Smith Urges EHX Visitors How To Sell More Audio

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Opportunities abound for custom installers, integrators and specialty retailers to sell more upscale home audio, according to Deborah Smith who outlined strategies during the Custom Retailing Day at the EHX show, here, late last month.

The event, sponsored by TWICE, CE Pro magazine, the Consumer Electronics Association, PARA and Smith's own consulting organization, Deborah Smith Group, leaned on Smith's extensive retail experience to suggest ways on how to sell more audio.

Smith said that no matter how good the plan is, “it may take your operating six months to generate 50 percent of your sales in audio and accessories.” To start with, she noted, “You have to review the marketplace and your competitors. You have to figure out who are your competitors, who are your customers and do you go with existing or new suppliers.”

The choice of vendors is also critical because “many vendors don't want to service small dealers. Vendors you choose should have the same goals, the same strategy as you do, such as not going for mass distribution.”

Another strategy is to narrow the audio lines that you do carry and if you do add a line or two “do so prudently,” she suggested. “Use the 'just in time' inventory model and pick those suppliers than can deliver that way.”

To get the best lines at the best prices Smith suggested joining a buying group, using manufacturers reps or distributors or a combination of all three to get the best price.

One thing an installer, integrator or specialty retailer should remember is that “audio is not a brand business anymore. You are selling solutions to consumers.” With that in mind, Smith noted, “Pick high profit lines that tell a story.”

That “story” is told at the customers' home, in the showroom or the store; the sales presentation should “work as theater,” she said. “The 'store tour' should be scripted and planned to expose your customers to your 'cool ideas' and qualify the customer.”


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