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HTSA’s Glikes Tells Members: Play to Your Strengths

Presentations stress how to make headway in a ‘directionless’ industry

April 26, 2011 By Nancy Klosek
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“The industry is directionless. Best Buy wants smaller stores. Walmart wants smaller CE departments. This, to me, is dramatic – and it plays to our strengths.”  That was how Richard Glikes, executive director of the Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), led off the group’s 15th-anniversary year Spring conference, which opened April 25th at the Phoenix-area Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort. 

He exhorted members to capitalize on these big-box strategy moves by focusing on what they do best – but not by doing it for free.

“Less volume requires more profit per sale,” Glikes said. “Individual tickets have to go up. You need to charge for design, to develop a fee schedule for all you do. And there are still places where you can streamline your businesses.” He said that with the sluggish economy projected to affect a rebound in employment and home building for the next two to four years at least, members would need to diversify into unfamiliar categories by expanding their core competencies through education and partnerships. “We also have to gain share through marketing. We have to let our clients know we’re here,” he said.

To that end, the conference program featured a presentation to members on the nuances of effective social media. For it, Glikes drew on “Socialnomics” author and social media guru Erik Qualman as the conference keynoter.  Qualman’s overarching message was that the power of peer recommendation is more trusted than advertising, and that dealers needed to explore the best ways to use it to leverage their market strengths. “You don’t have to try to boil the ocean,” Qualman said. “Just go looking for the tools that will work best for you.”  He offered guidelines for creating YouTube videos with the potential for going viral. “First, you need good music. Then take the view of the viewer, and don’t talk about yourself too much. Produce the video for something other than ‘going viral.’ And if people ask for the raw file, give it out.”

The early portion of the conference was also peppered with lightning-round first-person presentations from within the group about event-marketing success stories.

Four 10-minute presentations the first day included one by Paul Sandquist, of Pennsylvania’s HiFi House Group, who explained how a promotional blitz for “The $9,995 Theater Experience” – a figure that included installation – helped to created buzz. The package “presented us an opportunity to advertise more than just TVs. We’ve sold lots of theaters to date, and they have given our guys a platform to sell up from.” The company’s Jon Robbins noted that only one of the 15 theaters already sold was for the base $9,995 price, with most ticketed at around $20,000. “The $9,995 is absolutely meant as a talking point,” he said.
 

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