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Author Topic: Integrators selling your product?  (Read 845 times)

Nathan Riddle

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Integrators selling your product?
« on: August 06, 2018, 07:40:18 pm »

How do you other integrators 'sell' your 'product' without being pushy or demeaning to the church yet still conveying the need/value?

Related question:
How do you keep from designing a system and/or submitting a proposal and then they do it themselves?

Background:
I just finished up at a church adding some XLR runs. (The tech director doesn't think they can solder very well. They're a smart person I think they could...but hey work is work, not complaining :) ) They then wanted to tune the room, having no-where else to be I stuck around to see what they do.

The process was convoluted and not systematic as far as I could tell. Setting xover's to ear with a single random song played over and over (not even one we knew very well). Randomly assign slopes. No gain staging just turn the amps/DSP up randomly. No SMAART, just RTA on DBX for the final curve. 1/2 way through we find out the EQ is on, on the channel. Eyeball the delay settings. Etc. Very hap-hazard.

In the end, they say "I love this (tuning rooms) more than anything else in audio."
Great person, great heart, just very simple in their understanding of sound system tuning.

I can't just say I can do it better, pay me. Because it's their 'thing' the thing they love to do. How might someone explain their 'product' (in this case, system tuning) to someone like that without hurting them?

I don't want to sacrifice love/grace for truth. I want to wield both equally.

Additionally:
I talked over a lighting system with this church (whom I have a rapport with the pastor and staff at some capacity) and they never responded. I then showed up today and they had done exactly what I suggested. I know their budget is low, but that just hit me kinda hard.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 12:27:48 pm by Nathan Riddle »
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eric lenasbunt

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Re: Integrators selling your product?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2018, 08:17:08 pm »

Simply put Nathan, whether intentional or more likely just not thoughtful, this church has no respect for your time. I have had this happen a lot over the years. A church ask for a bunch of quotes and then ends up buying online and DIY’ing. They could at least offer a design fee IMO. But, no hard feelings. I just started charging a consultation fee to come out and do a real basic design and narrative suggestion. Then I accompany that consultation report with a quote. Then, if they choose to shop it fine, if they choose to DIY, whatever, etc. I don’t charge a ton, but a couple hundred bucks. Makes it worth my time and also weeds out the not serious folks and people who don’t value your time.
Now if it’s just a simple “you need 6 pars across the front” I may not charge, but I have found we waste a LOT less time and close a lot more sales since we took the posture that our time is valuable and our price is professional. If you want the fly by night guy go for it, they’ll call me in 5 years when nothing works right and they are fed up anyway.

On the tuning side that is a lost cause situation. Unless you are willing to just for fun get the Smaart rig out and geek out with him and show him how it’s really done than this guy is so clueless there’s no healthy way to go there IMO.
I might consider this if I thought it would earn $100k renovation project or something, but it doesn’t sound like this is that client on multiple levels.


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MikeHarris

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Re: Integrators selling your product?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2018, 03:50:32 am »

I find that you need to start with the DBX and endeavor to teach them just because it performs this function it is sonically not suitable for a professional audio system. Bring in an alternative and tell them to 'step back'
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Integrators selling your product?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2018, 12:38:29 pm »

Simply put Nathan, whether intentional or more likely just not thoughtful, this church has no respect for your time.

I have had this happen a lot over the years. A church ask for a bunch of quotes and then ends up buying online and DIY’ing. They could at least offer a design fee IMO. But, no hard feelings.

I just started charging a consultation fee to come out and do a real basic design and narrative suggestion. Then I accompany that consultation report with a quote. Then, if they choose to shop it fine, if they choose to DIY, whatever, etc. I don’t charge a ton, but a couple hundred bucks. Makes it worth my time and also weeds out the not serious folks and people who don’t value your time.

Now if it’s just a simple “you need 6 pars across the front” I may not charge, but I have found we waste a LOT less time and close a lot more sales since we took the posture that our time is valuable and our price is professional. If you want the fly by night guy go for it, they’ll call me in 5 years when nothing works right and they are fed up anyway.

On the tuning side that is a lost cause situation. Unless you are willing to just for fun get the Smaart rig out and geek out with him and show him how it’s really done than this guy is so clueless there’s no healthy way to go there IMO.

