5 Ways Dealers Can Evolve Business

Buying group changes vendors, rolls out Web templates and asks members dealers to evolve.

Richard Glikes, HTSA executive director
Tom LeBlanc · October 15, 2009

Richard Glikes, executive director of Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA), has some strong words for his 59 member companies.

“Evolve!” is the word that pretty much sums up the advice Glikes offered during the recent “Syncretic Synod” member gathering in St. Louis.

The custom electronics industry is at a crossroads, he pointed out. Companies that bank on profits from product sales will be left in the dust, while companies retooled to thrive with a service model will survive.

“We used to sell one thing to one person and get 40 points. Now we need to get four people [contractors] involved to make 40 points,” Glikes said. “We’re evolving. And we think clients want to deal with one source.”

“You still have some people [company owners] that think they’re TV stores and they have to move away from that model. They need help to get to where they need to be to survive.”

Big Changes, Big Demands

Glikes doesn’t want his words misunderstood. He said his 59 member dealers are the crème of the custom electronics crop — but that doesn’t mean they can sit back.

He also feels the group has the right vendor mix, but he noted some changes to the lineup of vendor partners. HTSA dropped Definitive Technology, Klipsch and Marantz and added:

The decision to drop the companies “really came down to share,” Glikes said. “It’s really a share game now.”

The reshuffling leaves HTSA with 42 vendor partners. The group’s tally of 59 member dealers is down from the 62 it had at the time of its summit in Toronto in October 2008.

Be a General Contractor

The best differentiators HTSA dealers have, according to Glikes, is their ability to design and engineer systems. The next evolutionary step is to leverage those skills and act as a general contractor (GC) for clients, designing, organizing and being the client’s one-and-only contact.

Clients don’t want to deal with multiple sub-contractors, Glikes contended, and CE pros are well-suited to coordinate electricians, HVAC and other contractors.

To transition toward a GC model, “you’ll need people with CAD proficiency and lighting design efficiency” and companies will need to overcome licensing issues, Glikes said.

  About the Author

Tom has been covering consumer electronics for six years. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Now, as senior writer/technology editor of CE Pro magazine since 2003, he dabbles in all departments and offers expertise in marketing. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Tom at

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