Lee Distad

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

Dealing With RFQs, Part 2


In the prior installment, I had begun detailing the Request For Quote process, and my observations on them. And by “observations on them,” what I really mean is my cynical outlook on them. Don’t get me wrong, jumping through the RFQ hoops set out by organizational procurement managers can be a tedious and unrewarding exercise. […]

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Dealing With RFQs


Anybody who sells into commercial, industrial or institutional channels has to deal with Requests For Quotes. A request for quotation (abbreviated as RFQ) is how large organizations invite vendors to bid on systems, services or individual products. For AV pros, quotations on systems and services are the most common. Additionally, what’s asked for the in […]

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The Importance Of Being Apologetic


There are some things that you just don’t see very often any more. Wooly mammoths or dodo birds are good examples. There’s something else you don’t see very often in the wild: An apology. I mean a real apology. Not a half-hearted apology, or a sorry-not-sorry non-apology, or worst of all, the one where someone […]

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Going Your Own Way


It’s not uncommon after years working for other people to decide that now is the time to strike out on your own. In fact, it’s extremely common, part of the circle of life. And not everyone who goes out and sets up shop for themselves is a born entrepreneur, either. I can think of people […]

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Vendor Support For Dealer Show Booths


One of the marketing efforts that AV firms engage in to reach more clients is exhibiting at promotional shows: Buying a booth at the show to promote their services. When we talk about the promotional shows that dealers participate in, we’re most commonly talking about consumer shows. That includes home shows. Renovation shows. Home shows. […]

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Lord Of The Dance


Apophenia is the tendency to see patterns of meaning in things. When unchecked it can be a disorder, but in and of itself, it’s a handy mental tool for making sense of the world around us. If you’re around long enough in any field of endeavor you recognize patterns emerge. Like negotiating. Haggling over a […]

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Strange ReTales: Ring The Alarm


The best laid plans, they say, often go awry. That was actually Scottish poet Robert Burns who wrote that, but that’s neither here nor there. Years ago, I had promoted up a brand new Assistant Manager. Mitch was a great salesperson, well organized, and a good leader, so he was an excellent choice. None of […]

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Closing Ratios


Sometimes it feels like I’ve spent my whole professional life being ruled by metrics. Top line. Bottom line. Gross. Net. And of course all the derivative metrics. Turns. Shrink. Sales per square foot. Warranty percentage. Defective percentage. Closing ratio. Ah, closing ratio. My favorite. Not really. If you don’t know, closing ratio calculates how many […]

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The Next Big Thing 


There’s that aphorism that if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. But that’s not really true in this business. In our business, if you always do what you always did, with each passing year you’ll get less than you did before. Looking at the overall landscape of my dealer […]

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Losing An Appendage


Last week I was away on business. Starting on Monday my iPhone 6 started to present battery issues: rapid power drain, and, for unknown reasons, the battery indicator would read “100%” all day even as it approached zero charge. It was intermittent, too. That only made it even more mysterious. I had no clear way […]

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Quality Still Matters


A new coffee shop opened up on the corner near my house. It’s one-off, and locally owned. I got a double espresso, to go. It was three bucks, and, I found out after I left, undrinkable. Not because I’m some sort of effete coffee snob, but because it was literally undrinkable. It tasted like the […]

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Strange ReTales: Time Sensitive Offer


I know I’ve talked in the past about the various characters who wandered in and out of the stores I worked in. There were the tire kickers, the be-backs, the rude, unhappy people, and a rogues’ gallery of others. Some of them were even, occasionally, actual paying customers. And then there were the dawdlers, customers […]

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Why Certifications Matter


Professional AV companies have a selection of certifications they can qualify for, from industry trade associations like InfoComm and CEDIA, to product category-specific certifications from major vendors like Crestron or AMX or the Imaging Sciences Foundation and so on. How important is it for you and your people to be certified? Granted, many municipalities require […]

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Team Building


The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is drawing to a close, which makes these reminiscences timely. Let me just say that I’m not a gambler. Like, at all. If there is a “gambling gene” it’s complete absent from my makeup. It’s not that I don’t approve of gambling; I’ve got no moral objections […]

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Three Things You Need To Do To Grow Your Sales


Making generalities are useful when establishing guidelines. In general, if you work with enough business owners and managers, and review the performance of their teams, you’ll see commonalities and trends. And, speaking generally, comparable businesses in the same channel have more in common than they are different. One of the most common of those commonalities is […]

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Strange ReTales The Force Field


The business news this past week has been abuzz with stories about retailer bankruptcies, increasingly vacant shopping malls, and the looming threat of an economic recession. Those trends are ominous, but it a blackly humorous way reminded me of some of my own misadventures in retail. I was managing an electronics store, and it happened […]

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Staying in Control


AV install professionals like to see themselves as completely different from the mass-market consumer electronics retailers. Exterior details may vary from upscale retail storefront, or by-appointment-only showrooms and they take pains to present an impeccable image of expertise and professionalism that sets them apart from the look and feel of a big box store. The […]

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Strange ReTales Sales Contests And Fraud


People who haven’t worked in retail seldom have a grasp of how pernicious fraud is. Proactively countering it, and retroactively uncovering it is a Sisyphean task that has be done almost daily. When you work for a company that sells big ticket electronics, credit card fraud is constant issue. I’m barely exaggerating when I say […]

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Strange ReTales: Rude, Unhappy People


Previously I’d been reminiscing about the various people who walked through the doors of the stereo shops I worked at, from Tire Kickers to the Whales. Of course, there are many others. There’s also the Perpetually Upset. Everyone who’s worked with the public knows that there are some people who just want to be unhappy, […]

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Apologies and Responsibility


When faced with a challenging situation there are two actions that can be taken which can go a long way towards defusing the situation and moving towards a productive resolution. Apologizing and taking responsibility. Even if you yourself had nothing to do with it. Even if the problem originated with someone or something else somewhere […]

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