I might consider this if I thought it would earn $100k renovation project or something, but it doesn’t sound like this is that client on multiple levels.

Well put. I think I was just a little hurt about it all. But I'll quickly get over it.

I generally agree with the less wasted time & more deals closed attitude. The one time I did a paid demo I sold them the system. The other times... meh who knows?

----

I tried to talk a little about how RTA is time blind and isn't very accurate. Just didn't go over very well. given the: "I get great results all the time doing it by ear" attitude.

I like how Luke Geis puts it:
I am not stuck on the whole " I play this song and I know it so well " that I can tune a PA to it mantra. If it sounds right it is right, doesn't matter what song it is or how well you know it. That being said I do listen to a variety of songs in which I am well aware of the genre and expected sonic content. Any modern pop song will pretty much give you a good idea of where you are sitting though. My feeling is that there is always an idea of what your favorite song should sound like. Familiar with it or not, it does not make your PA tunes any more consistent. If you really need consistency and bias confirmation, you have to resort to Smaart or some other tuning software.

I find that you need to start with the DBX and endeavor to teach them just because it performs this function it is sonically not suitable for a professional audio system. Bring in an alternative and tell them to 'step back'

There's a part of me that wants to do this, but I'm not so sure we can convince/dissuade people from their preconceived notions by calling them out. Seems people are stubborn...

I kinda want to go over their head...
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Integrators selling your product?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2018, 06:25:25 pm »

I kinda want to go over their head...

... so call God to come and sort it out for you??

In regards to "I do this all the time like this" attitude-- well, it's going to be difficult to overcome that point of view. But, stay in touch with them. Ask one of your good clients to call them. "I overheard our AV guy, Nathan, mention that he's working on a project for you. Let me tell you! You cannot go wrong with him! He saved us fives and tens of dollars on our last project, and we're SO thankful for his work!"

[Yeah, I know, sucks asking people to lie about you...  ;) ;D ]

But really, make sure they hear "around" that you know your stuff and that you're worth every dollar.

-Ray
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Integrators selling your product?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2018, 01:06:34 pm »

... so call God to come and sort it out for you??

You know...I could throw some scripture on them (literally) :P

In regards to "I do this all the time like this" attitude-- well, it's going to be difficult to overcome that point of view. But, stay in touch with them. Ask one of your good clients to call them. "I overheard our AV guy, Nathan, mention that he's working on a project for you. Let me tell you! You cannot go wrong with him! He saved us fives and tens of dollars on our last project, and we're SO thankful for his work!"

[Yeah, I know, sucks asking people to lie about you...  ;) ;D ]

But really, make sure they hear "around" that you know your stuff and that you're worth every dollar.

-Ray

This is gold, great idea for good clean salesmanship. Thanks!

---

So this just happened. Is this a real thing?

I cross posted this topic to the CSMT Professionals group (where integrators lurk) apparently one of the members asks for the cost of the equipment (not the price=their quote), but the integrators cost of parts. They say they want to know the markup and wouldn't buy from a company without knowing the cost and price and markup.

I was/am incredulous and left a rather pointed reply.
Why would anyone want/need that info?
What retailer would give their customer that info?
/confused  ??? ???

Person:
Quote
As Tech Director at a church, I would never contract a job to anyone without knowing exactly what equipment they plan to install, what the equipment actually costs and what the markup is.

Me:
Quote
how would you determine the markup?

Person:
Quote
I determine markup by getting cost on the items. If I know what you paid and what I'm paying then I know the exact markup.

Other person:
Quote
Authorized dealers are often not allowed to give you their “cost” numbers. It violates their dealership agreement with the manufacturer.

Person:
Quote
And in that case I get as much as they are able to give.

Me:
Quote
So you're saying you'd ask me what my cost is and what your price is to calculate my markup? What on earth...? Who does that to a retailer?

"How much for a muffin?"
"$3"
"And how much does it cost you to make it?"
"Uh excuse me??"
"You heard, me how much does your muffin cost .50 or .25?"
"Enough to pay the bills, put some in savings, and pay my employees... Also, none of your beeswax."

Person:
Quote
Your response would be the reason you dont earn the business.


