As we reported, many retailers still find Digital Signal Processors a difficult category to master. For the retailer looking to enter the category or improve its merchandising of DSP, here are some tips from two industry leaders in acoustical training and installation: Ken Ward of Educar Training and Andy Wehmeyer, President of Audiofrog.
Ken Ward’s Suggestions:
Get some training in a tuning process and then spend about 12 hours learning by doing, preferably by installing a DSP in your own car, says Ward.
Get the right tools. Store owners should invest in an RTA. Don’t expect your installers to have one.
“Talk to your manufacturers. The best ones will find a way to get you guidance.”
Ward also recommends learning what good two-channel stereo sounds like. Find a local home audio shop and ask for a demo of a really good two-channel system.
Remember DSP is an investment in your ability to install complex systems into vehicles. And complex systems are more profitable. Plus DSP helps you deliver on a car that sounds superior, again a worthwhile investment for your shop.
You may want to go with the higher end DSPs that give you a better return on your investment spent in tuning time.
Invest in training floor salesmen in the higher priced DSPs.
Finally, a tip for manufacturers. “Manufacturers need to understand that the hardware they are shipping today is 100 times more complicated than the hardware they were shipping 10 years ago, and they need a strategy for dealing with it.”
Andy Wehmeyer’s Suggestions:
If you want to sell DSP, you have to stop talking about DSP and start demoing DSP.
The best DSP demo is in a car. Context matters. Unless your customer is an audiophile or a gear head, all of that chatter about crossover alignments, delays and EQ will confuse him and every good salesperson knows that customers don’t buy when they’re confused.
Tell your customer that he has to have a DSP. Put it in the quote. When he asks, “Do I really need that? What is it?” put him in a car that includes one. Let him listen. Then, turn off the delay settings and the EQ and say, “That’s what it does. I can remove it but I think you’ll be much happier with it. About 80 percent of our customers choose to include one once they understand what it’s for.
Why do it this way? It’s faster than the explanation. You don’t have to talk about delay and position like you do when you try to demo DSP on your sound board—“Stand here on this piece of tape” seems to many customers to be a contrivance. Finally, inviting him to be a member of the smart and “in” crowd by applying a little peer pressure at the end gives him an extra incentive to purchase.
Wehmeyer reaffirms the importance of working with your suppliers. “Of course, someone in your organization has to be able to make a system with a DSP sound good, but there are plenty of resources available to help with that. Ask your suppliers for this training. If they can’t provide a straightforward process, then look for a partner who can.”