Moving Beyond Jargon
Scare tactics only work some of the time, like during political elections or the big game. But in custom retailing, jargon never works.
Instead, when Mr. or Ms. Jones walks into a showroom knowing that a home theater system is atop their wish lists, most sales reps have two options: Explain the nitty gritty (that is, if the customer is well-informed), or show what the technology can do. When it comes down to introducing how a PC, for instance, can stream music throughout a home, demos win hands-down, especially when most clients don't know S-Video from an S-curve.
When it comes to sales, however, custom retailers walk a very thin line between providing informative lessons and inspiring a technical overload. Despite how detailed or theoretical a customer expects a sales rep to be, there are plenty of other issues that hang in waiting whenever specifics are skirted. In order to ensure that one is delivering the most effective presentation to experts and newbies alike, instinct is gold, not to mention a little psychic intuition.
With many a novice wandering blindly into the install fold as more technology becomes mainstream in consumer culture, it's often up to salespeople and custom installers to invent effective dialogue to answer integral questions about what this sophisticated technology can do—without scaring away potential clients in the meantime.
Learning By Example
"When it's high-end, everybody wants to know the nitty gritty about the product," says Alberto M. Fabiano, vice president and COO of Ambrosia, a custom installer based in Hollywood, Calif. Founded in 1981 by a one-time jeweler, Fabiano says that Ambrosia's mission is particularly revealing about the industry at large. He enthuses that like jewelry, most customers interested in custom install products are after a good investment for their money. Entertainment and status are high on the list, which might explain why plasma televisions are similarly on everyone's wish list.