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Ed's AV Handbook
Batting practice for the AV Professional
and primer for the novice

Chapter 9  Page 2

AV Sales Training
  A sale in 5 steps

5 Steps

I considered titling this page as
"A sale in 5 easy steps". 

Although the steps may be easy to follow,
the discipline to execute the 5-steps requires a professional effort.

Before we proceed ... prepare to confront.

The most common obstruction customers face in making a purchase is ironic.  It's a salesperson.  Too often, customers must confront high-pressure tactics, ignorant staff, and lies.  Or worse, they are ignored. Therefore, assume customers will initially expect more of the same from you.  Prepare to confront and overcome this pessimistic expectation at the outset.

Step One: Meet & Greet

Comfortably confront, greet, and prepare to listen to your customer as you carefully observe their responses.  However, if approached too quickly, customers will perceive your initial approach as high pressure.  Yet, if not acknowledged within a respected-period of time, customers will judge this as being ignored.

So, what is too long?  What is too soon?  My answer, based on more than four decades of experience, is no sooner than 15 seconds (unless they approach you first), and no more than 30 seconds.

To grasp the meaning of the 15/30 second principle, stand silent for 15 seconds.  It's long enough to run a TV ad.  Then stand absolutely-silent for 30 seconds to acknowledge why someone might feel shunned.

Avoid greetings that allow for single word answers.  That is, avoid questions such as "Can I help you?".  They will respond with No.  Greet with "What can I do for you"?" or "How can I be of assistance?"  Be creative.  Prepare unique applicable greetings.  But use common sense and remember what your mother said, "Be polite."

Step Two: Qualify

Qualifying is an interview that clarifies customer desires.  It's about asking relevant questions while respectably listening to responses.  Good-qualifying demonstrates and establishes your credibility and trustworthiness.  Professional qualifying lays the groundwork for an expert proposed solution that leads to an inevitable closed sale. 

This step separates the professional from the amateur order taker who allows customers to walk away empty-handed, alienated, and disappointed.
The following shortlist offers some applicable qualifying-questions.
  • Ask - are they shopping for a family room home theater system?
  • Ask - are they shopping for a dedicated home theater room?
  • Ask - are they shopping for a stereo audio system?
  • Ask - are they shopping for a distributed audio and or video system?
  • Ask - are they building a new home or is this a retrofit installation?
  • Ask - is their emphasis on movies, music, sports, other?
  • Ask - for an estimate of the room dimensions plus window and door locations -- create a sketch.
  • Ask - for furniture placement, which may affect speaker placement?
  • Ask - for types of lighting and window coverings used, which may affect video performance?
  • Ask - about the type of flooring, which may affect room acoustics.
  • Ask - about significant room aesthetic issues.
  • Ask - where can the speakers, TV, and other components be placed?
  • Ask - where will the head-end electronics be housed?
  • Ask - will the head-end location offer easy access for installation and maintenance?
  • Ask - will the electronics have ample ventilation?
  • Ask - are the electrical outlets conveniently located?
  • Ask - will they use streaming services, cable TV, satellite TV, off-air TV?
  • Ask - for a list of current audio and video sources: turntable, CD player, LaserDisc, etc.
  • Ask - for a list of who will operate the system. This may effect the type of remote control selected.
  • Ask - will the head-end cabinet impede remote control operation?
  • Ask - who is handling the installation?
  • Ask - when will they be ready for a pre-wire?
  • Ask - Ask, Ask, Ask ..................

Step Three: Recommend

Base on the qualifying information, recommend product and installation guidance that solves their problems and fulfills their desires.  Then get your customer involved with a floor demonstration or an alternative form of on-the-street presentation. 

During the presentation/demonstration, look for positive responses such as an open interested-posture, a smile, tapping toes.
A retreating, falling away, demeanor with a blank look indicates they misunderstood a word or phrase. 
A closed stance, anger, anxiety is an indication they missed a step in your explanation. Uncover the obstacle and explain it more clearly.

Step Four: Close

If you have professionally executed your job, and the customer is sincere, then respectively assume the sale.  Politely ask for a convenient installation walk-thru or installation date.  Ask for the sale.

Step Five: Follow Up

After the delivery and installation, follow up with a phone call & thank you note. 
The follow up is an opportunity to unearth misunderstandings or needed adjustments.  The follow up can also set the table for future purchases.  
This also a good time to ask your customer for a referral.


Take your plan to the floor; then assess its results.

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Ed's AV Handbook   
Copyright 2007 Txu1-598-288 Revised 2024

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