Commercial Integrator March 2022 - 10

AV BRAINS & BRAWN
The Need for Change in Our Approach to Sales
Battling back against commoditization and the appearance of parity. By Alan C. Brawn
I'M SURE THAT ALL OF US HAVE heard
the phrase, " The only constant is change. "
As we enter a new year and reflect on the
last few years that have passed, we can't
fail to see that change has certainly been
constant. And, no matter how unsettling
it may have been, we must deal with it.
Change rarely goes away on its own. If we
choose to ignore it, we do so at our own
peril (both personally and professionally).
As disconcerting as change can be,
change need not be an unwelcome thing.
Historically, when change has come, so,
too, has opportunity. But we need to be
willing to open our minds to what those
opportunities might be. Intransigent
positions are limiting, and paradigm shifts
need to be considered to take advantage
of changes.
In the not-too-distant past, we in the
AV industry experienced an evolutionary
change from analog to digital technology.
Our displays have radically changed. Our
video and post-production, as well as
our signal distribution and control, have
evolved. This comes among a myriad of
other technological advances that have
ultimately changed - and changed for
the better. For society writ large, the most
existence-altering changes we have experienced
over the last two-plus decades
surround the internet and its creation of a
new, virtual world residing increasingly in
the proverbial cloud.
Fueling the Change
The availability of information (i.e., big
data), along with connectivity to a wealth
of acquired knowledge, is fueling this
change. We increasingly have this capability
anywhere, any time, on any device.
This, coupled with the ability to collaborate
instantaneously (think IoT and UC&C), is the
practical application of change and growth.
Let's face it: Information is now available at
a scale our forefathers never dreamed of.
This has not only changed the technologies
we use but also - just as importantly for our
10
Commercial Integrator MARCH 2022
purposes - changed the way our technologies
are bought and sold.
Every year at trade shows (e.g.,
InfoComm, NAB, CES, CEDIA, etc.), we
celebrate variations in applications of AV,
IT and digital signage technologies. For
decades, we have focused on the technical
" toolbox " for AV integrators. While this
is certainly still relevant, we have left out
the other parts of the equation - namely,
sales and the buyer relationship that it
represents.
In the world of AV, it is all about the
buyers. Today, as never before, the buyers
have access to an enormous amount of
information, and they possess that information
long before they make a buying decision.
They have internal discussions with an
increasing number of stakeholders in their
company before they decide to buy, and
they may or may not reach out to seek the
advice of a salesperson. Research shows
that as much as 90% of a buying decision
occurs before a salesperson is involved!
This brings to the forefront one of the
most daunting challenges we face -
namely, commoditization and the appearance
of parity. To the casual observer, a
display is a display, and a mount is a mount.
But, as we all know, appearances can
be deceiving, and that means mistakes
can (and will) be made. It's rare for clear
differentiation to be presented online. And
if there's no salesperson to do a proper
needs analysis and assessment of product
appropriateness, there's little opportunity
to make the case for differentiation.
'Do I Feel Lucky?'
If the buyer is looking at a major brand that
looks (to them) identical to another major
brand, the inclination is just to buy the one
that's available at the lowest price. Now
consider if the major brand looks identical
to one that is not well known, but whose
specs look the same and whose online
reviews are excellent. The key concept
here is to understand the actual need of
the buyer and comprehend the benefits of
differentiation for both buyers and sellers.
Absent this, the old " Dirty Harry " movie
quote applies: " Do I feel lucky? "
Given the new market realities and the
changes in buyer behavior and processes,
suffice it to say that the role of the salesperson
has also changed. It is no longer
commercialintegrator.com
Today, the buyer requires more to decide in your favor. That " more " comes down
to differentiation.
JOYFOTOLIAKID/STOCK.ADOBE.COM
http://www.commercialintegrator.com

Commercial Integrator March 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator March 2022

Commercial Integrator March 2022 - Cover1
Commercial Integrator March 2022 - Cover2
Commercial Integrator March 2022 - 1
Commercial Integrator March 2022 - 2
Commercial Integrator March 2022 - 3
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Commercial Integrator March 2022 - Cover3
Commercial Integrator March 2022 - Cover4
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