Inside Meridian’s NYC Showroom, Reference Theater
Meridian encourages dealers to leverage the reference home theater, 10-megapixel projection system in its new New York offices for selling to high-profile clients.
So dealers can come to Meridian instead, and the company’s showroom and its team members assist with the sales pitch. Integrators from as far away as Florida and Texas have brought their all-star clientele to New York to have a seat in the reference theater. “The dealer can book an appointment with us and accompany the client, but we do the presentation,” says Forsythe.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a Manhattan dealer looking to send a client over to test out a set of DSP8000s, or if it’s an A-lister that’s flown in and given the red carpet treatment. “We have some clients that just come here and play PlayStation 3 for an hour,” Forsythe says.
Wellikoff adds that because of the stature of some potential clients, Meridian takes extra care in making special arrangements - perhaps one of the reasons the company won the platinum honor for customer service in our first-ever readers’ choice Quest for Quality Awards.
“If clients are extra high profile, they can be flown into New Jersey on a private aircraft, with a limo service to take them to New York, in through the back door with security detail, and up the freight elevator to our office,” he explains. Not surprisingly, Wellikoff says Meridian is scouting locations in Beverly Hills for a second showroom.
Meridian will also take measures to go the opposite route if clients don’t want to go to New York. “We’ll go to their homes, which is a solid two or two-and-a-half day commitment, and we bring the 810, the 8000s, even the screen which we don’t even make, and leave it there for 24 hours,” says Wellikoff, who adds that “at the end of the day, we always go through the dealer” on that sort of deal.
It’s part of what Wellikoff calls the company’s “out-of-the-box selling” program that encompasses every aspect of the sales process, something he has helped overhaul during his tenure as CEO. He says that critical decisions included dramatically reducing both distribution and product lines, both by 50 percent, to focus on more of a “systems approach” in a down economy. He says business actually grew 14 percent in 2010; Forsythe adds that from June 2009 to June 2010 Meridian has averaged one 810 reference video projector sale per month (in some cases as part of a full system, in others as a projector upgrade).
To keep pace in the luxury market, Wellikoff adds, the company has hired staff members that bring such cache to their positions. New marketing and communications manager Holly Wesslhoft and sales administrator Jessica Winarski, for example, previously worked for De Beers and Harry Winston, respectively.
Another out-of-the-box pitch includes the Meridian Select 250 custom color choices available for loudspeakers, of which about 10 percent are sold with, says Forsythe. It’s such a wide variety that even Wellikoff jokes, “no matter how good or bad your taste is, we can offer it.”
So how is the Meridian Digital Theater demo? It’s certainly worth the price of admission, and will give your clients an experience that blows away that of a commercial theater. Forsythe enthusiastically walked me through some scenes from two animated films, How to Train Your Dragon and A Christmas Carol.