8 Home Theater ‘Accessory’ Sales Tips

Racks, mounts, seating and furniture are key profit-makers for integrators. Here are 8 tips on how to sell them.

8 Home Theater ‘Accessory’ Sales Tips
For ideal listening, a media room should have low-back chairs with cloth upholstery.
CE Pro Editors · February 20, 2013

Racks, mounts, seating and furniture are key profit-makers for integrators; thus, these “accessory” products need to be at the forefront of integrators’ businesses.

In general, the vital nature and value of these products in the creation of a home theater must be expressed for your clients to understand why they need to buy them from you. Some are easy to explain, i.e., a flat panel TV can’t be put on the wall without a mount. Others require more detailed discussion.

Either way, here are eight tips for selling them.

Seat Back Heights Need to be Low

According to Gerry Lemay, founder of the Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA), media room chairs with backs that are too high is the number one mistake made by homeowners. “If they [the homeowners] have surround sound, they have speakers all around them. Even professionally designed seating doesn’t take surround sound into account. You can still have a comfortable seat that supports your head and your ears above the chair back.”

Seat Fabric Should be Cloth

According to Lemay, while leather may be a popular choice for seating material, its reflective nature is not ideal for a media room. He advises dealers guide clients toward cloth.

Don’t Sell Too Many Seats

It sounds counter-intuitive, but putting too many seating positions in a media room or even a great room can negatively affect the listening and viewing experience for everyone, resulting in a dissatisfied client who won’t buy from you again.

Mount Weight + TV Weight = Total Capacity

When selecting the proper mount for the desired flat panel, don’t forget the weight of the mount must also be included in your calculations … not just the weight of the TV alone. Many times integrators forget that and end up spec’ing the wrong mount for the client. If the mount just barely covers the total weight capacity of the TV, the odds are it is insufficient to handle the total weight of the mount + the TV.

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Don’t Sell a System without a Rack

The rack is the “nerve center” of a home theater installation. Without it, you don’t have the building block that the entire system is based upon. Simply insist to the homeowner that you don’t install any flat panels, audio components, home networks, etc. without a rack. Build it into the infrastructure cost of your proposal.

Maintain Ventilation Requirements

For both racks and mounted flat panels, ventilation is necessary. Educate your clients that overheated components will fail. A flat panel recessed into a niche must maintain 2 inches of clearance all the way around to keep proper ventilation. Without that two inches, you are creating an oven behind the TV that could eventually lead to a fire.

Soundbars Create Furniture Options

The disappearance of bookshelf speakers in favor of an audio soundbar does not mean integrators have lost an opportunity to sell A/V furniture. Indeed, a table-stand flat panel needs a cabinet to rest on. Granted, only 12 percent of integrators’ flat panel installations are tablestand, but that means there is a greater opportunity to sell profitable A/V furniture in a table-stand setup.

Use Movie Theater Seating Question as Gauge

One fast way to determine if your customer is interested in purchasing seating from you is to ask: “Where do you prefer to sit when you go to a commercial movie theater?” By simply asking the question, you have introduced media room/Great Room seating options into your sales discussion with your client. Depending on the answer, it will help design the room by giving you a gauge of the size and location of where seats should be placed based on the desired viewing angle.

“Most of the standards for viewing angle and seating distances were developed for the last row of the commercial movie theater as the so-called (albeit debatable) money seat (and long before the advent of 1080p),” according to John Caldwell of Motif Grace distribution. “You may see formulas that range from 1.3 to 2 times the screen width for minimum seating distance. These are good examples of viewing formulas that were developed in the last century. One useful formula is to take seating distance at 0.90 for those who like to sit in the middle third of their commercial movie theater and at 1.0 for those who like to sit in the first third of the commercial movie theater.”

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