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How Integrators Can Be Ready for Anything in 2021

Tips on adding new product categories, training staff, and increasing business.

PowerHouse Alliance - ECD Showroom
Each PowerHouse Alliance distributor showroom has a self-serve component where integrators can view and demo new products while following strict CDC social distancing guidelines.

Traditionally, as we enter Q1, analysts begin projecting next year’s trends, technology manufacturers prepare for launches, and dealers prepare to add new products and technologies to their repertoire. But the pandemic has impacted integrators’ typical methods for taking on new products and preparing for growth in the new year. With mostly virtual events at this time, integrators need to find new ways to get demos and support for new products and technologies. There are a few key considerations that will help make 2021 successful.

Tradeshows Are the Product Treasure Hunt — Now What?

If you ask any dealer, they will tell you that tradeshows and in-person events provide an unparalleled opportunity to connect with manufacturers and hunt for new product solutions. With tradeshows moved virtual and fewer in-person trainings, integrators are faced with challenges when it comes to finding and demoing new product lines. Data from PowerHouse members and dealers tells us that the product categories that have seen growth over the past year are products that integrators are already familiar with such as networking systems, security systems, and audio/video and home theater upgrades. But the appetite for new technology among homeowners continues to grow, and dealers need to be prepared.

While tradeshows have gone virtual, there are still options to see and experience products in person through showrooms such as those of PowerHouse Alliance distributors. Each PA showroom has a self-serve component where integrators can view and demo new products while following strict CDC social distancing guidelines. PA showrooms also feature aisle endcaps that highlight new products, and personnel at each branch will be available to offer support.

Take a Time-Out for Training

We all miss in-person events, but, let’s face it, it can be a challenge for integrators to really take time away from business to get the training needed to support adding new products to their portfolio. The pandemic has ushered in a new era of flexibility in the area of training.

Sessions that once required dealers to show up at a certain time at a specific location can now be found online with many sessions recorded and added to widely available channels like YouTube for quick 24/7 access. There is no better time to take advantage of these resources — and dealers also have the flexibility of making these types of trainings available to their entire staff for professional development.

The PowerHouse Alliance 11 distributor members are working to be as innovative as possible by providing dealers and integrators with the tools and trainings they need to succeed. With content posted online, integrators can view materials at their leisure.

Expanding Your Project Portfolio — It’s Easier Than You Think

In March of last year, the industry feared the unknown of the pandemic, but as consumers spent more time at home, the demand for home theater, networking, and security upgrades continued to grow. The pandemic has altered the way integrators pitch projects and connect with customers, but consumer demand for home upgrades continues to rise, so integrators should continue to be innovative with the way they approach business.

The first thing integrators should do is re-target previous customers through a phone call telling them about new technologies they can add to existing systems. Repeat business is an especially useful tactic during the pandemic because integrators are working with a customer, install, and location that they are already familiar with. Ninety percent of the pre-installation work can be done virtually with repeat customers because integrators are familiar with the house and the project they are dealing with.

Going back to the well and connecting with previous customers can also result in new business. Integrators should choose a neighborhood where they have done a previous installation and leave flyers in mailboxes throughout the area. Flyers should be straightforward and outline exactly what the integrator offers. If integrators note that they have previously worked with customers in the neighborhood, potential customers might reach out to previous customers as a reference, leading to a line of new business opportunities.

Setting for Success

As the industry works to overcome challenges brought on by the pandemic, integrators can prepare for a successful 2021 by taking advantage of webinars, virtual trainings, and socially distanced in-person product demonstrations. While integrators are busy keeping up with the increased demand for home upgrades, they should continue to pitch business from both new and repeat customers, so they can have a log of projects to look forward to down the road. If they take the proper approach to business and stay on top of product trends, integrators will be setup for a successful year in 2021.