Have you ever stopped to consider what the current relationship with your rep looks like? Have you asked yourself if they are a valuable asset to your business? Perhaps you have become conditioned by calls that are only returned the last 6 days of the month asking for orders, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The future of the A/V rep is bright, and reps have the capability to be extremely useful for dealers & manufacturers alike, but it’s up to integrators to ask the right questions. Here are four questions I find really help get a conversation started:
#1: Does the Rep agency presently have a go-to-market strategy?
AV has become quite common in a commercial setting or what is often referred to today as “Resimercial”. This is one of the largest areas of growth within our industry, imagine the benefit of having a rep that already has visibility of these projects oftentimes weeks, months, or even years before the project has started coming out of the ground.
#2: Does the Rep agency have an effective demand creation strategy through specific community outreach?
This may be common knowledge for some, but if you are not already interfacing with some of these industry professionals, we recommend you start this afternoon. No, seriously.
How many times have you come into a project after it was already well underway? The wire is pulled, junction boxes mounted, maybe 1 category cable pulled to the office, and a stub out for the demarcation. What if your rep could help you mitigate the amount of those uncomfortable scenarios? Better yet, imagine a world where you have been included in the design phase from the beginning of the project as opposed to after the fact. AV reps can definitely help with that!
#2: Does the agency display diversification within their portfolio?
More to the point, if the agency does show a diverse portfolio, has the rep agency invested in the training associated with staffing accordingly to effectively support this diversification?
As AV dealers, upselling is in our DNA. Much like there are a plethora of options at various price points for in-ceiling speakers, the same exists for categories like lighting. The key difference being there are far more lights in a project than there are speakers. Also, not unique to speakers is the amount of technical wherewithal associated with specifying lighting where do you go to get education, training, and support?
#4: Does the agency add value by providing quick access to a brick & mortar?
As a dealer, having your own showroom is expensive, having it permanently staffed with technical sales professionals even more expensive. Add in the costs associated with providing a training environment for your staff, specifiers, or end-users, and this can be a daunting thought. What if your rep could help provide one or the other or even both? Be sure to ask!
Naturally, correlations exist between all of these questions and they all lead here, in that we feel the future of the AV rep isn’t exactly being an AV rep in the traditional sense at all. Who knows what nomenclature will be associated with this in the future regardless of if we’re speaking to AV, lighting or design.
At Convergence, we focus on adding value to all our industry partners mutually by providing access to quality products, skillfully crafted solutions and accredited training, but it’s important to try and find a rep that works for you and fits the services you find important!
Matt Selecman is vice president of AV Residential at Convergence, an AV representative group for the Kansas and Western Missouri area.
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