Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Supply Show 2023

HMRSSS 2023 blog-featured-image

From January 22-24th, Exertis Almo attended the Annual Hotel, Motel, and Restaurant Supply Show in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Members of our Exertis Almo Hospitality and Marketing teams, along with support from representatives at Magic Chef, headed down this year to show off some of our most popular products and a few newer products which will be available soon! This show allows vendors to connect with independent hotel owner and operators. Exertis Almo has had a booth since 2020 and this year was our biggest booth, featuring Cape Soleil outdoor furniture, Nonstop clocks, Magic Chef appliances, and Samsung Hospitality displays.

Since the show is open to hotels and restaurant owners and operators, our booth had something for anyone in attendance. With its solid build and impressive warranty, our Cape Soleil commercial furniture is at home on a restaurant patio or a hotel pool area. As in years past, people always enjoy taking a break in our booth to test out the furniture, and we always bring some great Cape Soleil SWAG with us. We had tote bags, plastic cups, glassware, and a few other goodies which were very popular! Since we were one of the first booths in the door, the Cape Soleil tote was one of the first things guests received, and if you took a walk around the show, you’d see many attendees carrying them and loading them up with other vendor giveaways.

Magic Chef at HMRSS booth

Magic Chef was on display on the left side of our booth. We had the newly redesigned .7 microwave, which has a newer, modern look, along with two glass-front merchandisers. All were well received, especially the merchandisers for attendees looking for a compact way to display refrigerated products in their marketplaces. We ran a show special of Buy 10 Get 1 Free on the compact appliances which resulted in a few deals right on the show floor! For the guests in the restaurant industry, we had info on the Norpole commercial line, which helped get the word out on those products as they continue to grow and expand in that space.


Front and center in the booth, we featured the NonStop clocks, which gained lots of attention from many attendees. Their modern, sleek design and charging solutions appealed to hotels and owners of small, local bed and breakfasts. It was apparent that sanitation is still a concern, as the NonStop UV station was getting some of the most attention of all the models. We met some large properties who will be receiving some UV station samples so they can review them in-person. To keep things exciting, we also raffled off a NonStop UV Station every hour for the 3 days of the show. Many attendees were very excited to win these and take them home! We even met a woman who won one last year and said that her employees still use it in the hotel break-room.

The first day gave us a steady number of local visitors to the booth, but it appeared that most people were traveling to arrive Tuesday night so they could get the most out of their visit and spend all of Wednesday at the show. Over the course the show, we met everyone from ownership groups, hotel and restaurant owners, and even some of the staff who handle maintenance or ordering for the property at which they work. In previous years, the last day has been slower, but not this year! Thursday, which is a shorter day, seemed to be our busiest day. Everyone in the booth was busy fielding questions and showing off product right up until we were ready to break down the booth! The 3 days flew by and allowed to us to present our products to many new customers. It was a great show, and we will be sure to be back next year!

Want to know more about Hospitality at Exertis Almo?
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Steve Dowsett
About the Author

Steve Dowsett

FF&E Coordinator

Exertis Almo – Hospitality

Blending Education & Entertainment: I Present JBL Fest 2022

“This was the best work trip I’ve ever attended.”  That statement carries a lot of weight when your career requires you to travel to different industry events and you regularly get to see what our country has to offer.  However, that was the exact phrase that an Exertis Almo employee said to me when I asked him what JBL Fest 2019 was like.  For the 2nd consecutive year (not counting 2020/2021 due to the pandemic shutdown), our sales team at Exertis Almo was selected to participate in a sales incentive with the grand prize being a trip for 2 to Las Vegas to attend JBL Fest 2022.  This year, we had five lucky winners (and their spouses) descend onto Las Vegas from Sept 27th-Sept 30th.  Christina Smith, Kenny Razor, Kyle Smith, Cassidy Alley and Doug Schulte all did an incredible job to earn this opportunity, and congrats to all of them!  I took on the role of “Unofficial Tour Guide” to make sure they got the most from the trip and did not miss any of the swag opportunities either.  Allow me to do the same for you as I attempt to paint a picture of what this experience was truly like.

