My prospective customers sometimes ask if I have customers nearby where they can see our products. I would like to say that this can be arranged, but because control room consoles and video walls are not the kind of products you’d find easily, it would simply be a coincidence if a customer site were near. That said I always want to put our best foot forward when it comes to our products and discovered over the years that customer site visits often work against everyone involved. Why? It’s because I can’t know the condition of my customers’ control rooms (e.g. clean and organized), or how our products have been maintained over the years. Their consoles might be somewhat outdated, the wrong color, or totally unrelated to what the visitor has in mind.
Certainly there’s something to be said for seeing our products in action and asking the owner for a recommendation. However, recommendations can simply be made by phone and we have a long list of customers for that purpose. Knowing the pitfalls that come with customer site visits, we instead launched the largest command control showroom in the country where visitors can see our entire furniture line and four working video wall systems for demonstration. Visitors can evaluate our products in an unhurried environment, obtain ideas for their projects, and envision how our products can make their jobs easier and more effective. Customer site visits just don’t do this very well.
Nonetheless, I recognize that not everyone has the time or money to make a trip to our Southern California showroom. My experience says that in most cases, the dollar value of the project normally drives the decision to attend. Smaller purchases are often made without a showroom visit because it doesn’t make financial sense to spend money on a long trip when only two or three consoles are being purchased. However, I believe that I provide enough information for my customers to feel comfortable with their purchase without a visit. In fact, I sell most projects without my customers ever seeing the product first-hand before buying. Video walls are diferent because of their high dollar value and the complexity of the technology. For this reason video wall purchases are not normally made without a showroom visit and demonstration. The exceptions are when the showroom is too far away to make the trip, or when travel money isn’t available. My customers can have us install our products, or do it themselves. When they want to do their own installation, our modular products can be partially assembled and shipped. As for video walls, the shipment arrives with instructions for a qualified electronics technician to install. We guide the installer through each step from afar. It works every time.
I’m not entirely against customer site visits; I’ll arrange them when possible. However, I believe that customer site visits don’t do our products justice, nor do they offer enough information to make informed decisions.
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