Don’t Say ‘No.’ Say ‘No, But …’

I’ve been told that there are two kinds of people: The people who say “there are two kinds of people” and the ones who don’t. That reminds me of the favorite joke of one of my old sociology professors, who told us “there are two kinds of people: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.” […]

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Brawn Consulting Launches New Virtual Course on Sales in AV, IT and Digital Signage

Brawn Consulting is launching a three-day virtual class on what they’re calling “the new role of sales” and the importance of the salesperson on March 29-31st. Alan Brawn notes that “Every year we celebrate new AV, IT and digital signage technologies. Today the technologies are different but so are the relationships with our customers. The […]

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Why You Need to Get to Know Your Clients

Anybody who knows me knows that I seldom pass up a chance to quote the legendary agent Dicky Fox from the film “Jerry McGuire.” Fox explains, “The key to this business is personal relationships!” Maybe it’s not true of all industries, but it’s definitely true of the ones I’ve worked in. I’ll get to why […]

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Why I Don’t Believe in Scripted Sales Calls

If you follow my Selling AV podcast here on rAVe, then this blog will be right up your alley. I haven’t done a point/counterpoint article in quite a while, but today I came across a blog shared by the NSCA about the importance of having a sales script, and honestly, I couldn’t disagree more. Full […]

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Sales Can Get a Boost From Project Managers

Any salesperson will tell you: Everything is sales. Of course it is. Isn’t our life and our work about convincing people to see the value and take action toward a goal? We want to come together and put some money on the table. Invest some capital into the idea. That’s the only way ideas become […]

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Effective Cold Calling During a Plague

You may have heard by now that we’re all dealing with social distancing and travel restrictions as a result of the official response to COVID-19. Some things may start to reopen soon, but I don’t think we can count on anything going back to business as usual for quite awhile. If you’re still working, as […]

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What Do You Have Lined Up: Structuring Your Sales Funnel

If you’ve spent any time in sales within a professional setting, your boss has likely asked you, “What do you have lined up?” In some workplaces, it’s an informal check-in where your boss wants to know what you’re working on, or for you to give him or her an idea of upcoming project scheduling and, […]

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Effectively Reaching New Customers

In December, I was a panelist for a session of the HETMA conference. I can not recall the exact conversation that led to us discussing getting cold calls from vendors. Several of us who are “customers” replied how much we dislike getting the cold calls or emails. What struck me most about the conversation and […]

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Selling AV: Everything Is Amazing and No One Is Happy

Comedian Louis CK once said: “Everything is amazing, and no one is happy.” In the neverending quest for the technology that makes everyone happy, no one is happy because the expectation is often that all technology should be perfect by now and that any issues with current technology (or lack thereof) could be fully remedied […]

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Why the Wow Factor Is Overrated

Upon researching definitions for the “wow factor,” I came across the following descriptions: A set of properties belonging to an object or service that pleasantly surprises a consumer. From commercials to cool electronics, the wow factor is an important aspect to consider. A striking or impressive feature We create entertaining and interactive experiences that result […]

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Structuring Your AV Sales Funnel

If you’ve spent any time in sales in a professional setting, you’re likely to have had your boss ask you, “What do you have lined up?” In some work environments, it’s an informal check-in where your boss wants to know what you’re working on, to give him an idea of upcoming project scheduling and, more […]

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HoW to: Improve Consistently

The house of worship (HoW) market has a unique consistency: Sunday comes every seven days for church services. This regularity is both a boon and a challenge for the women and men providing ProAV production to congregants conditioned to the high production values of stage and screen outside of their churches. It is because of […]

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What I Learned from Bill Sharer

For some time now, I have meant to do an article about sales and marketing for rental and staging, how they are different from the rest of our industry, how they are the same and how they are changing. I was not sure when I would put this on my schedule, but this week I […]

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Reinventing AV Rental and Staging

Last month, I spent some time in this column standing on one of my traditional soapboxes, namely that the AV rental and staging company has come to a point in the history of our industry where it becomes necessary to do some reinvention of our products and services. In my usual roundabout way, I came […]

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What’s Holding You Back?