JBL Fest 2022 team backdrop

Leading up to the 27th, I made sure to review the itinerary which included the Harman Tech Forum, Installed Audio Masterclass, Content Creation Master Class with world famous DJ Morgan Page, and multiple concerts and club events each night.  Once landing in Las Vegas, you are greeted in the baggage claim area by multiple people holding JBL Fest signs and helping usher you to the waiting bus in the parking lot to take you to the destination.  Admittedly still jetlagged from the 3-hour time difference and 2:30am wakeup, I was happy it was a short ride to the Virgin Hotel where immediately you hear the bass thumping, see a bright JBL-orange truck and a solid-gold dancer just in the parking lot.  It was tough NOT to hang out in the parking lot with everyone else.  Once checked in you immediately feel thrown into the experience of JBL Fest.  Bright colored signage everywhere and an oversized chair that replicates JBL earbuds are sitting in the lobby.  The short walk from the registration area to the room was well worth it when you open the door to your room and find there is a concert stage directly outside your room  (more on that a little later on 😊 ).  Once I was settled and rested, I decided to head down to the JBL Hospitality Lounge where I was checked in and “tagged” with an orange JBL bracelet that acts as your “tracker” for all the events you attend and it’s your VIP pass.  I am all about branding, so I certainly did not mind wearing a JBL bracelet for a few days.  Once finished with check-in, I was told to go into the lounge and pick up my “welcome gift,” while assuming it was a fidget spinner or pop socket; you know, the usual swag that is handed out.  Instead, I’m given a Herschel/JBL branded backpack that was filled with JBL noise cancelling wireless earbuds, a premium wireless battery pack, a premium wireless phone charger, and a JBL fanny pack (which now sits on my Michael Scott standup at home, haha).  I do not want to give off the impression that I can be bought with premium swag, but this sure was a nice way to welcome guests to the event!

After a brief bit of downtime to explore the hotel, it was time to meet up with the rest of the Exertis Almo team and head to Club JBL for the 1st night of concerts, headlined by pop star Bebe Rexha.  Food, drinks, and sitting feet away from future NFL Hall of Famer, Rob Gronkowski, made this a great first night for everyone — ending with Bebe Rexha singing some of her more radio-popular hits from the past few years.  Waking up on Wednesday, it was time to roll as we had our busiest day ahead.  Starting with the Harman Tech Forum, which featured several panel discussions on the future of the metaverse, where the automotive industry is heading, and learning how athletes and celebrities are using technology to become more accessible to their fans.  Capped off with a Shark Tank-like presentation of innovative ideas, we also heard from President and CEO of Harman International, Michael Mauser.  Afterwards we took a brief hiatus to head to the Maui Jim Gifting Experience.  Essentially, you went outside to a group of tables where they were designed to look like a sunglasses retail store.  You were instructed to try on as many pairs as you wanted and select which you liked best.  They literally hand you a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses for FREE! Just chalk that up to another piece of premium swag that Harman treated to their

guests.  With our new sunglasses in hand, we then headed the Pro Audio Installed Masterclass.  Among the presenters was Saben Shawhan who is the Director of Audio Applications at Harman Pro.  Saben is a personal favorite of mine, and he certainly did not disappoint this time around.  Standing on a mock stage with speakers all around him, Saben went through a brief slide presentation on each series including the CBTs, PRX One, Eon One MK2, and the new SRX900s.  However, the fun part was the actual product demo.  Featuring an eclectic mix of music to highlight the strengths of these different speakers, we went one by one to fully immerse yourself in each.  While all were extremely impressive, I think my chest is still feeling the bass knock on the SRX900s from the heavy techno music that was playing.  Holy cow did that speaker really impress me!

JBL Fest 2022 product launch
JBL Fest 2022 presenter

As if I was not already feeling excited and inspired enough, I was then approached by Whitney Bosch and Frank Joseph from the Harman Marketing team with what I can only describe as quite an honor –having a private 1-on-1 meeting with Michael Mauser himself.  To have Michael touch on our sales growth at Exertis Almo and then ask for my thoughts and feedback on the improving supply chain and how to continue improvement was something I will never forget.  There are certain moments in your career when you might experience an emotional “high” or a “flow state” as I’ll describe later…..and this was certainly one of those times.  Thank you to Whitney and Frank for affording me that opportunity.

