As custom installers we rarely get the opportunity to develop a new market and when we do we usually don’t have the resources to do it properly. Take this chance to sell 3D and develop your company and brand. Attract the right clients by advertising and outbound sales. Develop the market now and create demand with the technology. This will position you as a leader and give you the tools to sell more of what we do, from labor to speakers to automation.
In developing the market I suggest spending heavily on a direct group as opposed to shot-gun blasting everyone. Remember that video games are going to help lead the way here with dozens of 3D games in development. The 20- and 30- year-old gamers want what you sell and are qualified to buy. How are you going to target them? This is a new way of selling, but you can do it because you are leading the way.