Know your stuff
A while back, I was called in to a "shootout." This is a situation where various DS manufacturers, integrators, and resellers are asked to come together so the client can ask them all the same questions and see how they compare. Shootouts don't occur often, but when they do it can be a bit tense for some sales reps. There were four companies present: 2 manufacturer's sales reps, a reseller of some Off-Shore DS systems, and a DS Broker (a company who sources various manufacturers/solutions and resells the solution to the client for a low-margin cost).
The two manufacturer sales reps were VERY knowledgeable about their product and both seemed well versed with industry knowledge as well. I felt sorry for the reseller reps as they didn't know their product well, nor did they know the market. Many questions were answered with one of them stating, "I don't know." OR "I think..." The broker was very knowledgeable about the industry. I could see why the end-user asked them in. At the end of the day, if you don't know your product and especially the industry and main competition - you're likely to lose out. Clients are looking for experts to give them direction, they want someone knowledgeable who can steer them away from making a bad purchase and assure them the DS solution they're getting meets their needs and budget. Be the solutions specialist, don't be the person saying, "I don't know."
Know your resources
There are a lot of options for end-users out there. Many integrators, sign companies, salespeople, and (especially) end-users forget to check for leasing and financing which can easily make a solution affordable that may have seemed out of reach initially. Crowd-funding is a seriously hot topic in the tech world and there are organizations like Piggybakr helping schools and students fund their goals. In the sign world the non-profit SignVine http://www.signvine.org/ is launching and currently looking for churches and communities who need funds for LED Signage. Companies like www.zm-media.com offer turnkey all-in-one DS solutions. The more resources you have at your fingertips, the more you can help an end-user find a way to make the DS dream come true for their organization.
Be a Leader
Clients are looking around more and more online for answers. Make sure your company's website has been spruced up and prune the dead pages so the active ones can thrive. Take a consultative approach to educating people; don't tell organizaions what you think they need to know, give them some ideas and starter information so they can ask you the right questions to get the answers they need. Use social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, anything and everything your client-base is using to provide as many avenues of access to your company and team as possible.
Choose your partners carefully
What has your vendor done for your recently? Are you simply in a buyer/seller relationship or do you feel you can lean on your vendor as a partner to help out. Manufacturers are (one would hope) the experts in what they're doing. Many DS integrators, sign companies, and individuals getting into the DS business often have to deal with a broad spectrum of information and products and it helps to know you've got experts to lean on for advice, direction, and assistance in selling things and coming up with the right solutions for your clients. We all need to offer more to our clients than a product, we need to be partners with our clients in the purchasing proposition and as we deliver more, we should all expect more from the companies who sell to us. Don't just be a seller, be a solver.
Please comment here or send questions or requests for information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (http://www.vantageled.com), please check it out when you have a moment. Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically noted.attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically noted.