by Matt Scott
Lighting is one of the most overlooked aspects of our industry and yet is one of the most important. If used and controlled properly, it is the one thing in every installation that can evoke emotion, set the mood, and beautify the space! Find me another piece of gear that can do that. Here's a hint... you can't! And yet, when you ask most systems integrators, lighting control is usually way down the list of products that they're excited about. Most systems integrators don't give lighting control a thought, and if they do, its usually their last thought.
Almost every project you specify can, and should, have a lighting control aspect. Whether this is an integral part of the project’s scope or in the form of an upgrade path that the client can utilize at a future date.
Often when I meet with a new client, I usually take an opportunity to speak about the wonders of lighting control. Well, to be honest, I talk to new clients, old clients , people I meet in the mall, people at the coffee shop... everyone I talk to, I talk to about lighting control! I take the opportunity to talk about lighting control with as many potential clients as possible. Why do I do this you ask?
The biggest complaint I hear when I talk to other integrators about lighting control is that they can't sell it, their clients don't know what it is, and because they don't know what it is, their clients don't care about it. The problem most integrators run into is that their clients don't understand the concept of lighting control. Herein lies our biggest opportunity.
To be successful as a lighting control dealer, you must take every opportunity to educate your potential clients on the concept of lighting control. We used to be well familiar with the concept of customer education, but it is a practice that seems to have gone by the wayside. We used to spend significant time with our clients teaching them about their options and what is available to them to ensure they were able to make a informed decision, but now everyone wants to get in and get out as fast as possible. This approach wouldn’t work when you’re selling lighting control. You need to show them what it is and why it's beneficial to them. Our clients are people just like us. They need a reason to purchase something. You can't just drop lighting control on a proposal and have every client sign off on it. They're not gonna go for it, trust me!
But when you take the time to invest into your clients and you convert them to the dim side (get it... dim side... ‘cause you dim your lights... there you go, now you got it), you will find that your lighting control sales will grow! Now when you are initially approaching the concept of lighting control with your potential clients, you have to address it differently.
Unlike most systems, where you meet with the client and assess the scope of the AV system and a few hours later, presto, you've got a proposal, with lighting control, you need to approach it differently with each customer. You need to highlight the different features and benefits of lighting control that will speak to that individual project.
With clients in the restaurant industry, you should highlight the way lighting control helps them to achieve the right mood and setting for the vibe they want to achieve in their restaurant. You can explain the ease of using timeclock and sensors to automate their restaurant’s lighting so that it just happens and no one has to remember to deal with the lighting.
With a large commercial space, you should discuss the ease of use and energy savings that automated lighting control can bring to their business.
With houses of worship, lighting control can be a huge benefit to the ministry you’re working with. In HOW, there are so many benefits that should be covered. You can discuss the energy savings that can be achieved through lighting control when you utilize dimming, timeclocks and occupancy sensors. Not to mention the great benefit of keypads that are incredible easy for volunteers to use and operate to control the lighting scenes throughout the building and during services.
These are just a few examples of ways in which you can work with your clients to help them the understand the concept of lighting control and how its a benefit to your customers.
Just like any products that are new to your customers, lighting control won’t sell itself, especially if your customer doesn’t understand what it is. You have to put in the work to properly educate your clients on what lighting control is and how it will benefit their lives and businesses. But once you do that, it's an easy sell!
May your future be BRIGHT and your lights DIM!
Matt D. Scott is president at Omega Audio Video in London, Ontario
by Matt Scott