Baseball legend Babe Ruth once said: “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
What Ruth was getting at is if you can learn from your mistakes by not seeing them as mere errors, your opportunity to grow both professionally and as a person is greatly enhanced.
Complex AV systems have become essential to the operation of government, institutions and corporations, resulting in a growing need not only for equipment but for installation, integration and managed-services contracts.
The pro AV industry currently generates $91 billion a year, according to InfoComm's 2014 Global AV Market Definition and Strategy Study, and has been projected to be a $114 billion global industry by 2016.
That is significant growth that should have solution providers salivating at the potential to capture new business and grow as less competitive vendors drop off for reasons ranging from poor strategic planning to poor customer-service policies.
Transitioning from a good pro AVconsultant to one of greatness doesn’t have to be complicated. Try these five tips that could help you “up” your pro AV consulting game:
1. Consider ongoing training classes
Pro AV professionals want to take their careers or businesses to the next level but don’t always know how. In many industries, ongoing professional training is seen as a mark of dedication to one’s career path, and, in some industries, it’s required to keep up professional licenses.
If possible, try to find education sources that are respected and reputable and offer free or low-cost training. Some companies sponsor employees for training depending on the market vertical and/or the pro AV service they provide.
2. Know industry best practices
A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means and that is used as a benchmark. In addition, a "best" practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered.
In the pro AV industry, best practices are established in order to cover all aspects of the delivery of a pro AV installation—from project design to development, from installation to systems operation and training—and they should be ingrained in your pro AV consulting business as standard operating procedure.
3. Be organized
Advising pro AV professionals to “be organized” may seem very basic, ordinary business advice, but having it in your DNA as a pro AV consultant is essential. Take careful notes of each project. Documenting and tracking timelines and expenses and penciling in client and vendor meetings and site visits can amount to a lot of work, especially without an assistant or a well-oiled machine behind you, but it’s the mark of a great pro AV professional who knows attention to detail is analogous to quality work.
Try investing in some good project management software. Using it regularly will provide you with the tools necessary to juggle multiple pro AV projects with efficiency that is noticed by clients.
4. Stay light on your feet
Adjust your business priorities and, in some cases, your business plans as necessary when situations call for it and if the benefits to your pro AV business are apparent.
A rigid operating structure that doesn’t allow for change, especially in the pro AV industry, is potentially doomed for failure because pro AV installations are collaborative in nature and are constantly being tweaked until clients are satisfied.
In addition, technology evolves rapidly, and clients may have a specific need for the latest and greatest. Being ready to source such equipment will keep you at the top of your customer’s call list.
5. Customer comes first
Customers are always the bread and butter of any company that offers a service or product, yet time and time again, many businesses fail mostly due to poor customer-service practices. In fact, in the U.S. alone, eight out of 10 new businesses fail due to the inability to be in touch with their customer base.
Pro AV businesses that adopt a “customer-first” philosophy provide four essential qualities:
1. Deliver on the promise
2. Provide a personal touch
3. Go the extra mile
4. Resolve problems well
Solution providers adopting these practices as part of their pro AV business strategy are more likely to deliver their clients consultation service levels that aren’t just good—they’re great!