Smart home device trends present an opportunity for professional integrators to land more clients than ever before by promoting the long-term value and benefits that professional solutions can provide instead.
In the past couple years, smart home technologies have become mainstream consumer favorites. From smart outlets, RGB LED lighting solutions and Wi-Fi-connected doorbell security cameras sold at big box stores to premium complete home automation systems installed by professional integrators, it seems everyone wants their home to be at least a little smarter.
The fervor can be traced partly to the technologies themselves, with many manufacturers greatly improving the capabilities, ease of use, aesthetic design, device compatibility, and cost of single-purpose devices. Cultural shifts have also aided the rising popularity, as everyone from tweens to grandparents have rapidly become accustomed to low-cost products from global tech brands. Even if all they do is ask their smart speaker for the daily weather forecast, they love the experience and feel of interacting with a futuristic tool.
For professional integrators, these trends present an opportunity to land more clients than ever before by promoting the long-term value and benefits that professional solutions provide. When someone is outfitting a home with smart technologies, information and experience are worth their weight in gold, and integrators can present themselves as the sure-fire way to guarantee a great smart home experience in which everything works as expected and can even grow to deliver new capabilities in the future.
Built to Last
Alongside the heightened interest in smart home technologies, many homeowners today are also beginning to recognize that the throwaway products and culture that we’ve had for decades isn’t working anymore. Many people are now looking for higher quality products that last longer and provide premium features, even if they have to pay more for them.
For smart home technologies, the most important factor for user satisfaction is the ease of use and reliability of the product. We’re all accustomed to the simplicity and surety of light switches, and we want to have that same level of trust when we use a smartphone to change the climate settings or remotely unlock a door for a visitor.
The experience and knowledge that professional integrators bring to the conversation can play a huge role in instilling confidence in homeowners diving into automation for the first time. If a potential client asks why a specified solution or product costs more than a cheap DIY gadget, then it’s up to us to clearly and specifically explain the core benefits of our solutions, as well as the drawbacks of DIY or piecemeal options. Questions such as, “Would you enjoy having a single remote control your TV and streaming devices?” or “How great would it be if you could turn all the house’s lights off at once?” can help clients envision the real-world experience of a proper solution.
Know Your Worth, Show Your Worth
The difference between a professionally designed and installed system and a DIY solution can be enormous, and it’s vital that any potential client understands that you are not simply trying to upsell them to more expensive products but actually provide them with a far better experience. For integrators with a showroom or a local demo property, walkthroughs can quickly demonstrate the seamless nature of professional systems and how they neatly integrate various subsystems into an easy-to-use interface.
This can also be achieved by showing images or videos of past projects, whether on a company website, in a brochure, or in other printed material. This is where it can really pay to have testimonials, as well, particularly if past clients were pleased with your attention to detail, responsiveness, and the ease of working with you as a contractor. Since most modern systems can be expanded and updated to extend capabilities and compatibility with new peripherals, even small introductory smart home installations can be significant for your integration firm.
It’s also crucial to connect the available technologies with the clients’ specific desires to demonstrate the full value and power of integrated solutions. Whether they are music or TV buffs, host a lot of parties, travel a lot or absolutely love voice control, you can specify exactly how a professional smart home system will enhance their home experience.
The Age of the Real Smart Home
For clients who have prior experience with smart systems, the recent advances in capabilities, reliability, and ease of use make these conversations and demos even more important. In short, past experiences do not always reflect current realities.
To win over skeptical clients, we can rely on the experience that they desire, explaining how a professional system ensures that controls are consistent from room to room, that the home can be operated through a single mobile app or wall controls, and that we know how to make everything work together seamlessly. Currently, there is no DIY solution that provides easy, consolidated control of disparate systems with any reliability. We can also stress the importance of using trusted manufacturers that won’t end product support unexpectedly and convey our personal ability to provide ongoing maintenance or troubleshooting, just like an electrician or plumber.
Physically using a professional system interface versus a DIY interface can be a lightbulb moment. This gets to the core of the homeowner experience and allows integrators a simple way to show how much better and more reliable a professional solution is. It can be as simple as opening a smart home app and letting them quickly navigate to lights, TV, security and climate controls, then giving them a more basic DIY app and noting the limitations and separate apps needed to have the same level of control.
Dispelling the DIY Myth
While the low cost and extensive marketing of DIY solutions may catch the eyes of some homeowners, it’s still true that the average person is no more equipped to outfit their home with a full automation solution than they are to design a nuclear reactor. While the scale and consequences of those projects are obviously different, the fact remains that every part has to be installed perfectly to ensure proper operation. Like any other service provider, it’s up to us as home professionals to instill confidence in our capabilities and then deliver a final product that does what the client asked for.
To most people, modern smart homes are essentially magic, and they can provide major benefits that simplify and improve everyday home life. Like a magician, we as professional integrators spend years acquiring the knowledge that makes a seamless experience possible. By clearly communicating our skills and providing with information about the vast advantages of pro solutions, we can ensure business growth and create repeat customers who trust us enough to recommend us to friends and family. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and it all starts with us.