Whether you’re working on improving yourself personally or professionally, it’s essential to have the ability to be introspective and analytical, in order to identify what you need to work on. That’s also true when you’re coaching others. In that, self-improvement has a lot in common with troubleshooting systems and equipment at work: diagnose, analyze, repair, […]

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Converting Leads for Sales

A start-up audiovisual systems integrator needs to take every single lead seriously because, with no backlog of client work, every new lead feels like immediate gratification as a sales lead. When this company grows and has plenty of work, do the leads become less important or is every new lead still a sales lead? The […]

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Together or Not at All, Part 2

In a previous column, “Signal to Noise,” I discussed the ever-increasing amount of marketing communications besieging our end-users/customers. And while that trend in and of itself has a multifaceted impact on the industry, there is an underlying issue that has a much, much, much larger potential impact and is truly the dark side of the […]

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Why You Need To Avoid Underselling

Spend any amount of time coaching salespeople and you’ll quickly see commonalities amongst them. These include not only their strengths, but also, and maybe especially, their weaknesses. The most common trait salespeople share is fear of rejection. That’s not unusual. Everybody likes being accepted, few people seek rejection. And it’s a common, easy mistake to […]

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Training and Retaining Your Best AV Salespeople

Focusing on effective sales growth can be either proactive or reactive. A proactive personal development plan (PDP) helps your salespeople self-assess their current capabilities and articulate a proposed set of growth areas for themselves. A reactive personal improvement plan (PIP), on the other hand, is not initiated by the salesperson but by their manager as […]

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The Irony of Technology Obsolescence for AV Vendors

AV companies have instant information about their product sales right at their fingertips. However, those same AV vendors have little to no visibility into the effect of marketing on tracking the reach, engagement or conversions on those same product purchases. The result is ironic for the AV industry: marketing technology obsolescence due to artificial intelligence […]

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When Your Brand’s Email Is Noise

Your business may have the coolest AVL product or service on the market, but amassing more emails in your prospect’s Inbox isn’t helping you sell even one of those great new products. Why? As decision-makers and consumers, we’re inundated and overloaded with information and emails. We’re deluged by data. What we don’t need to know is […]

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Making the Sale… or Not

In his annual year end post this past December, my rAVe HOW colleague Anthony Coppedge presented his analysis of the advertising to the HOW market he though represented the best and worst of the numerous marketing messages he reviewed. His column is well worth your time whether you’re a buyer, seller or just curious. The […]

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How Much Marketing Budget for AV Firms

How much budget should AV industry companies allocate towards marketing to the house of worship vertical? The answer is likely a surprise for any company that’s not spending on this >$1B annual spend segment of the overall AV industry. In 2018, the American Marketing Association, in partnership with Deloitte and Duke University, published the bi-annual […]

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Warm Calls Are The Best Calls

If you’ve been in sales for a long time, you’ll have read a lot of books and articles on selling. And if you keep track of such things, you’ll notice that the majority of the time, the content focuses on cold calling: How to do it, and how to make it work. Conversely, there’s less […]

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Go Big Or Go Home

One of the most crucial pieces of advice I’ve ever received was, “Don’t decide for the client how much is too much. It’s not your job to say ‘no’ on their behalf.” Put another way, don’t be afraid of overselling the job; be afraid of underselling the job. This is a separate issue entirely from […]

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New Year, New Format

For 2019 I thought I’d flip the script on my Selling AV podcast by introducing a new format. In 2019, I’ll be crowdsourcing your AV sales questions and asking what your biggest challenges are. Then I’ll take those questions and answer them Selling AV style via audio in under five minutes. Once the podcast is […]

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Making CRM Work For You

One buzzword/acronym that gets thrown around a lot is CRM, short for customer relationship management. It can be a large, unwieldy concept and what CRM looks like for a business can be a lot like the parable of the five blind people, each trying to describe an elephant, by only touching one part of it. […]

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How Do You Prepare for the Holiday Season?

As I write this, Black Friday week has come and gone. The balloon has gone up, so to speak, on the holiday selling season. Regardless of which channel you work in and which side of the business you’re on, this time of year impacts you and you need to prepare accordingly. These days, working on […]

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The Three Essential Soft Skills for Selling AV to Churches

Pastors don’t need high-pressure sales, slick marketing or churchy language. In fact, these three are red flag warnings to a vertical market used to being sold what they do not need. Instead, the three essential soft skills for selling AV to churches are a helpful challenger, intentional communication and value-as-a-service. All three of these lean […]

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The Future of Automation for the AV Industry

Automation isn’t new to the audiovisual industry, but a new kind of automation for this technology-focused trade will be centered around automating the customer’s buying journey. As innovation has led the consumer markets to automate the discovery process for buyers, so too has the time come for the long-established AV industry to adapt and embrace […]

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Berra’s Law

That great sage and commentator on the human condition Yogi Berra is credited with creating this commandment-like law of technology: In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is. Now, of course, Yogi didn’t realize or intend his statement to become one of the unwritten laws of the AV/IT universe […]

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The Future of AV: Educate. Engage. Encourage.

When does selling audiovisual technology shift away from the outdated features and benefits sales model and transform into something entirely different? Something so radically divergent that it actually makes sense to an AV industry in transition? 2018’s technology stack is here with the answer: when vendors leverage the social, marketing and sales technologies to go […]

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