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Author: William Sexton
My journey with Crestron Electronics began in 2011. Having had no previous experience with lighting control, outside of installing URC dimmers in my personal home, I knew I had a lot to learn. Over the last decade, I have helped our Crestron technology professionals sell millions of dollars in lighting. The following came from conversations with my peers along the way, including what worked and what did not.
1. Plant the Seed
Lighting control is addictive. Once a customer gets a taste of what lighting control can do for their lifestyle, they want more… a lot more. I had a Crestron dealer one day send me a very large PO for control, audio & video distribution, speakers etc. but only three dimmers. I thought to myself, “why would anyone buy all this AV gear and only three dimmers?”. This Crestron dealer sold a lot of lighting, so I was surprised to see such a small amount of lighting on such a large order. I called the dealer and was told that they were throwing the dimmers in for free. Installing a few hundred dollars of dimmers in a large-scale project may not seem like a big deal, but it was part of a bigger plan. The dealer installed the dimmers in a key area and programmed the lights to automatically turn on at sunset. When they pressed the “Movie” scene, the lights would dim to 5% so they could enjoy the movie, but still see the popcorn. Once that customer got a taste of lighting control and experienced the potential of a true “smart home,” it opened their eyes to what could be done in the rest of their home. The few hundred dollars of dimmers that were installed free turned into thousands of dollars in revenue and a customer that is much happier. They will tell all their friends about their “smart home” and refer them to their dealer.
2. Use Crestron’s Resources
Over the last decade, Crestron has changed in many ways. But one thing that has always remained consistent is the amount of resources we supply to our dealers. One of the biggest things is the Business Development team led by Michelle Guss (email@example.com), which can help you sell even more lighting control. Michelle and her team work directly with lighting designers, interior designers, home builders, architects, and developers to get Crestron products specified by DBPs (Design Build Professionals). You can learn more about the Crestron Electronics DBP program at www.crestron.com/DBP .
Another great resource for our dealers is the four Design Showrooms we have located across the country. These showrooms are in high-end design buildings where customers can select furniture, fabrics, fixtures etc. You can visit a Crestron Design Showroom in New York, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, and Scottsdale, AZ. These unique spaces are setup like an apartment, rather than a technology showroom. We have had customers come into the showroom, sit on the furniture, and ask how much it costs. At first, customers don’t even know they are in a technology showroom. Then one of our showroom managers will hand them a remote or talk to Josh.ai and the showroom will come to life. The shades will lower, the lights will dim, and the media will turn on. This experience opens the customer’s eyes to what is available and allows them to understand the technology. Schedule a virtual or in-person showroom visit today.
Another useful resource is Crestron’s Tech Sales department. If you provide tech sales with the load schedule and electrical floor plan, they will provide you with a free quote, bill of materials, and wiring diagram for a complete lighting control system. Simply email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org. It really is that easy.
The last resource I wanted to touch on is the Regional Sales Manager in your territory. Many of you reading this are long time Crestron Technology Professionals and can sell it on your own merits. But let’s face it, home automation has been around for a while and there are bound to be customers that have had poor experiences in the past. These customers had no one to turn to. Sometimes your Crestron Regional Sales Manager can help you give your customer even more confidence, knowing you have the relationship with and support of the manufacturer.
3. Tell a Story
Ask questions that help you tell a story and prompt the customer to realize that they want lighting control. I have lost lighting control sales on estate-sized homes simply because the customer thought we were trying to force our agenda upon them. Asking a customer how they control lighting in their current house is a good place to start.
“How do you control the lighting in your current house?”
“Would you like the wall acne (banks of switches) reduced down to a single keypad for simplicity?”
“Have you ever come home to a dark house?”
“Do you turn on lights in the middle of the night when you get up?”
Once you understand their frustrations or pain points, you can tell a compelling story about how lighting control will impact their lives and add significant value.
4. Partner with an Electrician
The battle for lighting can be a difficult one. By the time the “low volt guy” gets brought into the project, the lighting controls have already been specified or have already been installed. Therefore, a partnership is key. Finding electricians that you can partner with will pay off in dividends over the years. Yes, you will need to share the lighting control sale, but you can be brought into new projects with new builders. In today’s marketplace, the lighting and shading portion of a project can be larger than the control and AV portion. I have had friends sell very large AV contracts only to find out that the lighting and shading portion they lost was worth more than the AV contract. Find electrical contractors in your market that you can partner with to share sales and grow your business. These relationships will help you achieve the most important goal of providing your customer the best possible experience and an unparalleled Crestron lifetime warranty.
I hope you gained some valuable insight about new ways to increase your lighting sales. Please send me any success stories you have as a result of using these tools: email@example.com