Taking the high road will pay off when attracting new customers.

Any integrator trying to build a business is using social media today. Be it reposting pictures of great installs, tutorials, “about us” videos, or just sharing stories and articles that may be interesting to our clients, we are all engaged (or should be engaged) in social. While I have been seeing the benefits of our efforts — clients are interacting with our pages — what is more interesting is that, often when I show up for consults or to present proposals, clients have spent time researching The Source on social media and will mention pictures we have posted or articles we have linked to.

I have made a concerted effort of keep our social presence clean, both in aesthetics and content. Aesthetically, I like clean pictures that show the lifestyle of our clients — beautiful rooms with discreet or invisible AV and smart home technology. In terms of content, we always keep things simple and neutral or upbeat. We always portray a positive experience and are never negative.

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I am a firm believer in less is more, but that is just my opinion. However, in the past several months I have had clients comment that, after meeting with us, they have researched us online, and in the process have come across and viewed other home technology companies as well. While it is a small sample size, the ten clients or so who have mentioned this have universally been impressed with our online presence and have said they like ours above the others they have seen. One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients is the negativity expressed by many on social media towards either product lines or professionals.

I can not stress enough how important it is to remain positive, both in personal interactions and on social media. Negative comments towards other professionals is usually seen by clients as sign of insecurity and pettiness, neither of which they want in their lives, their homes, or their projects. Do not take the bait. Do not badmouth or bash another product. For example, I see so many dealers out there bashing Sonos (and I’ll admit, I was not the biggest fan for a long time). For better or worse, Sonos is the market leader in whole-home audio and they are the brand home owners are most likely to be aware of. Added to that, Sonos has almost universal acceptance and praise among owners of the product. Bashing their product just makes you look bad and look out of step with the market. A better approach is to admit that Sonos is a great product for the right situation, particularly retrofits where running new wire isn’t an option, but if you want complete integration with your home automation system, Ms. Client, and you want better sound, Mr. Concert Pianist, then Sonos may not be the right fit for you. It works for many people and does an admirable job, but just is not the right fit in this scenario. That is the way to not bash and to sound confident, positive, and knowledgeable. Clients will gravitate towards that.

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Similarly, if you come across a take-over project that is done in a way you would not have done, do not bash the prior integrator. You do not know the circumstance. Maybe the client has been in and out of the rack dozens of times and that is why the wire management does not exist. Or maybe the client budget was a lot smaller when the system was installed because they were just buying a new home, so less expensive products were used and labor costs were trimmed to meet a budget. It is much better to say how you will help them get things up and running and upgraded. They will likely complain about the prior integrator because they conveniently do not remember having to cut costs to meet a budget or that they have been mucking around in the rack. Do not take the bait. Explain that you see it all the time — over time, with different people making changes and not taking the time to carefully manage the wiring, a mess ensues.

Keep positive — both for your own image and the image of the industry as a whole.

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