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!