After heading back to my room feeling as excited and inspired as ever, I started to hear some “disruption” outside my window to find that the sound check was starting for the night’s musical guests, The Kid Laroi and Doja Cat.  I would like to think that I have a wide-spanning taste in music; there is something about live drums and guitars that just perks the ears regardless of the musical artist.  I wound up standing by my window overlooking the stage for a good 35 minutes just watching and listening.  After being a gracious guest for drinks with the Harman Marketing team and toasting the successful event, we headed to the VIP section outside on the lawn for the evening concert.  First stop was the bar where you receive a blinking glow-in-the-dark JBL cup to enjoy the drinks all evening, and then I found my way to the balcony ledge with a clear view of the stage just in time for Kid Laroi to appear.  While I do not know all his music, the best moment of his set was when he played “Stay” which is easily his biggest hit song and clearly recognizable to everyone in attendance.  I overheard a lot of people saying, “oh this is that song from Tik Tok,” truly a sign of the digital world we live in.  Once Doja Cat came on stage and ran through some of her hits, it was time to end the evening with another day of fun ahead on Thursday. 

JBL Fest 2022 concert

While the final day was a lot more relaxed and mellow, I was ready and waiting for the Content Creation Masterclass featuring DJ Morgan Page.  Morgan conducted a presentation on his “Quick Tips,” which essentially are a guide for how to reduce complexity in whatever you do and as he puts it: “grease the wheels of resistance.”  Every attendee received a box of his quick tips cards, which I am guilty of looking at ever since I returned home.  One point that I raised previously was in regard to experiencing “flow state.”  As Morgan described, a “flow state” is when you find yourself in such a groove with your work that time is flying by, and you are in such enjoyment with what you are doing that you remain in a state of constant flow.  That really resonated with me and as I attempted to describe it here, this trip was my “flow state.”  The final event of the trip was offsite at Hakkassan nightclub featuring world famous DJ Martin Garrtix.  Lights, smoke, loud club music, and plenty of drinks and good conversation to go around. It was the ideal way to end the trip.  Having “foolishly” booked a 3:30am Uber ride the next morning to head home, I knew the wise thing was to end the night and go back to the hotel.

JBL Fest 2022 team outing

As I sit here composing my thoughts and memories from the trip, I just received a message from Christina Smith, Exertis Almo Director of Sales and one of the lucky incentive winners for JBL Fest.  Christina says, “this time last week we were all arriving in Vegas” to which I replied, “and now I sit here writing about it.”  This was easily the best trip of my entire career as it was so methodically planned out by everyone at Harman that it truly was the perfect blend of education and entertainment.

If you would like to learn more about the products, I mentioned above or how Harman continues to come up with new innovation, please contact us today.

Robert Voorhees


Robb Voorhees | CTS, CTP, DSCE, CTNS, Dante

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Business Communications Services, and Harman: AKG, AMX, BSS, Crown, DBX, JBL, Soundcraft, Martin Lighting

The Dawn of a New Day: How Exertis Almo Pro A/V Took Over InfoComm 2022

After 3 long years, InfoComm finally returned as the Pro AV industry descended upon the Las Vegas Convention Center June 8th through the 10th. Having experienced a cancellation in 2020 and a scaled-back version in 2021, you could instantly feel the excitement surrounding the show and the joy of being around colleagues again in-person. Although the temperatures outside routinely reached 110+ degrees, the buzz inside of the Convention Center was far hotter! To add to this excitement, this event marked the official launch of the new Exertis Almo Pro AV, as the two companies have integrated into one. We have traded our Almo blue shirts in exchange for Exertis Almo red, and dare I say, our booth could be seen from one side of the North Hall to the other. Never been to InfoComm before? Allow me to describe why it remains a must-see industry event for Pro AV.

The week started off very quickly with the Exertis Almo-sponsored Opening Reception on Tuesday evening, which was held at the Hard Rock Café. Complete with cigar rolling, giveaways, and our always-famous Bourbon and Bacon tasting, the evening was definitely the kick-off to the entire show! We had multiple vendor sponsors in attendance, including Samsung, Legrand, LG, Sharp NEC, Absen, BrightSign, Yamaha, Epson, and Jabra, along with a bustling crowd of customers so large that wait times grew just to get in! Later in the week, a vendor informed me that he overheard people in the elevator talking about how excited they were to attend, so it sounds like our marketing team knocked it out of the park, as usual!

