Moving Beyond Jargon
"High-end audio has become a decadent, very expensive item to own," he says. "After September 11, people started to retreat in their homes, started to think about home entertainment."
In California, says Fabiano, it takes people a little more time to get into that cocooning mode, especially in consistent, winter-free fair weather. In dealing with distractions and price scales, he says that a lot of salespeople for audio and video have a tough sell. Adding complicated jargon to the mix can sometimes make matters worse.
For Ambrosia, with store locations in tony Bel Air and West Hollywood, customers with thick wallets are the norm. But these same customers also expect top-notch service that will fulfill goals without beckoning complicated decisions on their behalf.
He says that well-informed buyers characteristically ask about frequency response. They'll also ask, he says, "'Are you using a power conditioner?' The customer that comes in for the high end, he normally knows what he's talking about. They're more maniacal about it."
For most other customers, especially those interested in home theater, they're more interested in the experience, notes Fabiano.
"The regular home theater customer wants the automation experience," he says. "They don't care what you're selling them. We sit them in one of our showrooms and they can experience it themselves."
Fabiano says that having a demonstration space is half the battle for reaching clients with total experiences. If customers can experience exactly what a system will do inside their own homes, they'll be able to grasp concepts with far more clarity. They have something on which to base their buying goals—an actual experience, he says.
At Ambrosia, there's one showroom that is constructed as a house, says Fabiano. "We built a mock house with a living room, kitchen and mock bathroom. They can experience what the technology can be like in their homes, especially if they're less interested in the tech," he explains. "They want service.