A Simple Plan for Selling

Every builder I meet would like to increase profitability, and the biggest component on which builders are experiencing lost revenue is home technology. Many builders are willing to let this money go to aftermarket retailers and designers than take on the liability of dealing with the latest in technology. The simple fact is that every one of our customers is buying high-definition televisions, surround sound, distributed audio systems, home theaters and/or motorized drapes. This represents a significant amount of money after the builder has received a certificate of occupancy and turned over the residence. 

The biggest reason builders shy away from technology is a bad experience in the past with a technology partner. Set that aside and recognize that technology has become the biggest growth industry within the homebuilding arena. It is time to get back on the bike and start peddling again. 

Even though many builders are doing very well without offering many technology upgrades, it is nearing a tipping point where our customers know more about new home technology than many of us do. Our clients look to us for expertise, and if the answer to their questions is “I don’t know” or “I can’t do that” the clients will figure it out on their own and request that you work with their subcontractors or risk losing the contract. 

Builders do not have to be experts on every aspect of lighting control, surround sound, home integration or the latest audio/visual components, but they must be able to provide a resource for their clients to get all of these products in one stop. Many builders are opening themselves up to problems by advertising structured wiring packages when they do not know the capabilities of these packages or the client is dissatisfied when they cannot hang a plasma on the wall they expected. 

The time to eliminate these problems is at frame stage when the low-voltage prewire is being installed, by having your technology partner walk the house with the client and explain what is provided and what additional services are available at the end of the job if they add the appropriate wire today. Many clients think nothing of complaining that the installation of motorized drapes is cost-prohibitive in their new residence because they will have to replace drywall to pull the necessary wires across the house. Their common complaint is, “Why wasn’t it offered earlier?”

To become a technologically advanced builder does not require adding a low-voltage license to your resume. It means partnering with certified installers who continually get education and have a diverse product line. The best resource for finding certified installers is to locate a designer on the CEDIA website at www.cedia.net. You can review products and services available by each installer in your zip code.

The second reason that builders have shied away from the latest technology is that they consider it to be cost-prohibitive. Many small custom builders do not have a model home and do not have the budgets to include many items in their spec homes. These builders should work with a local integration firm that caters to builders, architects and their clients. This type of firm should be able to provide a proposal to your clients that will clearly explain what is available and be able to show all of the items they offer in an actual living environment.

If your marketing budget allows for it, I recommend a showhouse or a showroom that displays the products you offer. If that is not a viable option, then look for a partner and bring your clients to their showroom or showhouse and demonstrate each product they offer. 

Once you make the commitment to embrace the latest technology and offer it to your clients, it will pay for itself many times over and give you a distinct advantage over the competition.