Just a couple decades ago, the only technology you’d find in a church was a PA system. Today, many churches are leveraging an assortment of cutting-edge audio-video technologies to deliver immersive and lively worship experiences to their members. Booming high-definition sound, powerful projectors, giant screens, video recording, videoconferencing, lighting and more all add up to the worship market creating a lot of potential for pro AV solution providers. If you think this vertical might be a good opportunity for your business, take note of these tips before making your first sales call.
- Prepare to get personal—The adage that people buy from those they trust holds especially true when it comes to selling to churches. The people involved in the decision-making process will most likely desire a more personal relationship, to the point of becoming friends, than customers in other markets. Take note, as this could be the most critical factor that determines your success. While you might begin with the technical director at the church, you’ll want to meet members of whatever committee overseeing the budget and seeking to fulfill the short- and long-term mission of the church.
- Understand the mission and goals of the church—Some churches are heavily focused on using music and performance as an integral part of praise and worship. As such, a good sound system and projection setup might be a high priority. Some churches desire to create smaller satellite churches to reach a neglected population. In many cases, satellite churches might watch the service of the main church live or prerecorded, requiring projectors and even videoconferencing solutions to be in place. Every church will have its own needs, so don’t make assumptions.
- Plan for a long sales cycle—Deciding to sell to churches today isn’t going to increase your revenue next month. In fact, expect 6- to 12-month sales cycles due to the high number of decision-makers in the process and the need for churches to often raise money for the purchase.
- Overcome price objections—Most churches aren’t sitting on piles of excess cash so, unfortunately, there’s a tendency to go with cheaper options. Assuming you’ve taken the time to get personal and build a relationship with the key people involved in the buying process, this is your opportunity to become a trusted advisor and educate them on why the best choice might not be the cheapest.
- Look beyond pro AV—Churches today have become one of the most tech-savvy organization types out there. Once you’ve built a personal and healthy relationship with the key people, it’s time to ask about other potential services you can provide such as wireless infrastructure, phone systems, laptops, cloud servers to host video archives of church services, network security and more.
By following the above advice and tapping into available assistance from Ingram Micro’s pro AV expert, Tom Jones, the worship market could become one of your most lucrative.