Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Digital Signage Sales 101: No Free Lunch, Only Buy and Sell Quality LED Displays

- Mike Prongue

No Free Lunch!

My blog posts always attempt to discuss the realities of the LED display industry- the good, the bad and the ugly of what you may find on the streets in your city. But there is one thing that continues to irritate me, and worry me late at night, as I count LED displays before I fall to sleep. It’s a false belief that will not die with Sign Companies- There is such a thing as a free lunch when it comes to purchasing LED displays!

What do I mean? The acronym TANSTAAFL (There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch) was introduced many posts ago and it means that even when you think you’re getting something for “FREE”, there are real costs involved that have to be considered- nothing is FREE. These unspoken, undisclosed costs can add up to total more than the most premium LED display product available at full retail.

How often have I heard Sign Company “X” say, “We had to buy an imported LED display from The Cheapest Kid on the Block because the customer could not afford a good one?”

Come on, you’ve heard it. You may have even said it.

When a compromise such as this ensues, a myriad of repercussions may occur which harms the customer, the dealer’s reputation and also results in a monetary loss. Think about it- “We had to buy an imported LED display from The Cheapest Kid on the Block because the customer could not afford a good one?”

That’s a little bit like an automobile consumer saying they could not afford air bags or that they could not afford a clean-technology engine and an old smog producer would have to do. “No, I am adamant! I do not want seat belts in my car- they add $75 to the price and that puts me over my budget!”

So, wow… I can’t wait to ask this question: It’s okay to make a sale, putting a known “cheap” quality product on your customer’s pole? Pick how that LED display got “cheap”. Something had to be shortchanged:

  • Inferior software that costs the customer more in lost man hours than the price difference between the “cheap” display and a quality display? 
  •  Poor quality LED modules that may be re-manufactured, or will fail far sooner than their stated 100,000 hours of use?
  • Extended delivery and installation times?
  • LED display cabinets made of pre-rusted steel or worse- cabinets that actually leak?
  • Limited-range wireless systems which are intermittent?
  • Electrical wiring that looks like it was made from re-constituted and painted dirt?

And the list goes on. How do you explain the weekly service calls? That is not only embarrassing but there is a real cost that someone pays for- you, the sign company, or the customer. We all know that there is no such thing as a free sign repair!

Here are three prior blogs, previously written here, that may help you learn what to look for in a quality LED display and the characteristics of an outstanding manufacturer partner.

Take a look:

Product Consistency and Long Term Success with LED Sign Manufacturers

Digital Signage Learning Curve, How to Tell a Good Manufacturer From a Questionable One

Is Anything Really ‘Made’ in the USA?

Really, we all know what happens when we sell poor quality a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. We put some money in our pocket today, but by tomorrow, it starts to jump back out of our pocket as a result of poor warranties, defective hardware, excessive training and re-training costs, trip charges and time wasted dealing with unhappy customers and obstinate product manufacturers.

Only buy and sell quality LED displays and keep your profit! While many young wishful girls may believe unicorns are possible, most grownups are wiser and know that there is really no such thing as a free lunch- first rule of economics!

These comments are my personal perspective and do not reflect the opinion of Vantage LED, Inc. or SignVine, Inc. or any other person or organization. If you have constructive feedback please email me at  - Mike Prongue

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