About 15 years ago, I went to an Electronic Trade Show called CEDIA. At the time we were a large Design/Build System Integration Firm and we were talking with the Midwest Representative for a Home Automation Manufacturer. While we were looking at all the latest gadgets, the REP stated to us that we were the largest dealer in the Midwest. My Associate joked by asking, "Is that by weight?" The REP said, "No, you guys sell the most product in my territory and thus get ALL the referrals that come in to our Midwest office."
As a firm always looking for new projects, leads coming from a manufacturer were a plus as usually not only were they "Hot" but also qualified, so they tended to close faster.
Let's move to the present. A few weeks ago I was called to see a potential client. He had purchased a home that Tech Tonic designed and had all of the following technology systems:
He had called the manufacturer of the Home Automation System to find out who was the best Company in the area to help him customize the electronics for his family. This manufacturer just happened to be the same Home Automation company that I discussed above. As such, they referred him to the top grossing firm of their product.
He was aghast to get a proposal for tens of thousands of dollars for new equipment. He was also smart enough to know that something was not right. He then called again and asked for another installation firm. The Midwest Rep gave them the Number 2 in sales for the area. They came out and presented a quote again in tens of thousands of dollars.
He then found our Tech Tonic card.
I went to the home and found the systems rack in complete disarray. New cable boxes installed but not connected correctly. The network was unplugged with wires everywhere. Nothing worked and deservedly so. It appears two things had happened. First, the new homeowner not familiar with the equipment that was purchased thought they could connect the system back up and it would magically work. (Makes sense.) Second, from what he said, the firm vying for his business had sales guys trying to reconnect wires who had absolutely no knowledge of the system.
As Consultants for home and commercial electronics, when we visit your home we look for solutions, not a series of black boxes to sell. In two hours and with no tools I was able to get almost all the systems online. He asked if I could come back and fix everything. I told him the best option would be to use the company who installed our designs into the home. He understood and while I was leaving he started to call the contact I had at the company.
He said he would call us back to review their proposal as this is a service we provide. I could not help thinking as I got in to my car of the joke my Associated said. "Is that by weight ?" You bet it is! How much "weight" a Custom Installation firm has with a manufacturer is based on their sales numbers. Anytime you call a manufacturer to ask for the top/best dealers of their product, what you are really asking "Can you tell me who does the best job of selling the most product?"
Unfortunately, this may NOT be the company you are looking for. Depending on your needs, they may not even be in your top 10. Your best call should be to someone who has your interests in mind and knows the field with years of experience.