Doing Nothing Is Not an Option
For many AV companies, business remains good, thanks to a backlog of projects in the pipeline. Still, in these tough times, it's important to stay proactive by ramping up sales and marketing before the pipeline dries up. Need ideas? AV pros share their strategies.
And Then More Marketing
With a plan in place and a clear message, it's time to market the heck out of your company. Hosting conferences, and conferences with partners, are great tactics. Dlouhy says CEC has success with its own trade show and conference where they introduce new solutions to customers. He says it has resulted in positive ROI and helped establish long-lasting customer relationships.
If you already hold conferences and training, consider increasing frequency and geographical reach. Education is often the best marketing. Leslie Stevens of Eclipse Marketing, which represents many AV companies, says that when competitors go out of business, a lunch-and-learn event can be the quickest way to capture business those integrators left behind.
But most of all, stay positive. "We all talk about how bad the economy is and that's mentally demoralizing," Stevens says. "Some spend so long thinking about that they are afraid to do anything."
South Western Communication's Loveland adds, "Act as if it were a boom economy. ... You get more of the available market share."
Participants at the February NSCA Leadership Conference probably agree. "It was comforting to get us all together and say, 'Hey, it isn't really that bad, is it?' No, we decided it isn't," says Wilson. "People moped into the room, but left very pumped up. It was a positive energy moving forward, even an excitement about the next year."
Lemke reminds everyone, "Most companies in the AV space are still doing fine. Don't let the day-to-day talk of gloom and doom distract you from delivering the best service possible."
Denise Harrison is a freelance writer specializing in professional AV technology.