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

Strange ReTales The Force Field

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Strange Re-Tales: Whales, Laydowns, and Flops

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Recently, I’ve blogged about salesperson lingo, specifically, tirekickers and be-backs. Since I’ve been diving into the vernacular of the salesfloor, here’s some more. Just as prospective customers who never buy anything have their own nickname, so to do their opposites: the customers who buy. In the parlance, a “whale” is a customer who’s spending big. […]

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Tire Kickers And Be Backs

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It just occurred to me that I haven’t regaled rAVe readers with any tales from my retail days in quite some time. Then it occurred to me that I’ve been out of the retail trenches for nearly twelve years. Like awakening from a bad dream, the memories are slowly fading. I’ve seen things you people […]

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Networking The Right Way

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They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Without sinking into a lengthy digression about what that really means, I’ll just gloss it over with “getting to know people is important.” For many of us, the best opportunities we’ve had have come to us by way of our personal and professional networks. […]

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Helmsman, Chart A Course For The Catering

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I was just remarking earlier how much I’m enjoying my years-long streak of not having to attend CES. But just because I’m not there, doesn’t mean I can’t reminisce about trade shows. Frankly, my favorite part of trade shows has never been the technology. Nope, it was the catering. From the wine and cheese receptions […]

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Schrödinger’s Coffee

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I have often blogged about the power of coffee to open doors and cement relationships. Just this past week, I walked into the office of one of my customers who, normally, have a very rigid approach towards scheduling meetings. I know that, and always respect it. However this time, I walked in armed with a […]

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The Key To This Business

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Like Dickey Fox said in Jerry Maguire, “The key to this business is *claps hands* personal relationships!” Regardless of how fantastic their products are, vendor sales reps need to understand that the personal relationship they build with their dealers can be the make or break factor in how much business they get, or if they […]

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Final Eulogy For My Remote Control

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Not that I seriously believe that anyone has been following the saga of my rebuilding of my Media Room post-flood, and my search for a new control system for my AV gear. BUT IF YOU WERE, you might be interested to know that after much research and discussion with knowledgeable AV Pros, I elected to […]

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Someone Call Security

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Recent experiences have brought security installations to the forefront of my thinking. Security subsystems are something that AV pros have polarizing opinions on. Some don’t mind handling them, some do so only grudgingly, and others won’t touch them. Like everything, when deciding whether to do security at all there are pros and cons. The most […]

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Vendor Catalogs: Relics Of The Past?

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I get asked periodically for a copy of our catalog. That’s when I refer them to our website and say “that’s our catalog now.” In any channel where technology advances quarterly, or even more often, and what’s hot can change weekly, combined with printing costs, and a general rise in eco-friendly sentiments have put print […]

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Replacing Legacy Systems

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I like to say that every solution has two problems. However, sometimes there are more. Long story short, my basement flooded over the May long weekend, as I think I’ve mentioned before in my blog. I can tell you that it’s a good news/bad news situation. The salvage and restoration company (who did a fantastic […]

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