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How to Sell (and Adequately Charge for) Acoustics

Industry leaders share their strategies on how to make the most out of acoustics sales.


Follow these strategies to make money selling acoustics.
CE Pro Editors · May 12, 2014

Unlike video calibration, which consumers can see and quantify, the implementation of room treatments and EQ as solutions that are required in order to produce quality sound tend to be much more subjective.

Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA) founder Gerry Lemay recommends that dealers handle acoustics in the same manner they would handle video, audio and other solutions that must be experienced to be appreciated.

“The story hasn’t changed in 50 years — dealers have to demonstrate high performance in their showroom or at a recent client home,” he advises. “If a hardened veteran integrator can come to the HAA class and be blown away by the sound quality, imagine what this can do to a client. Honestly, three-dimensional imaging, smooth, amazing bass and electric realism make upselling high-performance audio easy.”

These elements don’t come straight out of the box. They must be added to the system by a skilled installer with the proper training he says.

Consequently, because of the investment of training, tools and subsequent labor, PMI Engineering and MSR Acoustics president Anthony Grimani says it is imperative for dealers to be fairly compensated for their acoustical services. He says dealers should always include their audio calibration efforts into client bids.

“Dealers should definitely always include services and products for proper integration and tailoring of audio systems and rooms they work in. This includes engineering services, acoustical treatment packages, equalization products and equalization/voicing services,” he says.

“If the dealer doesn’t know how to perform these services, they can be farmed out to consultants that specialize in this work. Dealers can and should make a management fee with about 10 percent to 20 percent margin on this work. Dealers should present this to their clients as the only way to ensure proper return on their investment for this gear.”

Related: More Audio News from CE Pro

Grimani claims that a client investment into a carefully selected array of room treatments and the judicious use of EQ will deliver far better performance than just the purchase of expensive equipment.

“Audiophiles and videophiles are often obsessed by equipment, and some dealers are more than happy to cater to that obsession,” says Grimani. “In the end, systems are often hooked up incorrectly and are placed in rooms with acoustical issues so profound that the performance is hardly better than a basic home theater in box (HTiB). It is a much better strategy to assign 10 percent of the total budget from acoustical tuning materials and another 5 to 10 percent for the consulting engineer.

“If the budget is fixed, find a way to shave 10 to 15 percent off the electronics, speakers and wiring budget and reassign that to the acoustics. You will double your sound quality for a small investment in taming the room and tailoring the speakers to the room response.”



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