In 1973, Dirty Harry bluntly stated, “A good man always knows his limitations”. If Dirty Harry were and AV Pro today he might add: A good AV Pro always has an edge. A good AV Pro always has a plan. A good AV pro always has a reference.
These pearls of wisdom are easy to state but involve hard work. As my brother often opines, “This is not a spectator sport.” If your aim is to stay in this game, you have to make the effort.
Start with an assessment of your limitations. Take an honest inventory of your audio/video knowledge, installation expertise, salesmanship, and command of management.
Identify limiting holes in your audio/video knowledge. This task is as clear as the scotopic state of vision versus the photopic state. If your mind glazed over the last sentence, then you have a hole. This is not a make or break limitation. But if you don’t know, you don’t know. Use my website table of contents as a check list of probable holes. The more you know, the less you can be snowed.
Don’t shoot me for what I am about to state. There may be holes in your installation skills. Humor me for a couple of paragraphs. Check out sources such as CEDIA or CE Pro. They discuss the wide range of skills used in audio and video. Make a list. Give recognition to what you can and cannot do.
Now as the classic baseball cliche states; “Stay within yourself”. This simply means; Do what you do best. You can still fill holes with training. But walk away from what you can’t do.
What makes you think you can sell? Did you respond, “What makes you think I can’t?” If you did, you may move to the head of the class.
Have you ever recognized a glazed look in a customer’s eyes as you spoke. In their mind, you were speaking Greek. If you answered, “Never”, you are not paying attention.
Do you hesitate to ask for your customer’s money? This is a classic limitation for many. It must be overcome if you’re going to pass the class. Even if you think you can sell, go to Chapter 9 of my Handbook for a review. Think of it as batting practice.
Which assesses financial capacity best, the P&L or balance sheet? The answer is the balance sheet. Do you know why?
Now think ‘Money Ball’: Do you collect stats? Relevant stats, with proper interpretation, lead to more efficient successful decisions that produce a healthier P&L and balance sheet.
How is marketing advertising but advertising not marketing? Answers to this, the above, and more lie in Chapter 10 at my website.
Limitations set the boundary on business growth. Acknowledging your boundary limits is an important step towards avoiding unnecessary work, averting financial loss, and minimizing mental stress. And you will, because you’re a good AV Pro: Right?
The Cutting Edge
An AV Pro always has an edge. However, holed up in your daily grind, you may not be aware of how good you might be. So take time to visit ‘big boxes’ and legitimate competitors. Take a survey of their knowledge, salesmanship, installation services, product mix, pricing, location, and promotional activities.
Given you’re a reader of this blog; You should walk away feeling pretty good about your expertise and professionalism. This should be followed by a humbling thought. Your appraisal may not necessarily be about how good you are. It might be more about how poor they are.
In either case, establish a summary of what you do better. Sharpen these edges with continued practice and training. Then prepare to exploit your competitive edge.
An AV Pro always has a plan that tackles fundamental questions such as:
– Where do you want to go personally and financially?
– How do you get there from where you are?
This plan maps a course, a strategy, that takes aim at fulfilling a customer want or need. The plan specifies the tactical tools to make it happen. The plan also confronts your limitations, while exploiting your competitive edge. Chapter 10 of my Handbook offers more insight on this subject.
References & why you should care
An AV Pro always has references. Not the type listed on a resume. I’m speaking about reference points of high end audio/video performance. These are references that define how good an AV system can perform in a perfect audio/video world.
But customers rarely live in a perfect environment that allows for perfect performance. So why should you care? The answer is credibility, and credibility sells.
Speakers stuck in a ceiling cannot deliver high fidelity audio. They can still sound good, but it’s not high fidelity. If your prospective customer know this. Yet you claim it is. Then you will ‘blow’ your credibility and the sale. It’s that simple.
On the other hand, if you establish in a clients mind how a perfect system lays out in a perfect world. Add, they don’t live in a perfect world. Yet, propose they should still strive towards perfection. Then, describe how you will squeeze more performance from their room environment, desired room aesthetic, and budget. You will establish your credibility, close more sales, and sell better AV systems.
In this spirit of better, get out of your routine and listen to some audiophile systems. In addition, seek demonstrations of the best in home video reproduction. Even if you don’t sell the ‘highest end’ product, use these references to choose the product you do offer. Offering ‘sizable chunks’ of the references, can build a reputation that you offer more for your customer’s money: that’s value. Value sells.
The Final Dirt
If Dirty Harry were an AV Pro could you ‘kick his fictional butt’? I say yes. You are a living breathing AV Pro who plans to stay within acknowledged limitations, recognize references, and exploit your competitive edge; Right?
Visit my website @ edsavhandbook.com
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