Of all the consumer electronics products the one which consistently turns in the biggest business for the independent dealer is large-screen TV. It also offers the most and the best opportunities for trading up – in turns of product upgrade, service and accessories. And I’m not thinking only of stands and leads, important though they are…
As a service-orientated company our first resource for adding value to a sale is the special installation service we offer. It is taken up by many of our customers. Much more than an unpack and plug-in session, we connect up all the customer’s peripheral equipment, provide the leads and interfaces, and programme the operational software (generally in the installation menu, sometimes in the factory/service one) for optimum compatibility and co-operation between them. Then comes a quick course in driving the TV, and tweaks for the new user’s specific tastes and needs. This is very useful to punters who are not specially tech-savvy, and is charged for equitably.
The only other upgrade we try to achieve at the point and time of sale regards screen size. Virtually everyone who buys a big TV will use it for sports and movies, and it’s little-known fact that to take advantage of a 1080-line display the best viewing angle is between 30 and 20°, corresponding roughly to a viewing distance of 5 to 10 feet for a 42in screen, 6 to12 feet for a 50in screen, and 8 to 15 feet for a 60in TV. At greater viewing distances the high definition capability is being wasted – trade them up, then, to their proper size.
Other trade-ups consist mainly of peripheral boxes, and here we find that on the spot and at the time it can be difficult to sell further major equipment to a new TV buyer. Human nature is such, however, that the passion for a new gadget, be it a TV, mobile phone or whatever, lasts a while after it’s in, up and running, and it’s important to strike while the iron is hot. So how about a follow-up, by phone or post, just one week after the TV has gone in, perhaps with the latest offers on associated gear? This really does work, and a primary advantage of it concerns sound bars, external speaker systems to boost up the soundstage of a large screen TV. Virtually all such panels have very tiny speakers whose performance does not begin to do justice to the big and beautiful screen image, but you can hardly drive this point home when you’re selling the TV. To the real movie enthusiast some steps towards a home cinema can be suggested, with a surround audio or all-in-one system.
I find that people’s interest and enthusiasm for their new TV certainly extends, initially at least, to making best use of the high definition capability and HDMI portage, and thus they are most amenable soon after a TV upgrade to buying a high definition set top box, now available for use with all three air-broadcast platforms; and particularly a Blu-ray deck – it amazes me how many people are not aware that these are compatible with ordinary DVD discs, and with many other types carrying sound and pictures. Now that Blu-ray recorders are about they provide a one-box resource centre for silver discs of all sorts. At the very least we would hope to sell an upscaling SD disc player.
If the delivery/installation technician takes with him a good universal remote control there’s a good chance he can sell it on the spot, especially where audio and surround equipment is in use, beyond the embrace of Sky orf other proxy zappers. For a skilled, enthusiastic and knowledgeable technician there are various specialist accessory opportunities, ranging from wireless headphones and video senders to infra-red ‘beam-benders’ of the sort marketed by Keene Electronics: they facilitate remote control of equipment which is out of the viewer’s – and their zapper’s – direct line of sight.
Think beyond stands and cables, then, and try to remember when you last had a new car, house, gadget or whatever, and your ‘honeymoon’ with it, when your iron, so to speak, was hot. Maybe a good salesman could have enhanced your pleasure in it at that crucial time?