Closeouts and Good Deals

July 12, 2023

My family has a saying, long attributed to my grandfather: “We can’t afford an elephant, but since they’re half price we’ll take TWO!” There’s just something compelling about getting a bargain. That applies not only to people as end users but to businesses too. My category managers at my work regularly negotiate special buys and […]

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Tempering The Need To Win

June 8, 2023

Everybody likes to win, right? At least that’s what I tell myself. And that’s fine, as far as it goes. But there are times when it can be taken too far. There are different ways of negotiating deals. Some are fairly universal, while others are more applicable to specific circumstances. Without going off on a […]

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And the Sale After That …

February 8, 2023

Whenever you meet with your financial planner, and they discuss investments like mutual funds, one of the standard cover-their-ass sentences you see in the printed materials is “past returns do not predict future performance.” That’s true of many things. What was once Hot often becomes Not, and occasionally vice versa. So, I had a meeting […]

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Don’t Say ‘No.’ Say ‘No, But …’

May 26, 2022

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

March 22, 2022

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

May 10, 2021

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

January 29, 2021

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

November 23, 2020

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

May 7, 2020

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

March 25, 2020

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

February 18, 2020

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

November 25, 2019

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

November 4, 2019

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

October 10, 2019

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

September 9, 2019

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

August 26, 2019

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

May 28, 2019

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?

May 7, 2019

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

April 25, 2019

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

April 22, 2019

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

April 11, 2019

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

March 29, 2019

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

March 19, 2019

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

February 27, 2019

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

February 9, 2019

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

January 30, 2019

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

January 25, 2019

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

January 9, 2019

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

December 31, 2018

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

December 27, 2018

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?

November 29, 2018

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

November 29, 2018

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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