The Full Meal Deal

What most often differentiates the AV pros who have the best reputations from the ones who, well… don’t is their ability to craft a complete experience for their clients. Accomplishing that requires a balance between the expertise needed to craft a well-designed system, the skills necessary to install it on time and on budget, but before that, the creative vision to paint an attractive picture for the client about what their system will do for them and the joy it will bring them.

There’s more to a complete client experience than just a big screen and a bunch of speakers or a pile of documentation. It’s not enough anymore to just vend product and it hasn’t been for a long time. More than that, you need to ensure that you connect your client with what will leave them satisfied — the full meal deal, so to speak.

The key to doing just that is to foster and grow your client’s awareness of solutions that they either didn’t know existed or hadn’t previously considered. Good salesmanship is more than just giving people what they want, it also requires not only listening to what they’re telling you, but also listening to what they’re not saying or perhaps lack the vocabulary to articulate. When you listen, really listen, to what the client is asking you, you’ll find opportunities beyond that for which they initially walked into your office.

As AV pros, you are all blessed with a plethora of categories that enhance the client’s experience. That’s the most important thing. The fact that they grow your revenue and margins is just a happy coincidence.

Even today, clients who want a nice AV system remain unaware of lighting control or at least its full potential. Yet when having your first conversation with them, once you’ve demonstrated in your showroom’s theater how programmed lighting sets the mood, suddenly they’re receptive to something that they hadn’t previously considered. Generally, if the client wants something, they’ll happily pay for it.

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We could go on all day about categories that enhance the client’s experience. How about acoustic treatments? When the system budget includes things that make a lot of noise, you’re doing the client a huge favor by introducing them acoustic control technology to both fine-tune the in-room performance of the system and isolate it from the rest of the house. Even if your company lacks the in-house resources to do acoustic modeling, it’s common for vendors of acoustic materials to offer room modeling services at no charge, all the better to help you sell the client on the bill of materials the vendor will quote for your project.

While I would hope that it’s obvious, but don’t forget entertainment furniture and theater seating. The fact is, your client will have to furnish the room you’re helping them create and if they’re going to spend money on furniture, it’s better if they spend it with you.

Providing a complete experience goes beyond specifications and buzzwords. It means presenting disciplines and technologies to your client that they may not have originally considered. By showing them the extent of what’s possible, you cement their impression of your expertise, enhancing your client’s lives and, of course, make money doing so.