Managing More Than the Project
We often think of project management as the back end of a custom installation. We think it’s the technical intricacies of installing, connecting and programming the system.
I think the project begins with the first encounter a prospect makes with us and that, hopefully, it never ends. After all, if the sales staff doesn’t do a great job, there won’t be a project to manage. And if no one follows up with the client, there won’t be additional sales and referrals.
It’s not surprising that mass merchandise chains have climbed on the consumer electronics bandwagon. After all, their customers want the newest products technology has to offer. In the past year or so, we’ve seen stores like Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sears and Target and warehouse clubs like Costco and BJs beef up their inventories and begin to promote their broader electronics product line-ups more aggressively.
But according to a recent J. D. Power survey, the service levels in the powerhouses leave a great deal to be desired. Consumer electronics specialty stores fared much better than the discount chains in meeting customer expectations when buying electronics.
Most important, though, the people who conducted the surveys identified some specific characteristics that the box stores lacked.
It’s no surprise that the discount chains didn’t seem to have the most basic knowledge about the televisions they were selling. The J. D. Power auditors rated their product skills as “barely acceptable.”
A third of Kmart associates didn’t know what HDMI was and whether or not HDMI or component cables would provide improved picture quality. Associates in specialty stores, however, could easily tell the HDMI story.
Our job, then, is to present the benefits of the products we sell in a way that mirrors what our prospect may or may not already know. We can turn up the power when speaking to a techie, but we need to back down when speaking to the technologically unaware. We won’t make sales by stringing together a bunch of specs to show our customers how smart we are. We need to show our customers how our products fit into their lifestyles.