Training is invaluable for integrators, and many manufacturers and dealers lean on their local reps for pitching in on this front. It’s especially important to leverage local manufacturer’s reps when getting into a new technology category or market too.
Toward that end, outdoor lighting and audio specialist Coastal Source has seen its training events enjoy fantastic integrator engagement in recent years, and in this episode of the CE Pro Podcast we hear from a manufacturer’s rep that’s hosted several successful trainings along with an integrator that’s gaining momentum in its expanded outdoor portfolio thanks to attending these.
Tim Painter, VP of sales and a Coastal Source rep for Mid-Atlantic region-based NuTech Group, and Michael Wilson, co-owner of Bethesda Systems in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Bethesda, Md., joined me to discuss how executing and attending the unique training events have spurred their outdoor lighting and outdoor audio business.
Great Way to Leverage Manufacturer’s Rep as Resource
“We try to be a full source for our dealers as far as a one-stop shop, we like to have a broad portfolio that tries to encompass all of the segments that they’re going to do on a daily basis – Coastal Source outdoor lighting and audio being one of the hotter categories and outdoor lighting especially being one of the newer segments,” Painter says.
NuTech Group has multiple locations with an office presence in Montgomeryville, Pa., and an experience center in Union Hall, Va.
Bethesda Systems, which has worked its way since starting as a one-man shop in 2003 to a 30-employee, full-service integrator, has garnered ROI from Coastal Source trainings already in the form of five-figure projects being sold by his team’s attendees.
“I think one of the important things about our industry that doesn’t get enough play is the value of this dealer-rep [relationship],” Wilson emphasizes, adding that the tighter the relationship the more value a dealer is likely to receive from it. That includes being introduced to a new category of relationship from his rep, to the landscape builder sector, he adds.
“You start to know and build up a level of trust, like with Tim, and when they recommend something new it’s looked at a little differently than being force-fed from the [vendor]. Plus, it’s really nice to have this layer between us and the manufacturer to provide this level of communication that really is so vital when working with some of these parts.”
Coastal Source Trainings Highlight Real-World Applications
Wilson recalls Painter approaching him a few years ago, and outdoor audio and outdoor lighting intrigued Bethesda Systems as an emerging and fast-growing opportunity that fit well as the luxury smart home continued to expand.
“But the key to anything that’s out there, if you don’t see it, you don’t use it … you really can’t taste it,” he says. “I’ve come to learn as I’ve worked with clients is I’ve never met any lighting designer that knows what looks good just off the top of their head, without actually moving or touching a fixture, and how that works and how it gets designed.”
Wilson describes a couple of Coastal Source trainings in New York and Florida that employed real-world project site lighting to best showcase the various potential use cases, and that NuTech Group brought things similarly together at a more nearby training. Painter walks us through how his firm’s uniquely staged events help the technology hit home.
Hear more from Painter and Wilson by listening, viewing or downloading the CE Pro Podcast above. Find past episodes of the CE Pro Podcast by subscribing to the CE Pro YouTube channel or our Apple and Spotify podcast feeds.