Going to Get Myself Connected

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It doesn’t feel like that long ago that network connectivity in AV hardware was an idea more noted in the breach than in the observance. But times have changed. What started with lighting control and other automation hardware eventually migrated into mainstream AV products. Honestly, once you’ve got those features, there’s no going back. Luxuries […]

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Partnering With A Buying Group

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Owners, general managers and inventory managers of AV companies routinely need to consider the pros and cons of buying products either from the manufacturer or a distributor. In addition to those options, there are also buying groups: an organizing of dealers who negotiate terms with their suppliers collectively. The primary rationale for buying groups is […]

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Subcontracting, Part 2

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Previously, I began an exploration of the relationship between AV pros and subcontractors, and examined ways in which the relationship can work. Now it’s time to consider the converse: when it doesn’t. We all know that not everything pans out. Silicon Valley old-timer James Altucher famously said, “90 percent of everything doesn’t work out.” One […]

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Should You Service What You Didn’t Sell?

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There’s an advertising catchphrase that’s probably dates back to the dawn of advertising: “We service what we sell!” You’ll see it appended as a tagline everywhere from car dealerships to general merchandise retailers. Last week my kitchen fridge died. It was only seven years old. I say “kitchen fridge” to differentiate it from the downstairs […]

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The Joys Of Troubleshooting

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Everyone who knows me knows that I have an aphorism for every occasion. (I have sports metaphors too, but that’s not the topic at hand today.) One of my favorite aphorisms (although really, I have so many, it’s hard to choose a favorite) is that “Professionalism isn’t about not having problems: Everyone has problems. Professionalism […]

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Adapt or Perish

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Everything changes and the pace of that change can be dizzying. Change for its own sake, however, isn’t always advisable. It needs to be carefully considered. A recurring trend in my discussions with consumer electronics dealers is their efforts in exploring avenues by which they can both differentiate themselves and seek new margin-building categories. Over […]

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Should You Pay Co-op Dollars for Placement?

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This can be a sensitive subject to both suppliers and resellers, so I will endeavor to tread lightly. In CE retail, co-op promotional costs are largely the norm. That’s where the supplier supports their dealers’ sales efforts with measures that can range from subsidizing advertising costs, to sell-through credits, to paying for product placement in-store. […]

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Sunk Costs: Part 2

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In the first installment, I flew over what sunk costs are and how they differ from the other kinds of costs you face in your business. To recap briefly, economists and business courses make the point that sunk costs should not be taken into account when making decisions about new expenditures. The money is spent, […]

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With Broadcast Boxes, It’s Always Two Steps, Forward Three Steps Back

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The tech media never lets up with thinkpieces about cord cutters and the imminent dire future for broadcast TV providers. Yet we’ve been reading these pronouncements for years now. And the broadcast landscape has changed a lot in that time. Whether it’s for better or worse is probably a matter of opinion. I’ll concede that […]

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Dealing With RFQs

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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 Next Big Thing 

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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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Why Certifications Matter

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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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Three Things You Need To Do To Grow Your Sales

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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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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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