Exertis Almo marketing and events team at InfoComm 2022
Avocor at InfoComm 2022

Fast-forward to the opening of the trade show floor. The expo ran from the 8th through the 10th, and all 3 days offered the kind of value that you can only find at InfoComm. When walking in for our morning booth tour, you immediately noticed the registration line wrapping around corners, and attendees were excited to be out amongst their colleagues and partners. Remember how I said our booth could be seen from one end to the next? Well, when your logo is bright red and your booth is multiple stories, it definitely stands out! Featuring multiple private meeting spaces as well as several featured vendors and additional meeting tables on the show floor, the Exertis Almo booth had something for everyone. You cannot attend an AV event without featuring a little “A” and a little “V”. To help achieve this, we had displays from Samsung, Sony, Absen, LG, and Avocor, along with various audio solutions

from Yamaha UC, Nureva, Jabra, and others, all present in our booth demoing the latest and greatest in their product lineups. In fact, several other vendors made sure to come by to visit and offer their feedback on the impressive attendance at our booth. What really differentiated us from others was very clear – our team. Quite frankly, the sight of 25+ red shirts was impressive, but once you realize that our team came from throughout the US, Canada, and even Europe, it showed just how powerful the new Exertis Almo will be moving forward.

The crux of any InfoComm has always been the meetings. Getting to sit face-to-face with customers, vendors, rep firms, end users, or even colleagues of past and present offers the most value for any attendee. You cannot normally find all of these folks under one roof, so it’s always imperative to take advantage of everyone’s presence. My meetings certainly fell into this spectrum, and each one provided me the chance to either learn or educate. One minute I was sitting with a customer from the northeast, describing our service offerings to uncover new opportunities, and the next minute I was walking through the West Hall, meeting with the VP of Audio from Harman Professional Solutions and learning about their strategy for the next few years. The ability to have these varying level of discussions will always be beneficial to all attendees.

Not to be outdone, we have to talk about the products and technology. After all, it is a technology showcase, right? Any chance you have to get up close and personal should always be seized, because that is how the real learning is done! You can attend launch calls, webinars, and multiple PowerPoint Zooms, OR you can stand in a demo room while an audio engineer demonstrates why their product outshines the rest, all while cranking the volume to 10. Talk about an “a-ha moment”! Not only were there two halls filled with vendors, but there were also multiple private demo rooms dedicated to some of the best in the audio field. Harman’s space was filled with AMX collaboration tools, installed audio products like ceiling speakers and amplifiers, as well as a small showcase of their latest product introductions. However, the real eye catcher was the large truss at the front of the room, containing the new SRX900 series powered arrays. This new product has been very well-received since its recent launch, so to see it and experience it live was definitely a perk of the week. Other impressive booths I saw were from Legrand, BrightSign, Sharp NEC, and Panasonic. While I wasn’t able to dive too deeply into each, you could tell there was a great deal of planning that went into the designs of each booth, on top of the products being featured.

I love about product discussions at InfoComm happen organically. These aren’t your typical trade-show-level sales pitches where the vendor is trying to close a deal. This is someone who is there to educate you on what their products with a legitimate interest in you receiving value. I experienced this personally with Tom Roberts, Channel Manager from Jabra. Tom spent the week in the Exertis Almo booth, and as crowds started to wind down on Thursday, I approached him to strike up a conversation about their consumer products with which I was familiar. By the time we were done with the 35-minute talk, I had learned more about their line of conferencing cameras, like the Panacast and Panacast 50, than I had previously known. That is where the value lies!

And of course, we can’t forget the parties! The opening reception was only the tip of the iceberg to the Peerless AV–sponsored “Glow Up the Night” party on Wednesday. Held at the Zouk Night Club, the preferred attire was bright colors which matched the venue’s bright lights and glow-sticks, necklaces, and more. Exertis Almo had their own private VIP section, and the night lived up to all expectations amongst the attendees! While I will be the first to admit I am no longer the “late nighter” I used to be, everyone who closed the party down certainly didn’t regret a thing. Everyone had a tremendous time indeed.

