Leon Speakers’ Kaplan said his company realized “we were becoming an afterthought with architects and interior designers. We interviewed them after the last CEDIA Expo to learn more about their go-to products and got… radio silence. That made us realize we needed to educate them at the top level. Luxury clients need a proper palette of products to be presented to them,” and one of the best routes is through designers, he averred. “We are also working on getting in on social media. You need to make social media work for you – optimizing searches, making sure people visit you.”
Lyngdorf also underscored the importance of “getting good enough” at social media outreach. He further mentioned the effectiveness of bringing Steinway Lyngdorf’s $200,000 Model D systems to dealer events so that clients can benefit from exposure to high-performance audio gear. “But the best solution is making sure all clients are entirely happy,” offered Lyngdorf, who cited his experience as a dealer in Scandinavia to prove out the success of that philosophy. “We have 79 shops there and we’re selling hi-fi – imagine that! Seventy percent of customers are returning customers and we have 100 percent loyalty once they’re in the door.” Lyngdorf drove home the point that, particularly with audio demonstrations, “the whole thing is exposing people to something that’s consistently good.” He contrasted that selling method with the U.S.’s mostly lackluster big-box-store audio presentations, saying they were akin to “waterboarding” for the ears.
“Dealers need sophisticated, specialty-oriented products that are value-added,” Lenbrook’s Miller said. He also mentioned computer audio as an ideal entry-point for a client discussion about audio, saying his company is now in a collaborative partnership with four other vendors to develop a method to help specialty dealers present it profitably to the iPod/iPad/iPod touch-savvy customer. “There are 300 million iTunes accounts, and there have been 10 billion downloads,” he said. “You have to ride the horse in the direction it’s going. But customers have to be shown that they don’t need to sacrifice quality. They don’t know about lossless downloads. They need education.”