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Viva La Manufacturer Showroom

Having a Space Where a You Can See, Touch, and Experience Technology Helps Potential Clients ‘Get’ Technology That They Didn’t Understand

OK, maybe I’m a little excited that CoCo one an Academy Award and just couldn’t resist the reference in the title. After writing last week’s blog about the benefits of top sales people and how eye opening it was to work with Bryan Celli of the Crestron NYC Design Showroom, I started to think about the all of the other benefits we get from having a fantastic manufacturer showroom in our market, with a top sales person to staff it.

I can’t figure out why other manufacturers aren’t opening showrooms of their own. I have not seen a dealer showroom that can compete with a well-done manufacturer space, at least not in an expensive urban environment. Everyone else is missing out, but Crestron, Savant, and Lutron dealers are licking their chops at all of the deals they can win from other brands and the incremental sales they get on existing projects because of the manufacturer showroom support that they have.

Here are some of the amazing benefits I have seen from the Crestron showroom:

1. Having a space where a potential or current client can see, touch, and experience Crestron is extremely helpful in connecting the unknown for them. Each individual has a different Digital IQ—some get tech, and some don’t. The goal is to get each person to re-create a process that they do on a regular basis, and then show how we can simplify that process for them.

2. More than 15,000 people have interacted with Bryan in the 6.5 years that the Design Showroom in NYC has been open. This has afforded the opportunity to hear of the varying experiences that many homeowners have gone through or what some fear about technology and automation solutions. We just cannot see those kinds of numbers, to get the feedback for our sales teams to adjust, in a traditional dealer showroom.

3. Utilization and cost per conversion for the showroom is dramatically higher, as hundreds of dealers have access to the space by appointment to bring clients by, as opposed to each dealer using their own space.

4. The investment in the showroom is taken on by a company worth over $100MM (in Crestron’s case, over $1B). A company of that size can afford to invest more in a showroom to make it a truly unique, enveloping and luxurious experience. They can also invest more in top sales people. Plus they are investing at manufacturer cost of the product, not dealer cost.

5. The showroom manager and dealer form a partnership and relationship with the client that lasts long past the sales cycle

One of my favorite tactics I have seen Bryan use is to start up the big screen in the room and sit down with the client, then say, “Ugh, we didn’t close the shades or turn off the lights.” Then he presses a tabletop keypad button that sets the Movie scene in the room. As many times as I describe a similar scenario to a client, they just don’t “get it” until we do it in the showroom. Again, I am so fortunate to have this resource in my market. Every manufacturer should be doing this—from speakers, to AVRs, but especially automation companies, as there is so much to showcase from a control perspective, and it is harder to articulate the benefits of control without having a client experience it first hand.