Your Business: When It Comes to Networking, Sell the Whole Tree
How do you define “the network” in your daily life? IP signals, WiFi access points, category cable? That magical “thing” that makes stuff connect to the internet, to smartphones, and to each other?
Most installers pop tents in one of two camps. They either specialize in network execution with routers, access points and the like, or they focus on selling network connectivity as a cool feature in the products they’re installing.
What if you embraced both sides and started to think of the network in terms of execution and application? Could you adopt a holistic business-building strategy with a unified approach to the network, one that is equal parts execution and application?
Think of the network like a tree. Leaves and flowers split off from twigs, twigs split off from small branches, small branches split off from bigger branches, and on and on.
These are the applications of a network—your TiVos, your Lutron Casetas, your Denon network receivers, your Xboxes, etc.—all continuously streaming content and communicating data. These applications are myriad in number and type.
But remember, the top of the tree is only half the picture. What people don’t see is the complex root system that feeds and supports the tree’s colorful beauty. And just like that tree, an advanced modern network will have many supporting parts making possible the applications described above—CAT cable, fiber optic, Atlona extenders, EnGenius routers and switches, PoE technology, access points, and on and on and on. (And we haven’t even dipped our little toe into cellular signal boosting technology, a growing niche that will open doors to even more possibilities down the road.)
Back to the tree. See that top of the tree, with its vibrant leaves and colorful flowers? That’s the part consumers see and demand. “4K? I wants it. Atmos? I needs it. Says ‘smart’ in the headline? My Precious!”
But the smart installer doesn’t focus on selling only the top of the tree. He also sells the roots.
Why? Roots are dirty, ugly, and definitely not sexy. But, for the most part, there is more margin in the “roots.” Dealers can make 25+ points on cable and networking gear—assuming you partner with the right vendor—compared to maybe 10 points from a TV or conventional receiver.
The smart installer knows that in order to maximize profit, he needs to sell and install leading-edge technology for network execution, the roots of the tree. He won’t settle for “good enough” gear that takes care of things for today. No, he is confident that the additional effort in selling a higher-priced solution means building future business with the growing list of network-ready/network-demanding products.
And that brings us back to the top of the tree.
This smart installer also realizes that in order for his client to see the more expensive, superior network as worth the higher cost, they need to see and experience the benefits personally. So rather than installing XYZ brands based on market popularity, he’ll install more carefully selected components that champion features based on network connectivity:
• Not just standard surveillance cameras recording to a local server, but 720-degree cameras with live HD video streaming and cloud backups.
• Not just standard cable or satellite boxes, but teams of TiVo Minis networked together streaming HD content from a single unit.
• Not just Dolby Atmos receivers, but Dolby Atmos receivers pulling in the highest resolution audio and video content from local sources as well as internet services.
• Not just standard lighting control, but lighting systems that incorporate both RadioRA and IP networks, opening doors into whole-home control solutions.
So when you think of “the network” in terms of your next installation, consider the bigger picture. Becoming a successful networking expert in the CEDIA channel isn’t simply about specializing in routers or access points, or being the Go-To Guy for Smart TVs. It’s about providing the best of both, and delivering the whole picture to your clients.
Be the smarter installer. Sell the whole tree. TI