If you aren’t already impressed by all that InfoComm has to

LG sponsored at InfoComm 2022

offer, I saved the best for last. As the now-combined Exertis Almo Pro AV, our team took home the rAVe award for Favorite Distributor for a 10th consecutive year…YES, I said 10th! When we say Best in Class, we mean it! For all the work our collective teams do day-in and day-out, this was the icing on the cake.

After traveling to Las Vegas for my 10th time and attending my 3rd InfoComm, this one was the best. The past couple of years were certainly a challenge, but the second you step off the plane and see the InfoComm banner hanging in the airport, you know you are ready for the exciting events to come! I look forward to InfoComm 2023 in Orlando, FL, and hope to see even more first-timers attending the experience!

Ride to the UK with Exertis Almo

Let’s Join Together for Mental Health Charity in this Virtual Triathalon – “Ride to the UK”

We have partnered with American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise significant funds and awareness of the importance of mental health in our community and beyond.

For one month from August 1st to August 31st, all Almo & Exertis Almo will be cycling 1,750 miles, which is a halfway point between our headquarters in Philadelphia and our sister company Exertis in the UK!

We will be taking time to race on the bikes, with several prizes for those participating. Join us across the country! Head out on a ride or jump on the stationary bike. Send a picture of your app/tracker to [email protected].


The grand prize will be a holiday for two to the UK! Almo and Exertis Almo employees can enter* by donating $5 to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and including their full name and location. The winner will be drawn on the final day of the bike ride! In addition to the grand prize, there will be other prizes given away throughout the month for taking part and donating!

Matt Cuellar on stationary bike
Matt Cuellar at NSM 2022 kickoff.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention logo


Help us ride to Exertis in the UK! DONATE »

All donations go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

About American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have experienced a loss. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies:

  • Funding scientific research
  • Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention
  • Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention
  • Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide

For more information about the organization visit:


*Anyone can donate, but the prizes are only open to Almo and Exertis Almo employees.

Diversity & Inclusion at Exertis Almo

“You are the catalyst — the person who takes a purpose and gets people aligned, so you can get to where you want to go, fast.” ~ Carey D. Lohrenz

To help raise awareness around the DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) initiative within our organization, and to encourage the practice among our employees and leadership community, we brought in a special guest speaker for our kickoff event to highlight what is possible when women are included within a historically all male occupation.

Carey Dunai Lohrenz, CPAE – the first female F-14 Fighter Pilot and a WSJ Best Selling Author – provided an inspiring and engaging keynote speach at the Exertis Almo National Sales Meeting (NSM) in July 2022.

Carey Lohrenz Wall Street Journal
Span of Control, Carey Lohrenz

The timing couldn’t have been better with the 2nd Top Gun movie “Maverick” out in theaters. Everyone was truly inspired and motivated by Ms Lohrenz vivid tales of meeting with resistance and ultimately overcoming the odds to win in a predominately male field.

Everyone who attended the keynote at NSM week received a hardcover copy of Carey Lohrenz’s book  “Span Of Control: What To Do When You’re Under Pressure, Overwhelmed, and Ready To Get What You Really Want” to continue the conversation about women and equity in the workplace.

What is Diversity & Inclusion?

There is a lot of buzz these days about diversity and inclusion. Lets explore how Exertis Almo utilizes the terms so that our employees and leadership continue to put them into practice on a daily basis. Diversity and inclusion are clearly defined practices and attitudes which can be measured. These terms are often used interchangeably; yet their meaning and their implications are vastly different.

Matt Cuellar on stationary bike
Kim Lonas – Global Diversity & Inclusion Program Lead

Let’s break down what diversity and inclusion mean to us individually as well as collectively at Exertis Almo. Diversity and inclusion have an impact both on personal and professional levels. On a personal level, if these practices are done effectively, they allow people from all groups to feel welcomed, represented, and empowered. Effective diversity and inclusion practices also influence the performance of businesses and organizations in powerful ways.

