So, I do this thing where I write a blog, get super inspired to write more frequently then fall off the bloggy train…then 6 months later get re-inspired…so, here I am! I last left you with the news of my engagement, relocation to Reno, and the big switch from manufacture to integrator, and I have to say I LOVE IT!
Engagement is a beautiful season of love, pretty gifts, jubilant parties and fun future planning. I’m doing my best to live in the moment, and soak in every last special piece of this season. As far as the relocation goes, Reno is a brilliant dessert in the middle of the mountains! The leaves are every shade of yellow, orange and red right now, and I’m totally anticipating the first snow cover. The city is loaded with wonderful coffee houses, cafes, restaurants and shops just waiting to be discovered and visited. Now for the business side of things, switching over to an Integrator has been one of the coolest experiences in my professional career. I thought I’d take a few moments to discuss this industry transition.
Working for Pakedge allowed me to gain an understanding of the Custom Residential Industry. Prior to joining their team, I was completely in the dark about this techie world. In my time there, I learned about the different manufacturers and how everything came together, although I didn’t have much insight into the world of the integrator. I knew that we sold to them, and I was expected to market our products in a way that would convince them to purchase from us. I knew they installed systems in homes, and they were the ones who had to make all these fancy products work seamlessly together. Joining Sierra Integrated Systems opened up a whole new world for me. Due to my recent transition I’ve been getting asked for advice and insight into the best way to have a smooth transition from manufacture to integrator, so here are my top 5 tips.
1. Take the time to learn the project hierarchy. You are no longer trying to sell to, support, and network with integrators. Your audience has changed and in order to be successful you need to learn who that is. The project decisions are not only made by the homeowner but the Architect, Builder, and Designer.
2. Once you understand the hierarchy, begin to network. It’s wonderful to sell to the homeowner, but it’s MUCH better to get in early with the Architect, Builder or Designer. Make sure you are a member of your local AIA, ASID, and CATT associations. If you are in with any of these groups you are likely to get a lot more projects due to their recommendations. Find out who your company has worked with before and extend a greeting to them. You want to try and personally get to know as many of these people as possible.
3. Understand your demographics. Regardless of your position in the company you are most likely going to be dealing with multiple demographics. For example, you may have some extremely high-end clients living in exclusive golf courses that want the works, but you may also have middle class clients that can only afford automated shades to add simplicity to their life. Know who you’re talking to and you will be able to better connect and ultimately make a sale.
4. Take time to play with the products! This is something I am still working on, but super excited about. Coming from a manufacturer you are most likely only well versed in that one particular product line. You’ve spent all your time learning, marketing, selling, and supporting that one thing, but what about the tons of other products and brands in the industry. As an integrator you are expected to sell them all and understand them all. This is one of the best parts in my opinion. Take the time to explore your showroom or experience center. Test out those shades, take a load off in your theater and test out the sound and screen quality, play around with the control system. Get your feet wet! It’s fine and will make you that much more knowledgeable.
5. Study your company’s client list. You are going to be hearing these names A LOT around the office. Familiarize yourself with the current projects going on. It’s important to know the different personalities and pros and cons of every client so you are adequately prepared for anything.
Well there you have it, my top 5 tips. Of course I’m learning more and more every day and the only way to true success is to remain teachable. If you have any advice to offer, I’m TOTALLY ready to hear it. If you would like to talk one on one about this transition in order to prepare for your own, I’m open to that to!
Until next time,