21 Lessons Learned From the Residential Integrator School
Distributor Home Controls schools integrators with sales tips.
But that's just what I did, along with nearly 20 integrators, to take Home Controls Inc.'s Residential Integrator School (RIS).
The training is run by distributor Home Controls and integrator AVD Media, and the four days had a special focus on equipment from Home Automation Inc. (HAI).
The course is broken up into two distinct segments: the first two days are sales and marketing training and the last two days are hands-on installation and programming training.
The first two days are taught by Roland Graham of AVD Media, and the last two days are taught by Bobby Kalua of AVD Media. Thomas Pickral of HAI was also in attendance as were several HCI staff members.
The group also got a private tour of Home Controls new facility, just a mile away. Ken Kerr, president of Home Controls, and Brian Callan, head of the Connect Home dealer group, gave the tour and offered insights into the fulfillment process at the distribution company.
Graham spent two days offering specific sales advice. He believes that the primary motivation for purchasing A/V equipment is emotional, not intellectual.
According to Graham, nearly every customer (96 percent) is willing to pay more money for a product that is emotionally important to him.
Indeed, 46 percent are willing to spend as much as they can for a product in a specific category. He cited Starbucks, Victoria's Secret and other brands as evidence.
Graham lumps buying motivation triggers into four areas:
- Taking care of me (stress relief, comfort)
- Connecting (family, love, sex)
- Questing (wanting to take an adventure)
- Individual style (dreaming big)
He also cited research that emotional intelligence is significantly more important than technical expertise. Also, the "higher" you go in the organization, the more important emotions are.
According to Communication World, emotional skills represent 90 percent of what makes "a leader."
Finally, three out of every four homeowners report that spending on their home makes them feel "happy," he says. About 70 percent say it makes them feel "safe."
Other emotions include successful, confident, accomplished and smart.
"Sales is not about cajoling people into buying," says Graham. "It's about enabling and educating the customer to make a wise decision."
He cites real estate agents as good representatives of this sales technique. They very rarely try to strong-arm a prospect into buying a home.
He also strongly recommends that all dealers use good/better/best sales packages, and that dealers always learn from their failures by following up with lost customers.
The second few days of the event are hands-on training. Attendees got to first design the layout of a structured wiring enclosure, then program an HAI OmniPro II panel for security, lighting, HVAC and control.
Many of the attendees were new to the industry, from either the telecom or IT industries. Of course, yours truly was also there ... proving that with great instruction, you can learn anything!