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Runco Adds TradeUp Program, Dealer Classes

Beaverton, Ore. — It’s tough out there in the high-end home-theater business, but video-display manufacturer Runco has put together a number of programs to help dealers stay up to date and to shake out the underbrush for potential new/old clients.

First, the Planar-owned high-end video display maker is offering a pair of trade-up programs focusing on old Runco customers who haven’t been out shopping for A/V equipment for a while and, in a related effort, revealed an enhanced curriculum for its Runco Academy dealer-training programs.

Runco is calling its latest promotional programs TradeUp and TradeOut. These are billed as the first of several promotional efforts the company is planning to help boost business during the economic crisis that has kept new building starts low and A/V pockets light.

In TradeUp, Runco said it is targeting immediate incremental sales for dealer partners by giving them the chance to offer existing Runco clients credit toward the purchase of new Runco products.

Runco dealers are encouraged to proactively contact prior Runco customers, who may not otherwise be in the market for a new home theater, and make them an offer they might have difficulty refusing — special credits on old equipment good toward the purchase of brand new Runco video systems. The offer might, for example, help the owner an old Runco CRT-tube projector make the jump for a new 1080p 3-chip DLP model with 2.35:1 CineWide aspect ratio formatting.

Runco said the TradeUp program is “an aggressive, sales-focused” program designed to give dealers an excuse to get on the phone and nudge their past Runco clients with a rare opportunity to get new state-of-the-art products. It is also another tool the dealer and Runco can use to make “Runco customers for life,” the company said.

The value the consumer receives for old products varies depending on the product they are upgrading to.

A Runco spokesperson said: “In some cases it is a portion (of the original price of the product ranging in percentages) and/or in special cases the consumer could get all of their value back. Customers see that it is a win-win, because they are getting value for an old product that has otherwise depreciated since they drove it off the lot.”

As for the equipment that is traded in, “the dealer takes the old product when they install the new one. Depending on what product the customer has turned in and the shape of it, Runco and the dealer decide what to do with the old systems,” the spokesperson said.

Some of the product will go back to Runco (legacy products), because some of the new service staff might be unfamiliar with it. This gives the team the opportunity to check out discontinued items, tinker and gain better knowledge of it for future service needs, Runco said.

If the equipment is still working, Runco may encourage the dealers to donate it to a charity, schools or other special concerns.Some equipment may simply be disposed of, Runco said.

The TradeOut program, meanwhile, offers dealers a similar incentive to upgrade their showroom equipment with the latest Runco products.

According to the company, the goal of the program is to get dealers to refresh their entire showroom and start pushing the latest and greatest Runco gear. Runco said TradeOut is a customized offer for each dealer’s needs.

Meanwhile, Runco continues to offer its dealers an opportunity to stay on top of the latest aspects of its new products and technologies by participating in its Runco Master Class training program from the Runco Academy.

Opened to authorized dealers only, the “Master Class — Mastering the Art of Home Cinema” invites participants to the Planar/Runco headquarters in Beaverton for a two-day focused session of sales training.

The session is offered in addition to separate from Runco’s traditional three-day technical training session.

Runco Academy’s Technical Master Class is a three-day technical training session to ensure dealers and their technical teams have the knowledge, tools and equipment to properly install, service and maintain Runco equipment.

Runco said its dealers will now have the opportunity to send their sales staff to a new two-day sales training program that has been specifically designed to provide dealers with competitive sales tools and techniques for the luxury market.

Bob Hana, Runco’s sales and marketing VP, will instruct the course.

“In this difficult economy, with competitive pressures getting increasingly intense, we want to give our dealers both the sales and technical skills they need to not only survive, but to thrive,” said Hana. “Adding a Sales Master Class specifically for our dealers’ sales teams, the front line of our brand and point of contact for their clients, provides a tangible advantage that Runco dealers need out there in the trenches.”

The Runco Academy Master Class, a certified training program for Consumer Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) professionals, is held quarterly. The next Academy sessions are July 17-21.

Graduates of the technical portion of Runco’s dealer-training program are eligible for CEDIA Continuing Education Units (CEU) credits and also qualify for ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) certification.