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Married to Your Product Line?

Sure, you would like to sell anything your client asks for, but forget about it. Best Buy sells a zillion dollars of A/V gear, and even they cant get all the lines.

The future success of your company depends on the lines you select. Every time you hand a client a proposal, he sees two things first: What is the price? What are the brands? Everything else is secondary.

If your company has a vision and a plan, you will know the kind of gear your clients want. Determining your wish list for gear is only step one. Follow that up with serious in-depth research about the products. Whatever gear beckons to you, you must perform due diligence and ask yourself a lot of questions.

Is it right for my market and price target? How does this position my company? Who else sells the product in my area? How complete is the line to meet my needs? How easily does it install? How is the profit margin? Does it work well with the control systems I use? Even though its really attractive, your feelings for Mark Levinson are probably just infatuation and not really the right line for you.

When you talk with the rep, be aware that his job is to sell you on whatever brand he carries. He is the matchmaker looking for eligible bachelors with the right dowry; but once you get the hots for his products, remember that its elimidate. There are lots of wannabe guys who want to date the fair princess, but at the end of the competition only one man will be left standing.

Unless you can sell your rep on why you are better than the other A/V dealer/installers in your area you will be eliminated. Only if he likes your showroom and your financial statement better than the others… Only if you can place a sizeable initial order and meet regular sales quotas (your dowry)… Only if the other lines you carry dont overlap… And, only if your timing is right will the magic of true love happen.

Its kind of a rush to see the truck pull up to your offices with your first pallet full of new gear. You celebrate as you bust open a few dozen boxes and lovingly position your new speakers all over your showroom. Maybe you even got a window sticker and a banner. Your salesman is pumped. Now you have new weapons to sell against your competition. Pop the champagne! Have a happy honeymoon.

Because it feels so good, you have to be careful. To impress the bride, you have to splurge. Did you break the bank to pay for your large initial order? Generally the best way to run a custom A/V business is by stocking zero inventory. That is one advantage we have over retailers who have a much higher overhead structure. In the custom business, it might take months to turn all those boxes into new sales. Your working capital is tied up.

Since you just signed up as a dealer for those speakers, you will have to pass on the other line that you also liked. Why? Because you just married into the McDonalds franchise. You cant lust after Taco Bell and Wendys too. You carefully researched and decided what product your customers wanted. You searched your soul to find the brand you really loved.

Only after the honeymoon wears off do you discover if this is your perfect partner. Whether you like it or not, you will honor your marriage agreement and live with your choice for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. Until death or divorce do you part.

You cant afford to support more than one wife or divide your attention between the needs of many wives. If you married Marantz, you have to meet their quotas. If you start selling Denon also, you will spread yourself too thin and let them both down.

Running lean and mean is the advantage of the small entrepreneurial business. Dealers who keep thinking the grass is greener and who keep changing lines are flapping their arms in the wind.

Simplify all of your designs. Keep your inventory at a
minimum and sell the same gear every time you can in just a few basic configurations. Be faithful to just a few brands and let the love relationship grow and work for you.