Robert Ain

Most dealers with whom I speak are convinced they’re making substantial profits on labor. Some even go so far as to give salespeople commissions on selling labor. But that perceived profit just ain’t so. I decided to declare my views on this topic after a recent conversation with another industry consultant, who wanted my opinion on the amount of compensation a salesperson should receive for selling the labor portion of a custom installation. After hearing a lengthy explanation of why a salesperson should receive compensation, I asked if the dealer with whom the consultant was working had any idea of how much profit he was making on

In the world of electronics retailing, being in the middle is being mediocre to many consumers. The prevailing, reassuring view for years has been that of the consumer market as a pyramid, with fewer buyers and dealers at the top and more of each at the bottom. In my long-held view, however, the market is becoming hourglass-shaped, with the middle getting sucked out. At the bottom, Best Buy and Circuit City, each generating tens of billions of dollars in sales, dominate the consumer electronics business. At the top, higher-end retailers with less than 10 storefronts are doing quite well. In the middle, however, are retailers like

Last month, I discussed the idea of market size and evaluating the concept of MCE (Marketing Circle Elasticity)—whether you can expand the size of your market. This month, I’ll use these ideas in looking at your consumer market and how it impacts your business. What is happening in the market? Where is the growth potential? If you’re planning to grow, where will that growth come from? Is the high-end customer buying more expensive products? Or are a larger number of customers buying lower-priced video displays? Is your growth going to be obtained by getting more market share, expanding the size of your market, or both? Is

In speaking with numerous entrepreneurial companies, both manufacturers and retailers, they almost always fail to realistically look at the size of the market in determining their approaches to sales and marketing. I need more fingers and toes to count the number of companies that totally overestimate the size of the existing market they are entering. This failure to realistically look at the market is partially due to the lack of accurate, readily-available data about our market. As a result, in many situations, the overly optimistic entrepreneurs run their businesses with a very false sense of market size. Additionally, many companies work towards higher sales levels without

CEDIA EXPO 2006 has come and gone, and as with every show, we are all looking for The Buzz. What were the dealers talking about? What made them excited enough to tell their peers? I know you’re all eagerly anticipating my take on all of that, but hold your horses for a second.First, let me tell you about my winner for Best Retail Sales Story at CEDIA. Gordon Friend, a wonderful retailer executive who works out of the Metro New York market, relates the following conversation he overheard between one of his salespeople, Albert Chua, and a customer. The woman asked, “What is the difference between plasma

Last month, we talked about getting ready for CEDIA EXPO. Now that many of you are here at the show, let’s talk about strategies. Certainly, you want to take some courses. But the bigger part is seeing new products and meeting with existing or potentially new suppliers. Have a plan. As we discussed last month, you need a plan for working the show—who to see and when. CEDIA EXPO is an extremely efficient way to see suppliers and conduct business in the course of a few days; where else can you get all of your business partners together to meet at one location? If you need

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