More Training Leads to More Sales
Comprehensive dealer training has also helped to close higher-ticket sales in CE. Resurgence in consumer interest for audio jumpstarted the sales of headphones, but targeted training has helped even more. “Headphones had been around for a hundred years, but there’s been a huge growth in the last two years because they brought innovation and technology back to that category,” Halperin said. “Manufacturers have spent time and resources in educating the consumer, not just about design but also about sound quality, and we spend time in our Expos on headphones as well.”
At D+M Group, headphone sales training is just one aspect of a multi-faceted approach led by Jeff Cowan, vice president of training and customer insight, whose background includes retail training at Tweeter. In-person instruction is a crucial part of the strategy in bringing the group’s brand stories to life on the sales floor, he said. Last year, full-day trainings were presented at 28 U.S. and Canadian venues where CEDIA credits were also offered as incentive.
“It’s training on our products, but it also addresses problems the integrators pull their hair out about and experience every day. That’s what they really appreciate. We’re not just trying to tell them our stuff is better; we’re trying to make them more productive by helping them anticipate and avoid problems,” Cowan said. “We get praise because they appreciate our brand-agnostic approach. We’re there for Denon and Marantz, but two-thirds of the day is not about either brand. And the feedback is that it’s incredibly refreshing that a vendor is willing to invest time and money and isn’t just there trying to convince these folks that we build a better mousetrap.”