Dear Builders, Why Don’t You Return Our Calls?
Why they should make the call.
Today we start a different set of posts. We are going to start talking about those of you building or remodeling a home. We’ll be discussing how involving us as home technology specialists can provide you an amazing experience in your home and save you a ton of money in the long run.
Our first post is taken from an outstanding article written for ResidentialSystems.com by Henry Clifford, President of Livewire, an integration firm in Richmond, VA. The article goes into the most common objections builders have to involving us from the beginning of a job, and explains why that just doesn’t make sense if they are truly looking for the best experience for their clients.
Dear Builders, Why Don’t You Return Our Calls?
Dear Local Builder:
Hey there! Yep, it’s us, your local home technology professionals (HTP), we’ve been growing this year, and 2017 looks poised for even more expansion (thanks in large part to projects we have cranking with your competitors). We’ve been doing some thinking about why you won’t talk to us. A few thoughts came to mind:
1. You heard we’re expensive.
Fair enough. When you compare our pricing to an electrician or competitor who doesn't understand their financials, we appear higher priced in the market. Consider this: most of us need to sell at a 40-point gross margin to hit an eight- to 10-point net margin. Even so, we know it’s tempting to do business with our trunk-slamming “one- to two-man show” competitor. History has shown us these relationships don’t last, and you’re stuck with a revolving door of recruiting a new HTP every 18 months. You wouldn't do this with an employee, so why the vendor rinse cycle? One of the adages that we live by is, “first pick whom, then pick what.” We might be more expensive, but we’re worth it.
2. Your clients only want simple solutions, not some “fancy” home control system.
Somewhere along the way you were burned by a bad experience. We feel for you and we’re sorry you did. We’re not all bad. A good HTP listens to the client and designs solutions, versus “installs products.” Our solutions may range from a simple home network to a “fancy” home control system, depending on what the client needs. Don’t assume that you know what your clients need in their homes. Partner with a professional to help sort that out. A good HTP can collaborate with your client and keep them in the driver’s seat. Just like your homes, every client is different and each solution should reflect that. Don’t dumb down your offerings just because of a bad experience.
3. You feel like the homeowner should be able to pick whomever they want to work with, so you’d rather stay out of the way.
We get this. Sort of. If your client wanted to work with their own plumber, framer, or electrician, you’d put your foot down, but you’ve seen the subjectivity in home technology tastes, and maybe your once steadfast relationship with your HTP was called into question because of sticker shock on a job or two. Setting expectations goes a long way toward ensuring a smooth project. Let us know what your budget is as soon as you can. Better yet, involve us in the budget process, so we can generate a number together.
4. Everything’s wireless now; why would you need us?
True enough, there is a lot more emphasis on wireless technology today, but consider that the home network is now just as important as other systems in the home like plumbing or electricity. Consideration still needs to be given to wiring for network devices (wireless access points, switches, etc.), security, TVs, and at least one phone base station. No matter how wireless we get, pre-wiring before sheetrock is still the best way to ensure the best aesthetic result.
5. Your electrician can handle whatever meager wiring requirements in the home.
Maybe… but, our experience shows us that electricians are seldom specialists in home technology. At best, you’re likely to find generalists who will unintentionally short change your clients by focusing only on what they know best. We often hear from clients where the electrician was the only participant in the project that they wished they’d involved us with sooner. Rather than viewing the HTP and electrician as competitors or a one-or-the-other scenario, leverage both players as complementary vendors and encourage collaboration between them. A good electrician/HTP relationship yields a much better finished product with happier clients.
We get it. We’re not perfect. Far from it, but all we’re asking for is an opportunity to help remove friction for you and understand your business better. In turn, we’ll share where we are as an industry and where we’re headed, keeping your client’s happiness at the forefront of the conversation.
Your Local Home Technology Professionals.