Numerous posts have been written designed to help clients choose the right installer, or ways to determine if a particular integration company is the right fit for your project. Hell, I’ve written several of them myself over the years!
But the other day, my biz partner, Allen, and I were talking about our largest job, and how much different (ie: better) that job would have been if the homeowner had been a different customer of ours, one who lived just a few miles away.
It got me to thinking: if we could Franken-create the perfect customer that we would like to do business with, what attributes would they have? I think these 10 traits basically nail the ideal client.
(Note, for simplicity sake I’m going to refer to the perfect customer as “he.” A) This will be consistent and much less clumsy than a constant he/she and B) let’s be honest, the overwhelming majority of our customers are likely male.)
1. He’s Rich.
First off, the ideal client has to have some discretionary funds to be able to drop on all the cool toys we want to sell him. This guy never has to budget or save for a purchase, isn’t fazed by market downturns, and never can’t buy X because he just bought Y. Another added bonus is that he travels in a wealthy circle of friends, and getting in good with one makes you a shoe-in with the rest of the group!
2. He Enjoys Luxury
Whether it’s cars, watches, pens, or something else, he appreciates the finer craftsmanship and performance that comes with luxury items. And just as he doesn’t question that a Rolex Daytona or Mont Blanc Meisterstück is going to cost more, he doesn’t wonder why you suggested a Datasat RS20 or Trinnov Altitude 32 instead of an AVR. In fact, he’d be disappointed if you didn’t.
3. He Loves Tech
A lot of people have money and enjoy luxury items, but this guy also loves tech. He keeps up with the latest trends and likes to stay cutting edge. He regularly upgrades to the latest phone, but knows enough to wait just a bit to avoid any launch-day bugs. He also really digs into his system and understands how it works. If there is a problem, you can talk to him as a near equal and often get the issue resolved without needing a truck roll. He will also frequently reach out to you to see what it would take to integrate some new technology—Atmos, Auro 3D, 4K movie servers—into his system so he can stay current.
4. He’s Loyal
He surrounds himself with people that have been with him for years and he prefers to make and foster long-term relationships. Along with that, he rewards those who are honest, trustworthy, and that treat him fairly. Once you’ve proved yourself, you will be his go-to-guy for all of his projects. Remodels, second, third, and fourth homes? He wants to fly you and your team out and have you involved.
5. He Pays Promptly
You never have to wonder where the money is with this guy; when you email him a bill, you know it’s money in the bank. He is always ready to send you a deposit or a draw, understanding that money keeps the wheels of progress turning and that you are running a business, not a charity.
6. He Has a Family
Beyond just wanting a high-end listening room or killer dedicated theater, he wants a home full of cool tech that improves the lifestyle of his entire family. He has movie nights with the kids, hosts pool parties and sleepovers, and more. His home is often the focus for big gatherings and the hub of entertaining. He loves it when his kids use the system, and they have their own touchscreens controlling zoned audio with their own playlists. He especially loves any special touches you can incorporate—like Kaleidescape’s Kid’s Movie Collection feature—that are geared toward his kids enjoying the system.
7. He Trusts You
As much as he appreciates and loves tech, he also understands that you are the expert and when you make a suggestion he defers to your expertise. Now, this doesn’t mean that he won’t do research and bounce ideas off of you, and will occasionally expect you to be able to justify your suggestion if it goes against what he has researched, but when you make a well-reasoned case for it, he’ll go your way.
8. He’s Accessible
Sure, he’s busy, and he travels a lot, but he still makes himself accessible. If you call, email, or text he always gets back to you in a timely manner and doesn’t relegate you to dealing with an intermediary or house manager. This avoids any communication confusion and makes sure that you are always giving him what he wants.
9. He Understands Maintenance
Just as he regularly has his Ferrari picked up or his Vacheron Constantin cleaned and serviced, he understands that things require ongoing maintenance. He understands that companies have full staffs of IT people to maintain complex systems, and that what he owns is no different. So when something has an issue, he doesn’t freak out. He first tries to resolve the issue himself, then reaches out to you to set up a service call. He also understands that waiting until the night of a big party to check that your system is working is a recipe for disaster, so calling you to come in a day or so before an event to give the system a full workup is his SOP.
10. He’s Just Cool
Generally I have a “don’t be friends with clients” philosophy. This keeps the relationship from getting messy with them possibly expecting freebie service calls or discounts. However beyond everything else, this guy is just so cool and down to earth you can’t help but want to hang out with him. He’s the kind of guy who asks if you’ve ever driven a Bentley and then tosses you the keys and tells you to give it a try. He’s the kind of guy who hands out extra tickets to a ball game when he can’t use his season tickets. He’s the kind of guy who finds out what kind of beer, wine, or spirit you like and then always seems to have it ready when you finish a project. He’s the kind of guy who occasionally invites you over for an unforgettable dinner-and-a-movie night. In general, he realizes how well his life has turned out, and he’s just happy to spread the joy around.
So, tell me… Do any of you know this perfect client?