Here we break down how these two perspectives on diversity and inclusion are different yet interrelated. Inclusion is the extent to which we feel included—that our individual identity and contributions are valued. It brings with it a sense of belonging and connectedness. When applied to a workplace, inclusion signifies that all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, empowering individuals to contribute to the business’s overall success.

The concept of diversity, though closely related to inclusion, is different and more personal. It represents the complex interplay of perceptual differences that shape each person’s unique view of the world. Diversity is what makes each individual unique in their perspective and approach to all aspects of life. The term comprises differences in origin, background, personality, life experience, beliefs, and personal characteristics to name a few. True diversity means a variety of skills, perceptions, and attributes that each individual brings to any business or organization.

The difference is diversity relates to the overall make-up of a person or an organization, while inclusion relates to how different groups are valued and empowered within it. Diversity and inclusion may not necessarily coexist. It is possible for a workplace to be diverse yet not inclusive, and vice versa.

Why are diversity and inclusion important?

Why does this matter to our organization? You may think that individual perceptions of inclusion and diversity in the workplace have no bearing on the success of a business. However, the research shows otherwise.

Many research studies on the benefits of diversity and inclusion have been published by the likes of McKinsey, Deloitte, Harvard Business Review, and others. The results are clear: corporations identified as diverse and inclusive are more likely to outperform their competitors. Research shows diverse companies are 70 percent more likely to capture new markets (HBR, “How Diversity Can Drive Innovation”), while diverse teams are 87 percent better at making decisions (Cloverpop, “White Paper: Hacking Diversity with Inclusive Decision-Making”). In addition, companies with more diverse management teams have led to an average of 19 percent higher innovation revenue (BCG, How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation).

One area in which these benefits are most telling is gender diversity. McKinsey’s research indicates that gender-diverse companies (which employ an equal number of men and women) are 15 percent more likely to notice higher returns and produce up to 41 percent higher revenue (McKinsey & Company, “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters”). These gains have a ripple effect that goes far beyond individual companies. Their research goes on to show that our gross domestic product (GDP) could increase by twenty-six percent (26%) if the gender gap were equally diversified. This equates to a potential of $12 trillion added to the global GDP by 2025 (McKinsey & Company, “Ten Things to Know About Gender quality”).

What happens when organizations focus on diversity, but not inclusion?

Many organizations use the terms “diversity” and “inclusion” interchangeably. This inaccuracy can lead to problems in the formulation and implementation of diverse and inclusive business practices. For example, a company may focus on diversity but not inclusion by hiring more women or more members of ethnic or racial minorities. However, if the organization does not value the perspectives of members of these groups, they will not be able to retain them for the long term.

True inclusion means that all members of the organization have the opportunity to contribute and to advance, regardless of their gender, race, and/or ethnicity. This goes beyond fairness and equality in hiring practices. It provides the opportunity for all to meet their full potential, so that every employee’s contributions are valued and their voices are heard.

To be authentic, inclusion must factor into company decisions regarding:

  • Recruitment
  • Remuneration
  • Policy
  • Training and development
  • Performance appraisals
  • Advancement opportunities

When structuring teams and committees, leaders should ensure the representation of diverse skills and voices. This leads to a more comprehensive outcome.

How can organizations ensure both diversity and inclusion?

The first step is to ingrain these values in a business’s hiring practices, training, and company policy. Following through with such practices, training and policies promotes a company culture of fairness, respect, dignity, and open communication. These practices also allow everyone to establish a baseline whereby you can continue to measure diversity and inclusion in your organization. When something is measured, it is more likely to become reality.

With a better understanding of diversity and inclusion, personally and in business, organizations are one step further along in their journey. Achieving diversity and inclusion does not exist without putting them into practice. The case for focusing on diversity and inclusion has never been stronger.

Taking a Hands-On Approach to Pro AV

The human body has roughly 5 million sensory nerve receptors inside. The receptors help trigger the sensations of heat, cold, pain, and so many others that we have grown accustomed to. Being that I just turned 41 in March, it is quite easy to overlook these sensations outside of the frequent times I would yell “I CAN’T STAND THE COLD WEATHER ANYMORE!” Having just returned from a trip out to California while attending Almo Pro AV’s award-winning E4 Experience, it really dawned on me of the importance that the sense of touch has on all of us. It had been 3 long years since I last had gotten on a plane and roughly 2 ½ years since I last attended an E4 or any other industry events. It is absolutely true that you don’t know what you have ‘til it’s gone and having the Pro AV industry (and the world for that matter) shut down the past couple of years really caused me to miss being on the road and interacting with all of you. With that being said, I found myself immersed in the opportunity to be around the product that we all sell, train, manage, and communicate on the daily. 

