It goes without saying that anytime value-added resellers (VARs) refer clients to a pro AV vendor, they are in effect putting their own business reputations on the line.
Anytime VARs select AV vendors for clients, the VARs are using their professional expertise to vouch for the quality and performance of the pro AV vendors you recommend.
That's why it's so important to have a solid understanding of what pro AV solutions your clients are trying to accomplish and with what budget before recommending a vendor.
In a growing industry expected to generate $114 billion by next year, selecting the right pro AV vendors for your clients is just a part of best business practices, which could translate into better sales results for VARs that are perceived as ranking high in professional expertise and reliability by their clients.
Here are five tips to consider when selecting pro AV vendors for your clients.
1. Dig into the details
Don't be afraid to do a little digging about a client's project before selecting a pro AV vendor for them. You'll be glad you did.
Rather than perceiving you as being nosy, most clients will appreciate your interest and concern in getting the right piece of hardware for them at the right price.
A good example is the client that wants a 4x4 video wall composed of 46" LCD displays but doesn't say it's being installed outdoors. In this case, it would likely be a major mistake for a VAR not to recommend a vendor specializing in ruggedized LED outdoor displays.
2. Equipment value and quality
More than likely, the most common issue fielded by VARs is price. Clients are typically more budget-conscious when it comes to spending on pro AV because it doesn't come cheap and has limited applications.
It can be tempting for VARs to select a vendor based on price alone, but that could be a bad choice if the equipment breaks down a few months later or is operationally unreliable.
It's generally best to find some kind of balance between your client's budget and quality. Clients may be more receptive to paying slightly more than they budgeted if they perceive better value.
Besides, you may find other areas in which to help clients trim down costs such as cabling.
3. Customer service and availability
Assuming that clients possess varying degrees of technological savvy, it's a good idea to recommend pro AV vendors that bundle turnkey solutions into the price of their hardware offerings. The value for clients is that they have one go-to source for questions and concerns.
Try to select vendors with good or excellent customer service reputations and 24/7 technical support. The best pro AV vendors are known for quality customer support, which your clients will undoubtedly appreciate.
Warranties, like people, come in all shapes and sizes, but the best vendors offer comprehensive warranties that cover their products for one or more years and offer on-site repair and free replacement parts during the covered period.
Although most manufacturers offer some kind of warranty, not all are the best at honoring them. VARs will want to steer clear of selecting vendors with poor reputations for honoring their warranties and too many customer complaints.
5. Length of time in business
Generally, clients are more comfortable with legacy brands simply because they've been around a long time and because they have a higher perceived value than those that have just come onto the market.
And most of the time, pro AV vendors with industry longevity will be the ones to turn to, because they've had many years to iron out technological and manufacturing problems.
But that doesn't necessarily mean VARs should shun newer vendors. It does mean that VARs should do research and use due diligence before selecting newer vendors for the VARs’ clients.
What criteria do you use when selecting vendors for your clients?