Are You Speaking Your Client's Language?

Ask Lifestyle Questions...

Asking lifestyle questions is pivotal to your success at this stage of the game. How do they want to actually experience and live in their home? For example, don’t ask “what brand of TV do you want?” Instead, ask “where do you want to watch TV?” “Where do you want to listen to music? “Are you a movie enthusiast? Are you considering a dedicated theater?” What about aesthetics? "Is it okay to see the equipment or do you prefer it all hidden?”

In other words, are you speaking your client's language?



Stop Selling Equipment...

Read it again – stop selling equipment. Historically, the majority of proposals generated by our industry are basically very detailed bill-of-materials. Integrators give much thought to the brand/model of TV, remote, speakers and such. But this usually means little to clients. Think about how this relates to the simultaneous purchase your client may be making – the new house.

If you’re building a house, the builder likely didn’t begin with the brand of concrete needed for the foundation. Rather, he walked you through his model home and said “this is what I can create for you.”

Don’t let your enthusiasm for projector X or control system Y interfere with really listening to your client and leading them to discuss their ideas, expectations and dreams for their new system – as well as any frustrations they’ve experienced with prior systems they’ve owned.

It's OK to Talk About Price...

Looking back at our new home analogy, armed with info from roaming the model home, this builder can quickly qualify you by offering a rough budget to construct your dream home: $150 / square foot or $1000 / square foot? Your answer to the question of budget tells him exactly what kind of home he needs to propose.

Talk about price as you get answers to your questions, and the budget will begin to build itself. The benefit is that if you get “small yes’s” system by system and room by room, then the client realizes how the price tag for his dream system became a half million bucks!

Talk Budget...

You may counter with, “I TRY to discuss budget, but the client is evasive and won’t tell me how much he’s willing to spend”. This may be true, but probably not for the reasons you think. It’s fairly easy to determine home prices in a given market. But not the case for our AV systems industry. Mostly, the client is evasive because he truly has no idea what this stuff costs!

So discuss budget & prices early and often. But not on specific equipment. Instead talk systems or rooms. For example, your client may have expressed an interest in watching movies – so talk about the price ranges of a dedicated theater room. All “snobbery” aside, a theater can be built for $10 – 15k. Conversely, that budget can easily reach the high 6 or 7 figures. Your prospect wants music “throughout the whole house” so discuss typical price ranges for a distributed audio system. You may quickly find that the client who “only wants the best” begins to backtrack when 20 rooms @ $5k per room comes to $100 grand!


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