Pro AV technology comes in many shapes and sizes. From high-impact video walls to desktop sharing, mobile chat and group conferencing solutions, AV truly is a technology category that includes something for everyone.
But for value-added resellers (VARs) working in pro AV, the sheer breadth of the industry can get a bit overwhelming. With so many options available—and new innovations being introduced all the time—how can you be sure that you’re recommending the right AV system for each customer?
The answer lies in your understanding of both your customer and the AV technology itself. Here we take a look at four suggestions for recommending the right AV system for your customers:
The first step in identifying the right AV technology for a given customer is to understand how their business operates, as well as where pro AV would fit into and benefit their day-to-day tasks. Depending on the type of company you’re working with—a retail store or restaurant, a corporate office or college campus—AV technology will play a very different role. By talking in depth with your customer about their business, and where it’s headed, you’ll be able to focus on the technology that will work best for them.
2. Understand their specific goals.
What exactly is your customer hoping to gain from a new AV installation? It’s important to fully know the customer’s end goal in order to recommend precisely the right technology.
Does your client want to increase sales, improve brand recognition or communication to employees, save money by replacing traditional printed signage, supplement employee travel with video conferencing or something else? Remember—the solutions you choose will vary depending on your answer. The technology you recommend would be much different if your customer’s goal was, for example, to increase brand recognition versus advertise in-store sales.
3. Always keep budget in mind.
When it comes to pricing, pro AV technology runs the gamut. For example, a basic video wall can cost less than $1,000, but today’s larger, more advanced displays could total $10,000 or more. Depending on your customer, their business and their specific goals, you’ll have to find an AV budget that works for them.
For customers that don’t have a lot of budget to work with, consider a multi-phase project, in which you install various systems over time as finances allow. For example, a retail store may want to implement digital signage throughout its showroom floor, as well as in the parking lot—but on a limited budget. You may recommend starting with a few screens inside and then gradually rolling out the rest of the displays over the next several years.
4. Think long-term.
In today’s AV industry, stand-alone, proprietary technologies are going the way of the dinosaurs. That’s because both VARs and customers want to be able to integrate their systems with other devices, now and in the future.
In most cases, you’ll want to recommend systems that are based on an open architecture. That way, you’ll have an easier time with both installation and integration. And when your customer needs to expand their AV network in the future, it will be easier to add on devices when working with open technology. It’s a win-win for you and your customer.
How do you go about identifying the right AV system for a new customer? What are some of your tips for fellow VARs who are just getting started in pro AV?