I can be a little stubborn. I’ve had my closest friend in the industry chirping in my ear about how well Sonos fits into his product mix and how it has allowed him to close more sales, but I just wouldn’t listen. Sonos was the devil to me and was at the core of what ailed the industry (lower margins, DIY products, etc., etc.). I’ve definitely changed my tune.
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Now that Sonos officially integrates with Crestron, I’ve been winning jobs that I would have otherwise lost. While it isn’t the right fit for every job, it is giving us an entrée into the higher end of the middle market (a place we couldn’t compete previously) and is allowing us to sell some quick in-and-out projects that are great fillers for the slow time between larger jobs.
A few weeks ago, I met with a potential client who was referred by an existing client. This is always a great sign and usually an easier sale to close. They didn’t want anything too complicated and were self-proclaimed “non-audiophiles,” but did want background music in several rooms and better sound from their TVs. Our first proposal included an audio matrix, in-ceiling speakers, two Marantz AVRs for rooms with TVs, a network, a Crestron processor, a couple of remote controls, a small Crestron DM HDMI matrix, and automated shading and lighting.
After we reviewed the proposal, the client informed me that the quote was much too high and that he was not willing to open up the walls of his apartment to run wires (I’m still confused as to why that didn’t come up in the first discussion when I talked about running wire from the speakers back to the rack, but oh well). Fortunately, at least the place had been pre-wired with CAT-6 and coax, but alas, no speaker wire.
We went back to the drawing board and now with Sonos in our arsenal, we were able to replace the in-ceiling speakers, speaker wire, audio matrix, and AVRs with two Sonos Playbars and two Sonos Play 1s. Not only did this bring the budget down by 30 percent, but it also meant there was no need to run any new wires. Three months ago, there is no way I could have value-engineered this job to meet the client’s budget and still have the robust options, reliability and Crestron control that is necessary.
This is just an example of the power of what I have begun to call the “comfort brands”. You know those brands that people know and trust and ask for by name: Sony, Samsung and Bose. And more recently Sonos, Nest, Amazon Echo, Apple and Harmony. While there are still some brands we don’t offer (like Bose and Harmony), being able to offer clients the brands they ask for by name and not having to constantly sell against all of that brand recognition and marketing makes our lives easier, provided the products are reliable, robust and provide margin for us to stay in business. Often pairing these products with other, more profitable lines allows the overall job meet our profit goals and performance requirements and meet the client’s budget - a win-win for everyone. Not only do these brands make the initial sale easier, but with integrations like Sonos and Amazon Echo, they give the dealer yet another reason to reach out to existing clients and offer them new solution and interfaces for their homes.
Are there any other former Sonos haters out there who have been converted?