By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
I thought about what I could say after a phenomenal Christmas and New Year season.
It was a great one. Even though times have been a little tough I have really seen some growth not only in the industry but in myself. I thought about what I would talk about today and I think we need to focus on how we can better represent our industry and who we really need to focus on in the wild AV world we live in and the markets we represent. Let’s talk about who we really represent and how we can better market to Builders, Architects Designers and Homeowners.
In the Builder market, I, as a CEDIA Certified Designer, have to be on top of my game. This market is very meticulous and price conscious and can even be cutthroat when it comes to cost of goods or presenting a viable value proposition. With the home market being affected hugely by the down turn in the economy, we as ESC’s have to really be considerate of our costs to the builder, as well as presenting them with a solution that can help them differentiate themselves from others. What services are we offering to them that keep them ahead of the curve? Are we offering traditional services like structured wiring, or distributed audio and video? We all are. But what different things are we doing for them? Are we teaching them about Green building techniques from the AV side of the coin? Are we showing them value in lighting or updated network wiring for Digital Server capabilities? Are we showing them how automating the home can save energy and offer their clients an increased financial savings over time? I train monthly on builder techniques and how they operate. I learn how they work, what trends are evolving and how to stay on top of their game.
In the Architectural arena it is imperative that we partner with them at the pre planning stage. I find it increasingly difficult to create a properly designed Media Room when the architect throws it together with the “space left over” above the garage. We as ESC’s have to really increase our exposure to this group of professionals. That is why it is critical to reach out and partner with them so we can learn together. The real winner here is the Home owner. As a newly certified Registered Outreach Instructor, it is also advantageous to partner with Architects because we can train them on ways in which we do business and they can earn CEU credits for attending the class. This helps get our foot in the door and attract new business and create new relationships. And relationships are what this is all about.
In the Designer World, we ESC’s have a hard time and a lot of us have conflict with this partner. The Designers are very detail oriented and we can rub them the wrong way sometimes. I mean, think about it. Would you really want a huge subwoofer right in the middle of a beautifully decorated room? No. We as ESC’s, I believe, must make the first move for compromise. There can be huge ramifications to us if we do not partner with them and refuse to budge even a little. The Designer can be your best friend. Partner with them. Learn how they think. These professionals know what they are doing and they have the client’s ear. Help them look good with their client. Promote them, befriend them and in return you will have an ally.
In the end it is the Homeowner who pays the bills. This is critical to understand if we are going to stay in business. Each one of these professions, the Builder, Architect, Designer and ESC are really working for the Homeowner. They feed and cloth us, they pay our rent and they help grow our businesses. It is imperative that we see that. When we represent ourselves with integrity and partner with the same minded professionals, the Homeowner is the one who benefits. They are the one who really gives the referral.
Working with Builders, Architects, Designer and Homeowner has its challenges. With the right mind set and with a servant’s attitude, these professions can be our biggest asset and a real viable way to increase our business. In the end the Homeowner sees the value and we see their smile. That’s what it’s all about.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.