Selling isn’t what it used to be… it’s better.
While some people tend to get nostalgic about the “good ol’ days,” I think we can agree that in the tech world, things improve with time.
Just think, 20 years ago, we didn’t have the iPhone, Facebook, or YouTube, not to mention tablets, smart watches, and memes.
Thankfully, the way we sell has improved too.
Those of us in the AV industry have changed the way we approach sales in four different areas: motivation, branding, marketing, and business development.
Let’s unpack it:
1. Motivation: We sell outcomes.
In AV in particular, selling the result matters. While this principle isn’t universally adopted yet, as an industry we are quickly migrating to selling outcomes, not transactions. Selling is no longer as simple as underbidding your competitors. Making the sale is about showing the customer the true value your company brings.
Transactional sales indicate a mindset of the past. Fewer companies remain stuck doing old-school line-item quoting and selling on price. But for those who don’t adapt, they’ll soon find themselves disregarded by their prospects and outbid by their competitors.
The future of our industry lies in selling outcomes. In this line of thinking, we focus on the results your clients can expect when they work with you.
This isn’t about selling the plan — it’s about selling the result.
2. Branding: We base our value on our own brand (not our equipment brands).
Brands don’t matter.
Well… let’s rephrase that. Your product brands don’t matter — your company brand does.
We now have the luxury of product brand indifference from our clients. There was a time when you had to sell Sony to have a legitimate conversation if you were a video dealer. If you offered sound systems, you needed to emphasize that you used JBL or V-DOSC to be taken seriously. In that era, you relied on the brand power of your equipment to legitimize your business.
Equipment brands don’t matter much anymore. Twenty years ago, there was a significant difference in the quality. Back then, some of the products just weren’t good. Now, nearly all products work well.
Product brand isn’t as important anymore, which means we can focus more on our individual brands (i.e., our business brand).
3. Marketing: We embrace marketing.
Marketing matters. It has always mattered to some extent, but now we’re finally embracing it.
It’s about time!
Marketing is important. To successfully grow your business, marketing should be your top priority, followed by business development, then sales. Marketing is the beginning of a necessary progression. If you leave out marketing, you’re asking business development to do too much heavy lifting. Marketing should do that for you.
Not sure where to start? Begin here. Anyone can market now — you have an iPhone, website, and at least one social media account. If you’ve been in denial, face up to the fact that you need to market your company.
4. Business Development: We let business developers do their job.
Business developers now actually develop business. A decade ago, the role of business development was typically a salesperson with the wrong title. Very few people were really generating business connections. Today, more and more people are working on business development the right way. They’re elevating the brand and opening the door for better, more productive conversations.
Ironically, fewer people now have a “business developer” title because we don’t need that many people working towards organizational connections. However, with the right people in place, business development has a significant impact in creating a way for companies to have high-level conversations with customers.
These changes indicate that our industry isn’t stagnant. We’re growing and changing with the times.
Four big changes.
Four ways the AV industry is changing for the better.
Don’t expect the changes to stop here. Keep refueling and retooling the way you sell, brand, market, and connect — as soon as you’re comfortable, it’s likely to all change again!