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CEDIA Smart Stage Preview: Selling Technology

The CEDIA Expo Smart Stage features discussions on selling tech that have been around for a long time as well as the latest trends.

CEDIA Smart Stage Preview: Selling Technology
Ed Wenck

If the anecdotal evidence is to be believed, home cinemas and media rooms are booming. A big reason? A year (or more) at home can’t be discounted – the pandemic had integrators’ clients taking stock of their AV situation. “The consumer now sees themselves spending a lot more time at home, and that makes the sell a lot easier,” says George Walter, president of Rayva, a firm offering home theater package solutions.

Walter, who’ll be hosting a panel on the CEDIA Expo Smart Stage titled “Hot Ticket: Selling Immersive Home Theaters/Private Cinemas,” outlines the next challenge:

“When you talk about home theater, everybody has a different opinion. This is probably the only topic that if you asked that question to 10 different people in our industry, you’d get nine different answers.”

It’s an interesting conundrum – especially considering that home cinema solutions were one of the primary segments when CEDIA was formed in 1989.

Case in point: “Recently I saw an article on the surge of home theater. They defined ‘home theater’ as anything larger than a 47-inch display and a soundbar.

“Huh?”

Closing the Deal

“That’s essentially a big-box-store purchase simply hung on the wall,” says Walter.

It’s taking the client to the next level that interests him here: “When a client comes into a discussion with a definition of a home theater being a 65-inch TV and a soundbar, and you make the proper presentation, they leave that discussion with something very, very different. ‘What does it look like when I have a 120-inch screen? What happens when I do completely immersive sound?’”

Part of the trick, notes Walter is keeping the content familiar. “I once did a presentation for an extremely wealthy person. At the end of my presentation with the gear he’s considering, he says ‘I have a couple of my own videos. Do you mind if I look at them on the screen?’ My stomach started to tighten and I’m like, no, this is not great.”

The client produced a pair of music videos – and shortly Walter knew he’d closed the deal. “The client said ‘I watched these at least once a week and they’ve never looked this good or sounded this good.’ I realized that sometimes it’s not showing a client the best content, it’s showing them something that they’re familiar with.”

Now Define “Wellness”

Another term that eludes precise definitions: “wellness.” Anthony Antolino, chief commercial officer and chief marketing officer for Delos (the firm responsible for the “WELL” building standard), notes that the pandemic triggered a massive increase in their segment, too.

“We have taken a very research and evidence-based approach to understanding the indoor environment, where statistically we’ve spent 90% of our time in the past 16 months.

Related: B2B Tech Firms Build Trust With Buyers Through Social Selling

How does that indoor environment affect the human condition?

“Things like cognition, pulmonary function, cardiovascular health, immune function, productivity, sleep and wake cycles, stress, hormone balance, digestion, you name it.”

The panel Antolino will host on the Smart Stage is called “A Wellness-based Business: How to frame it, sell it and live it,” and he has a clear mission regarding the session.

“Everyone wants their homes to be contributing to the health and wellbeing of the families or the occupants. If you’re a developer, if you’re an architect, if you’re a homeowner, if you’re an integrator, everybody wants to bring these benefits forward. I think there’s still a gap between the concept of making a home healthy and understanding — if you’re an integrator — what is the business model associated with that? How can I make money doing this?

“It’s my closing question for the panelists: You’re a veteran of the industry. What are the top one or two things that your fellow integrators can take away from the session today and turn into business for tomorrow?”

Several CEDIA Expo Smart Stage Sessions address ways to generate more success in both new and traditional segments, including:

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