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A Very Jeremy Lesson: Go to Where the Customers Are

Sell speakers at tailgate parties, throw Tupperware parties for security systems, pitch listening rooms at the symphony .... Go out and find your core audience.

Although Jeremy Burkhardt’s bid to buy Soundcast fell through, he left us with a super-creative sales idea: sell products—in this case wireless outdoor speakers—at tailgate parties.

“I am going to equip all of our sales reps with credit card readers on their iPhones and send them to every USC and UCLA football game to sell speakers in the parking lot,” he said. “They will scan the credit card right there. Everyone having a tailgating party is going to want one of these speakers … and why wouldn’t they, especially when they find out they can stream music directly from their phone to the speaker and get high-quality music.”

And remember, the Soundcast Outcast speakers are skinnable, so we can assume that Burkhardt would have stocked up on USC- and UCLA-emblazoned units.

Assuming that tailgate peddling is legal, it’s a genius idea: If the customers aren’t coming to you, go to them.

It’s hardly a novel idea. Vivint has been going door-to-door for years, catching homeowners at the very place they might want a security or automation system.

I’ve had contractors come by the house pointing out dead trees they could remove right then and there. Likewise with industrious students who might shovel snow or mow the lawn when you need it most.

Why aren’t the rest of us going to the customer and selling services on the spot? When a big storm looms (or passes), do you target the area with back-up generators and power protection products? When cinema buffs exit a movie all stoked with adrenaline, do you show them how they can replicate the experience at home? Do you knock on tents the eve of black Friday, peddling headphones and other CE products?

RELATED: We Need Disruptive Business Practices, Not Disruptive Technology

Why isn’t anyone setting up high-performance audio demos at symphony halls and museums – the very place that wealthy, arts-loving clientele might splurge for incredible sound?

I suggested a few months ago the idea of a Tupperware type of business model for home technology.

It would work perfectly in my live/work loft community of hip middle-agers with disposable income.

Take a self-contained security/home automation system from 2Gig or Honeywell that is installed in one of the residences. Have the tenant host an event with wine, cheese and demos. The dealer might offer a 10-percent discount (or a thermostat or something) for any guest who orders a system that night, and maybe a 20-percent discount if more than 15 people sign up. Systems would all be installed within a week … with fewer truck rolls than usual.

The party host would get some kind of incentive or commission.

Think of other products that are simple to install and sell, like Sonos. Could you make a party out of that?

The customers are out there. Go out and get ‘em.

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Article Topics

News · Blogs · Business Resources · Industry Insider · Soundcast Systems · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

6 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Michael Fehmers  on  04/19  at  02:11 PM

This is essentially the new school network marketing model. Sales through gatherings of like minded people.

Posted by Petro  on  04/19  at  04:58 PM

Couldn’t agree more. The Playing field has been leveled and customers have less time and more choices than ever before!

Posted by Ernie Gilman  on  04/19  at  06:03 PM

I just hope he doesn’t set up these speaker sales from white vans!

Posted by 39CentStamp  on  04/20  at  10:27 PM

Ernie beat me to it. Sales pitch will be something like…

“Hey you…over there…the guy with the grill and giant foam #1 finger…i just left another sporting event and i have these extra tailgate iPod speaker docks that ended up in my van by mistake”

Posted by Ira Friedman  on  04/22  at  12:22 PM

Good idea. Wrong magazine.

You are describing a product-centric marketing program, where the product is in search of a market.

CEPro, I should remind you, is a service-centric magazine pushing the value of design, engineering, and service. Products are simply vehicles in the larger schema. How does a tailgate party fit into this strategy?

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  04/22  at  12:42 PM

Thanks for chiming in, Ira. We celebrate making money, and if that means making it on product, then so be it.

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