This article first appeared in ProSource Insider Magazine and is reprinted with permission.
We checked in with our intrepid band of ProSource District Managers to find out what they’re hearing from members while they are in the field. Specifically, we wanted to know what members are talking about regarding lighting design, energy management and managed services.
Lani Godfry – South East
There is certainly an air of cautious optimism and even a little humble intimidation in addressing the lighting category. The Costal Source low voltage landscape lighting seems a little easier to grasp of the options available to members. Dealers with confidence in the category realize they need to become the authoritative voice for lighting on any given project and expose their client base regarding their design services and offerings.
Managed services comes down to a simple philosophy: Are we ready, as a business, sales team, and company to present a unified front in offering managed services. And how do we differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
Robert Dodge – North East
As far as lighting, the LED revolution is in full swing. There are so many advantages, from energy savings to adjustable output. I am hearing that they are hard to dim and they don’t react the same as conventional lighting. That opens up new ways for integrators to work with electricians when it comes to low voltage pre-wire and install. Own the category and be the expert!
Members tell me they run RDSCs all the time – recurring daily service calls. And the weekend calls always starts with: “Sorry to bother you….” And that’s where managed services comes in. Members who are successful tell me it is just a matter of explaining the importance of the network and why that needs to be continually monitored and managed. No network = no internet. Clients understand that.
In general, really big TVs – 75” and up – are very popular. Wireless music systems are universally requested. And people continue to request invisible speakers, even though they sound half as good and cost twice as much.
Samantha Summerville – South Central
Speaking of energy management, I’m hearing from members who are partnering with local solar power companies in addition to builders, architects and interior designers. They are expanding that network even further to include landscape architects, landscape maintenance companies, patio and pool companies, thus getting their foot in the door for more outdoor entertainment opportunities in lighting as well as audio/video.
ProSource members are starting to really embrace the lighting and shade categories as a new source of revenue. Members are very interested in learning how to win over the low voltage lighting portion of a job or at least learn how to get their foot in the door first. Not all have a high voltage electrical division, so many are trying to partner with electricians and kick a percentage of the job to them for working together.
Another way for the integrator to expand their business network is to offer education and training for the design/build community. These trainings can come directly from the manufacturer per certification by AIA (American Institute of Architects) or another design certified partner in the lighting channel. Being a member of many of the design/build groups, ASID, IFDA, IIDA, AIA, IDS to name a few, is also a great way to learn more about their network and business.