One thing I can say with certainty about the industry we work in is that change is constant. While basic foundations like flat panel displays, projectors, and amplifiers for example remain stable, the way in which they are used and the way in which we connect with them is evolving rapidly. In the nearly ten years I have worked in this industry I have seen huge advancements in technology, most significantly I would say is the way that AV devices have evolved into networked devices. There have been other big changes in display technology (what happened to my dear friend Plasma??), panels have gotten thinner, lighter, larger, and backlight technology is almost exclusively now LED.
Change hasn’t been related just to the technology. Our business has become even more competitive over the years with regular new entrants into our marketplace including non-traditional AV dealers that are now competing for AV projects such as IT resellers and electrical contractors. At the same time customers are more educated and more selective in the technology that they adopt and the partners that they choose to do business with. With so much information available to the buying public at their fingertips you need to be prepared for engagements at a higher level than ever before. Product knowledge is an absolute must if you want to represent your firm in a positive light.
Working for a distributor like Almo I have the luxury of having regular visits and trainings from the top vendors in our market which in many cases is as frequently as six to eight times a month. I understand that frequency does not work for every business; however it is vital that you allow some amount of time for your sales and engineering staff to engage in manufacturer or industry related training as a highly trained staff will be a key differentiator for your organization.
In addition to meeting with your manufacturer and distributor reps I encourage you to take advantage of the educational opportunities available at events like the annual InfoComm Expo. If you prefer to stay local or want a more personal experience there is a nice selection of regional events throughout the year such as the Almo E4 AV Tour (www.e4avtour.com) which provides a full day of industry related training and CTS renewal units along with one-on-one time with the industry’s top manufacturers.
Whether it is a lunch and learn training with a vendor, a tradeshow event, or online self-paced course, you will add value to your organization by participating as you continue to differentiate your company from the competition.