No one would argue with the fact that working as a value-added reseller (VAR) can be difficult work. VARs are expected to have both broad and in-depth technology knowledge, on topics as diverse as physical and data security, computer networking, video walls and lampless projectors.
The good news is that working as a VAR can provide unprecedented opportunity for growth, as there are always new technologies being introduced that your customers need. But that’s not to say that there aren’t some common pitfalls when selling these systems. If you’re starting to work with AV systems, you might want to keep these seven common sales mistakes in mind:
1. Going too big too soon.
When you’re new to AV systems, expect to start out with at least a few smaller-scale installs. This will help you to gradually get your feet wet, rather than jumping directly into a larger, enterprise-scale project.
For example, take the time to fully understand the ins and outs of video conferencing and whole-house audio. Set up a few meeting rooms and build your first video wall. Then, you can turn your attention to the bigger clients who require a bit of everything all at once.
2. Moving outside of your area of expertise.
Have you done a lot of work in corporate offices and schools but are unfamiliar with customers in other areas, such as retail? As you incorporate pro AV into your product offering, you might want to stick with those verticals you know—at least in the beginning. There’s plenty of time to branch into retail, as well as healthcare, transportation, hospitality and more, down the road.
3. Specifying overly complicated technology.
At its core, pro AV technology is all about improving communication between two or more people, whether it’s through video conferencing, digital signage, projector systems, desktop sharing, chat or even email and phone. Always keep your customers’ end goals in mind, and avoid the temptation to specify the “latest and greatest” when what they truly need is a more cost-effective option that’s already been proven reliable.
4. Getting stuck in a technology rut.
On the other hand, resist the urge to constantly spec the same devices and systems, over and over. Stay up-to-date on new innovations, and you’ll be more likely to give your customers what they want.
If you’re already feeling like a bit of a broken record, consider partnering with a technology distributor. They can help put you in touch with leading manufacturers that are always on the cutting edge of AV innovation.
5. Ignoring your customers’ need for training.
With pro AV systems evolving all the time, many customers will have a need for at least basic training. This could be included in your service offering, either on a one-time basis or recurring as new users are added.
6. Not offering ongoing support and service.
Your customers are going to require technical support or troubleshooting at some point. Do you want them to go to you, or to someone else?
Even if you don’t offer support or service contracts, consider developing a rate sheet for one-off visits or calls. That way, your customer will know what to expect before trouble even occurs.
7. Ignoring the opportunity for referrals.
Once you have a few pro AV projects under your belt, referrals could become a significant source of new business. After each job, be sure to follow up and directly ask the customer to refer your company to other similar businesses.
What other common mistakes would you add to this list? What are some of the mistakes you’ve learned from in your own experience with AV systems?