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Ray Aberle

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Re: Integrators selling your product?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2018, 05:05:15 pm »

3
So this just happened. Is this a real thing?

I cross posted this topic to the CSMT Professionals group (where integrators lurk) apparently one of the members asks for the cost of the equipment (not the price=their quote), but the integrators cost of parts. They say they want to know the markup and wouldn't buy from a company without knowing the cost and price and markup.

I was/am incredulous and left a rather pointed reply.
Why would anyone want/need that info?
What retailer would give their customer that info?
/confused  ??? ???
Absolutely.

Do Not.

Give out your Cost.

There is no reason for a customer to have your COGS, if for no other reason than it means nothing.

Really. That's the Cost of My Goods -- but that doesn't take into consideration:
- Warranty coverage (cost to help with any warranty problems)
- CODB -- it takes money to maintain a business
- "Freebies" -- shit I throw in to make the sale
- And yes, Profit.

But, but "why do you want to make a profit??!?"

Lemme just tell you that for SOME REASON my mortgage company wants, ya know, REAL MONEY every month. They're not happy with "Oh, well, I cut this group a great deal." They want fives and tens of dollars. Speaking of which, I should probably mail that check now. Ack!

And furthermore-- if I don't make a profit, well, then I won't be able to continue giving you good deals moving forward. And to be candid: this is my main point I make. "I know that I am charging your non-profit money. But, you're ALSO getting top of the line cutting-edge gear. If I don't make money, I cannot afford to continue to upgrade to the best gear possible."

-Ray
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Integrators selling your product?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2018, 07:12:23 pm »

You know...I could throw some scripture on them (literally)

This is gold, great idea for good clean salesmanship. Thanks!

---

So this just happened. Is this a real thing?

I cross posted this topic to the CSMT Professionals group (where integrators lurk) apparently one of the members asks for the cost of the equipment (not the price=their quote), but the integrators cost of parts. They say they want to know the markup and wouldn't buy from a company without knowing the cost and price and markup.

I was/am incredulous and left a rather pointed reply.
Why would anyone want/need that info?
What retailer would give their customer that info?
/confused  ??? ???

Person:
Me:
Person:
Other person:
Person:
Me:
Person:
That is very rare.

Here's a sample response- "Sorry, I choose to abide by the dealer agreement I signed, I can't give out that info.  Is there a set mark-up limit you have in mind?  I'm willing to do a 'not to exceed' percentage for this project, where each item is marked up a varying amount up to but not over our agreed amount.  This ensures you're getting a more than fair deal without me breaking my word.  Is this fair and earn your business?"

Those types of clients have red flags all over, and are easy to walk away from. 

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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Integrators selling your product?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2018, 01:44:58 am »

You know...I could throw some scripture on them (literally) :P

This is gold, great idea for good clean salesmanship. Thanks!

---

So this just happened. Is this a real thing?

I cross posted this topic to the CSMT Professionals group (where integrators lurk) apparently one of the members asks for the cost of the equipment (not the price=their quote), but the integrators cost of parts. They say they want to know the markup and wouldn't buy from a company without knowing the cost and price and markup.

I was/am incredulous and left a rather pointed reply.
Why would anyone want/need that info?
What retailer would give their customer that info?
/confused  ??? ???

Person:
Me:
Person:
Other person:
Person:
Me:
Person:

Nate, why do you consider to concern yourself with assholes?  Who would want that person as a customer?  I can't imagine how they would treat me after the sale.

There are so many wonderful customers who understand their vendors are partners and treat them as such.  Seek out those relationships.

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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Integrators selling your product?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2018, 08:03:18 am »

That is very rare.

Those types of clients have red flags all over, and are easy to walk away from. 

But it does happen...?

I Don't Even..

Nate, why do you consider to concern yourself with assholes?  Who would want that person as a customer?  I can't imagine how they would treat me after the sale.

There are so many wonderful customers who understand their vendors are partners and treat them as such.  Seek out those relationships.

I would prefer 'Nathan' thanks.

Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment?

But in all honesty, I set the price for my work (XLR termination) and I got paid for it. I was/am happy with that part.

I just know that y'all have more experience dealing with these kinds of situations (hap-hazard tuning & stolen ideas), so I know I can grow and learn from these situations.

The person on FB... I have no idea. They say they were an integrator and now are a tech director. Why they have the idea that an integrator/retailer should give them their COGS I have no idea. That's an outlier. I wouldn't deal with them as far as I can throw them.
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