When Was The Last Time You Did an AV Demo?

For as much traction as the so-called smart home has gained in consumer awareness, it’s still audio and video that remains a key part of the residential business. While I’ve met a few HiFi shop owners who loathe automation and prefer to deal with it in the context of cinema room design, I don’t think I’ve ever known an AV pro who does nothing but automation and lighting control. Consequently, audio and video equipment and effectively presenting it remains essential.

Hopefully, by now, all AV pros know that clients buy when the salesman has created both trust and value. Effective demonstrations establish you, the dealer, as a trusted expert. Secondarily, but still important, an effective presentation cements in the client’s mind why the system they’re being asked to pay for is worth the money.

There are a couple of things that I’ve observed going on in big box retail with regard to their video displays.

The first is that their passive presentation have all risen to a higher level as the years have gone by and technology has advanced. That includes looping video content streamed from dedicated video servers and quite often supplied and supported by the brands of screen they’re running on. That’s great, and I fully endorse it.

The other is that I can’t remember the last time I witnessed an active presentation led by a sales associate looking to wow the customer. I’ll just pause here and admit that while my work takes me into big box stores on the regular, I’m not there all the time and generally not during prime time evening shopping hours. I won’t make the claim that big box salespeople don’t ever present, just that they do it seldom or at least less often than they used to.

Armed with this, I have quizzed the independent AV dealers I know and feel reassured by their confirmations that yes, they do indeed actively demonstrate the quality of their systems’ picture and sound.

So, circling back to the title, I’ll ask you the readers: When was the last time YOU performed a demonstration?

Hopefully it was recently. And while what’s current for movies and music changes, what hasn’t changed is what it takes to deliver an effective demonstration.

One thing that I learned from experience from my time in the front lines of retail HiFi was that if prospective customers have been shopping for any length of time, they’ll have “demo fatigue.” They may well have seen the same action movie scene (Pearl Harbor was big when I had this revelation) over and over again.

It’s not a bad thing to keep older yet still effective demo materials in your library. Beyond the punch of the system you’re selling, it’s one way to be memorable.

Speaking of overcoming demo fatigue, keep it on target. The whole point of a demonstration is to impress. Be organized. Have the demo materials ready to go.

I know that Bose is a polarizing brand in the business, but if there’s one thing they can be credited for it’s turning demos into a repeatable, systemic process. Tell the client what they’re going to experience, show them and then reaffirm what they just experienced.

That’s it. It’s not voodoo, it just works.

The goal of demonstrations is to turn a prospect into a client. Bear that in mind, and knock their socks off with a killer demo of a killer system.

Lee Distad

About Lee Distad

Lee Distad is a rAVe columnist and freelance writer covering topics from CE to global business and finance in both print and online. Reach him at lee@ravepubs.com