When it comes to pro AV technology, there's a lot to learn, even for seasoned value-added resellers (VARs).
That's because the audio/video landscape is changing so rapidly that it's sometimes difficult to keep up with advances in technology.
Every customer wants the latest and greatest when it comes to delivering a high-powered message using pro AV and digital signage.
For VARs, that means being able to knowledgeably answer questions about cutting-edge technology off the cuff, as if you breathe and sleep the stuff.
1. AV tech is constantly evolving. What was shiny and new today is old tomorrow.
Everyone knows that computer technology evolves so rapidly that it only takes a year or two before users get tired of last year's hardware darling and want the latest and greatest.
Pro AV is the same way.
It wasn't long ago that 4K video displays were the hottest thing on the market. But some pro AV hardware manufacturers are already talking about 8K display monitors, which at 7680 x 4320 are touted as the highest resolution the human eye can discern.
Now, before VARs get antsy about fielding customer questions on these displays, one thing is certain: that 4K content is hard to come by, so 8K won't be available anytime soon. The takeaway is that when customers ask about state-of-the-art digital displays, it pays to know exactly what is being offered and whether or not your customer can afford and benefit from it.
2. Pro AV is increasingly interactive with IT, and it's not going away. Knowing IT basics will go a long way.
Within the next year or so, IT and pro AV will be almost inseparable when it comes to providing audio/video solutions for customers. VARs will be presented with challenges that require them to stay on top of this ever-changing partnership between pro AV and IT, but the rewards will be worth it because it will present the opportunity to branch out into other verticals. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the newest emerging technologies, like mobile platforms and near-field communication.
3. Be prepared to quote multiple hardware solutions, from low-end to high-end.
It's best to be prepared to present multiple pro AV offerings. Sometimes customers have a good idea of how effective they want a pro AV solution to be, but they don't understand the true cost that goes along with it.By preparing a range of audio/video hardware from low-end to high-end, your customers will be enabled to make decisions more quickly when they know the true cost of a particular installation.
4. Know AV best practices from initial meeting with client all the way up to project installation.
Your customers depend on you, and good customer service will ensure repeat business.
It may seem like audio/video best practices should be left to the installation contractor, but it behooves VARs to fully understand the process also. Sometimes customers will call VARs in at various points during an installation. Knowing how pro AV hardware will or will not fit into the installation will go a long way in getting repeat business.
By understanding best practices, VARs will have a better grasp of the project timeline and when audio/video hardware will be needed for installation. It also helps to understand the scope of the project when suggesting audio/video technology for a customer.
5. Know your product specs.
Customers rely on VARs to know which pro AV hardware will work best with their project needs and what won't work. Customers often focus on end results, not how to get there. VARs will always be tasked to provide audio/video equipment specifications. Not knowing 4K from 2K or maximum effective cable runs will raise red flags with customers and may make them skittish about using a VAR for repeat business.