Dating back to my days selling the first consumer Plasma TV’s and 500lb console televisions (slight exaggeration!) in retail, I have always had a belief that to be successful in sales, you had to be a customer yourself. How could I honestly and accurately sell products if I didn’t use those products myself? There is something to be said about taking a new audio receiver home, connecting it yourself, and spending hours, days, or weeks adjusting the settings to your preferred listening levels. This practice dates back to the late 1990’s for me and holds true to this very day. I am a visual, hands-on learner. I enjoy the art of “trying to break something,” meaning I like to test the product, possibly disassemble it, and try to understand how and why it functions the way it does. Looking around my office right now, I can count a minimum of 10 products that are available through Almo Pro AV. If I look around my house even further, I see internet, cable TV, security, and even solar services, which I had sold previously in my career. Again, if I don’t use the product, how can I accurately sell it? 

How many times a week do we find ourselves quoting out product specs for a particular item? Half a dozen? 10-12? I’d venture to guess quite a bit. Let’s take a portable loudspeaker as an example. All week long I can be on email, zoom, and phone calls and recite the following to a customer: “Yes, this speaker has a vertical array containing 12 2.5” drivers with copper-capped pole pieces to minimize distortion.  This model contains a 2000-watt fully-bridged amplifier and a 7-channel digital mixer. Each speaker weighs roughly 55lbs and measures 33x19x25” in size.” Ultimately, reciting those specs to a customer is probably going to be good enough to close the deal, especially if it is a speaker the customer has previously used, or maybe they need an upgrade to a more current model, etc.

However, imagine being able to attend an event like E4 Experience, where you walk up to a manufacturers booth, you see this particular loudspeaker on display, and you are ENCOURAGED to be HANDS-ON! The E4 Experience is hardly your 5th grade trip to the Museum. These manufacturers want you to touch the product, examine at your own speed, and ask questions about how to best utilize those products! There is a lot to be said for the ability to do this and immediately earns you a layer of credibility with your customers when you can speak from personal experiences. 

During this most recent E4 Experience, held in sunny Anaheim, CA, I had the opportunity to talk with Cassidy Alley, Account Manager from Almo’s National Business Team. Cassidy is newer to the Almo Family, having just started in the fall of 2021, and this was her first ever E4 Experience. In our show floor discussion, she said, “Being able to attend the E4 tour is a great experience as it provided the opportunity to learn about products through a live demonstration, build relationships with the vendors, and interact with end-users. This opportunity has helped with driving business as relationships and knowledge grew. The E4 tour is an invaluable way for dealers and end users to connect with key players in the industry. Going to an E4 presents an amazing opportunity to really dive deep and have a personalized interaction with the newest in AV technology.” The two things she said that really struck a chord with me were learning about products through live demonstration and also how attending an E4 presented an opportunity to dive deeper. Cassidy, like the rest of us, can only go so far reciting specs from online data sheets. She took the opportunity and ran with it like so many others and I find that extremely commendable. 

For those of you who are familiar with past blogs and articles I have written, you will know that I am a big proponent of seeking out ways to educate ourselves in order to move further in the comfort model. The E4 Experience is an excellent example of this, and it is a way for us to get our hands on the latest and greatest in technology that the Pro AV industry has to offer. As the country continues to open back up to pre-2020 normalcy, it is imperative that we all seek out these opportunities to not only get in front of the manufacturers we all know and love, but also get in front of the products we have been talking about for years and really gain a physical understanding of how the products work, how they tie together to complete a project, and even pick up some tips and tricks on how we can better sell them to our customers through live demos.

I hope to see you all in Chicago on May 3rd at the next E4 Experience, and don’t be afraid to walk up to a booth and get hands-on with everything that Pro AV has to offer in 2022!

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