We do our best to help you sell into the house of worship market, but sometimes you have to know which churches you shouldn’t try to sell. Chances are, you’ve experienced this: the “cheap church.” Understanding the church buyer sentiment is one of the new columns written expressly for those in the A/V/L industry who want to make the most out of their church market opportunities, but don’t want to waste time on churches that may not buy — or worse, that will buy, but make the process painful. Sad to say, but because churches are made up of people, you’ll still find some whack-a-doodle folks who are just hard to deal with.
The myth that small churches are cheap churches is just that — a myth. There’s a significant trend in the church growth movement where new churches — dubbed church “plants” — are being started by other churches and even denominations. These pre-funded churches are breaking the mold and seeing, overall, good success. Annually, several denominations have set goals of 2 percent to 3 percent growth of new church plants. This is a focused, intentional effort to reverse the effects of church attendance decline in the mainline denominations. This is a future trend for the A/V/L market to address now, as the rate of growth both for these churches and for the movement itself is one that promises a lot of good, repeat business.
The time is now to take a measured account of existing church business for your company, determine your best product/service fits and create a marketing and sales initiative to address this underserved market. With clear direction, the determination to learn about the buying trends of churches as it relates to what you sell and the foresight to see the opportunity for great success in this niche, companies can simply grab the low-hanging fruit and pave the way for a sizable addition to their revenue stream. Remember, there are over 330,000 Protestant churches alone in the United States and we’re just now starting to see the trends of the last two decades bearing fruit that outpaced the growth projections of the House of Worship market by myself and others for the A/V/L space.
I think one of the most important lessons for manufacturers, dealers, integrators and rep firms is the battle against product pricing and thin margins. When price is everything, your product means nothing. Once again, I touch on the importance of the value proposition in two columns: Understanding Church Buyer Sentiment and Church “Plants” Booming. The church market has more than enough good sales opportunities for any company willing to learn, address and serve it — even with the minority of “cheap churches” in the mix.
Image via Mother Nature Network