Is education for distributors significant for our industry? “Selling is transference of feeling.” Not sure how many of you know that statement, but it comes from sales trainer extraordinaire and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. Ziglar’s quote is one of the most powerful statements in the art of selling. The idea is for a salesperson to learn how to sell his product as if he wore the product like it was his own shirt. Use it, wear it, and experience it as the customer would after buying it.
Driving your car is very similar; you tend to know how it responds at any moment as if it was part of you. When it comes to sales, many distributors in the home integration channel still have not necessarily taken the time to master the art of selling from within their gut … that “feeling of ownership.”
Like any other test and measurement firm, the staff at DPL Labs experiences that “feeling of ownership” because the equipment we buy is so highly specialized and unique. A certain level of talent is required that can “transfer that feeling” not only from a technical standpoint but also from its return on investment.
The people who facilitate this are called FAEs (field application engineers), and they have to know this stuff backwards and forwards. Some are better than others, but overall they are quite effective.
The Importance of Well-Rounded Distributors
Is our industry beginning to move in this highly specialized direction? Is the complexity of all the goodies we sell and work with just getting a bit too technical where the need for a distributor to have what I call a SAS (sales application specialist) should become the norm?
Some may argue that point; however, there are plenty of salespeople who work hard to stay on top of everything including inventory, networking, and of course the products they offer to customers.
Indeed, it is becoming more commonplace for manufacturers to send their sales and support staff for generalized, one-on-one hands-on technical training on important technology categories, like HDMI.
This type of training is different from specific product education, which becomes somewhat biased toward the product being trained to use. Instead, it is about the technology, using talents, tools and test equipment as a vehicle to comprehend and expand their minds.
These manufacturer sales staffs are doing it because they have the drive and motivation to be more competitive in both their products and the technical knowledge to support it.
What about the next level in the supply chain, the distributors?
Well-rounded distributors will host training sessions for dealers to become familiar with new A/V, automation and networking products in their portfolio; HDMI, especially with the changes in Rev 2.1, likely requires extra attention.
It’s been slow going, but for those distributors that do take that extra effort in servicing their accounts, utilizing these educational advantages can put them in that SAS level of service at the distributor level.
It is a major move on their part. It’s the beginning of a new breed of distribution and it will provide a huge boost for all in the field of custom integration.
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