Install Now Custom Commitment
Demo deals let retailers buy floor models at a lower price, so they can be discounted when the next new models come in. Those deals don't work for CI companies, especially not the silly one-up and two-back kind. But what does work is a program that supports technical evaluation. Like "try it for 30 days and buy it for 20 off." CI dealers don't have the traffic to flog the dogs. They need a low-cost way to find out if new products will work in the systems they're designing before they spec them in. And they need plenty of warning before the products they have on display are turned into boat anchors.
Fundamental to the CI business is the notion of selling a system, not a bunch of electronic boxes. This double-edged sword can help CI dealers carve out a clear, differentiated position in the retail landscape. But it can just as easily cut project profit to the bone. When a custom system goes down, it doesn't matter to the customer that the source of the problem with his 100-grand system is a $100 component. His perspective is that he spent a ton of money and the damn thing doesn't work. It's not about the parts; it's about the whole. Suppliers who see their responsibility as limited to the part that went wrong fail to grasp the magnitude of the problem. From the customer's perspective every problem with his system is a 100-grand problem!
A CI sale really takes place in the customer's home, not in the store or the showroom. When problems arise, the customer expects the dealer to come to him to solve them, rather than bringing the problem back to the dealer. It's remarkably easy for a CI dealer to lose more money fixing a problem than the revenue he earned from selling the piece in the first place. Underscoring the point: impeccable quality and enlightened service policies are worth more to a CI dealer than a volume incentive. The money we can lose on a bad product or supplier is greater than the rebate we can earn. Suppliers and manufacturers who don't organize their companies around truths should not be surprised by their lack of success in the channel.