As high-end home audio dealers drop like flies, a few new dealers pop up now and then. Is it possible for them to succeed where others have failed?

The old joke goes:

If you want to be a millionaire in the high-end audio business, you first need two million dollars… and wait a few years.

This business is very capital intensive compared to many and requires a relatively large investment to buy equipment to have on the floor to give demonstrations with.

You also need to pick a theme for your dealership.

What will be your theme? Will you cater especially to golfers? To people in a specific neighborhood? To lovers of country music?

So simple, yet so essential, you need something to set yourself apart from the rest. You will be hard-pressed to catch up to the big brick-and-mortar dealership with decades of growing their customer lists – but you can go broke a lot slower by making yourself unique in some way. Whether you travel around the country giving in-home demos, or share a love of cigars with your customers, you need to find something that attracts a customer base.

You also need to find reputable product lines to carry.

  • they must support their products when they break
  • they must be able to supply you with product when you get orders
  • they should do at least some marketing themselves
  • the other dealers who carry the product must have a good reputation.

There are lots of other requirements, those are just a few. Also…

You need to love the gear you carry. At the very least because You will end up hearing it a lot as you demonstrate it to customers

Many dealers ignore this rule. They get gear in because it got a great review from somebody and they hope that they will be able to sell a lot of them. This sales-first approach also results in hastily and poorly setup systems, systems that have equipment in them that do not sound good together, and many other problems symptomatic of not really caring about how things sound. These dealers can be successful because many listeners do not know how good things can really sound – and believe these poor sounding systems are ‘as good as it gets’.

There was a time in the industry not too long ago, when it seemed that the high end audio dealers were improving. But given their poor showing at shows, I think not.

If there is interest in this line of thought, we can post more articles on this topic.




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