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As smart home technology gains sophistication and popularity, the demand for integrated solutions is growing. However, many homeowners face "sticker shock" due to the perceived high costs. To foster trust and transparency in client relationships, here are five effective strategies to navigate selling smart home technology without causing financial surprise and avoiding sticker shock.
1. Avoid Being the First Bidder
Initiate conversations with potential clients about their expectations and budget constraints before providing a quote. Being the first to propose a number can lead to sticker shock, especially if clients are unaware of the value of the proposed smart home system. By gathering information first, you can tailor your proposal to their specific needs, softening the potential for sticker shock. Being the first integration company to throw out a number likely makes you the guinea pig that causes in sticker shock, especially if the client does not have the faintest idea of the value of the proposed smart home system. Instead, initiate a conversation about their needs, desires, and financial comfort, allowing you to tailor your proposal to their specific situation. The advantage of not being the first integrator to meet with the clients is that they have likely already been hit with a prospective cost figure so the potential for sticker shock from your proposal is softened. Of course, sometimes you cannot avoid being the first integrator to meet with the clients. Also, for smaller projects it might be beneficial to be the first to meet with the customers because the likelihood of there being a wide gap among proposals is lessened.
2. Float Ballpark Equipment Estimates
Instead of presenting a lump-sum figure, provide hints or ballpark estimates for individual components during the initial meeting. Discuss the approximate costs of items like high-quality speakers, projectors, smart thermostats, or security cameras to gauge the client’s reaction. This approach helps clients mentally prepare for the investment and fosters a realistic understanding of the overall project cost.
3. Break Down the Project into Smaller Tasks
Rather than presenting a single, intimidating figure, many integrators will break down the smart home project into smaller, manageable tasks, each with its own price point. They may even divide the project into different timeframes. This not only makes the project more digestible for the client but also allows them to prioritize aspects of the system based on their budget. By phasing the implementation, clients can decide which features are most important, reducing the risk of sticker shock while maintaining the integrity of the overall solution. Within D-Tools, integrators regularly will break down a project by system or even by room/area. It is not uncommon to see multiple proposals covering a single client’s location, which breaks up the cost into more bite-sized portions.
4. Discuss the Importance of System Design before Price
Before delving into costs, emphasize the significance of a well-thought-out system design. Highlight the value of tailored solutions that meet the client's specific needs, ensuring they understand the thought and expertise behind the proposed smart home technology. By focusing on design first, clients are more likely to appreciate the investment and see the long-term benefits, mitigating potential sticker shock. D-Tools Cloud has a built-in design visualization tool that can assist with this effort, while D-Tools System Integrator (SI) can integrate complex drawings from Visio and AutoCAD into the proposal.
5. Be Transparent throughout the Sales Process
Maintain transparency throughout the sales process to build trust with clients. Use a budget calculator during the system design phase, allowing clients to see pricing as they make selections. The Home Technology Association and the Home Technology Specialists of America buying group offer budget calculators for building systems. This interactive approach enables clients to make informed decisions based on preferences and financial considerations, reducing the likelihood of unpleasant surprises.
By implementing these strategies, you can effectively navigate the challenges of selling smart home technology, ensuring a transparent and collaborative relationship with your clients while avoiding sticker shock.