As an independent security dealer, you have no doubt observed the increasing prominence of home automation services. By definition, home automation is the bundling of life safety and lifestyle services into one solution that allows an end-user to manage his or her security system and basic household functions via pre-sets or by controlling them remotely.
The appeal? Home automation means that the homeowner no longer needs to worry whether he or she has left the A/C running all day, or that the back door is locked, or that the kids have arrived home safely from school. In the fully automated home, uncertainty is a thing of the past.
Given those obvious benefits, one is tempted to say that home automation “sells itself” — but we know that is not true. If you are an independent security dealer — i.e., if you’re not one of those large telcos or cable providers or home-improvement retailers that’s now dabbling in home automation — then it falls to you to sell these new technologies to your customers. Doing so not only increases your recurring monthly revenue (RMR) but also ensures that your customers know you can give them anything those telcos and cable providers can — at least as far as their home environment is concerned — which, in turn, increases customer loyalty.
Impediments to Making the Sale
First, and most fundamentally, your customers must know that you offer such services. Those within our industry know that the security dealer offers much more than “just” alarm services, but the rank-and-file customer may still be prone to some limiting assumptions. So, the first priority is to reach out to your customers in the manner that’s most appropriate and cost-effective for your particular business and let them know that you are fully equipped to provide them with state-of-the-art home automation products tailored to their needs.
After customers learn that you offer such services through a trusted provider, the resistance to the sale typically comes in one of four ways:
- The customer doesn’t perceive a need;
- They see it as being too expensive;
- They doubt they will use the services enough to justify the cost; or
- They find the technology confusing and off-putting.
Obviously these very legitimate concerns must be overcome if you, the independent dealer, are going to reap the RMR benefits native to home automation. Fortunately, the concept of the “use case” provides an easy and effective way to do just that. Simply put, use cases are relatable vignettes — or brief stories that present simple and commonplace hypothetical scenarios — which all potential customers can understand and have almost certainly experienced first-hand.
Making Use of Use Cases
When it comes to selling customers on your suite of home control products via use cases, a three-pronged approach is useful because, broadly speaking, home control involves three primary market innovations: monitoring the household and surrounding property in new ways, using emergent technology to reduce utility bills and bringing keyless-access solutions to the home environment.
When you are conducting an initial sales consultation — likely for a customer interested in alarm servicing — you will be presented with many opportunities to demonstrate the appeal of home automation with a use case. For example, counting up the number of sensors needed to protect the front entryway? Mention that a camera targeted on the front step would provide another layer of certainty, not just with regard to potential intruders but also with package deliveries and, say, the comings and goings of a teenage daughter. Perhaps the customer would even be interested in replacing or foregoing alarm sensors in favor of cameras. This would mean more RMR and more lucrative hardware sales for you.