In many industries we need to evolve beyond what is just considered ‘need’ to know. If I think back to my origins as an electrician, there was only so much success to be found in the business if I simply continued to screw power points into walls and lights to a ceiling.
As our buildings moved forward to include such luxuries as motorised windows and blinds I needed to learn how to connect them up. Ten years ago this only included a button for ‘up’ and a button for ‘down’. Not too hard at that point.
Soon afterwards the renewable power market exploded and we adapted to include solar and wind power to our services. These then integrated further to include energy monitoring and additional cost saving controls for the home.
Skipping a few revolutions and revelations, we end up in the here and now, where the technology in today’s homes has never been so advanced, diverse, and for some, overwhelming. Especially if you are one of these poor punters that are trying to sell these smart homes on the market. So, how do you go about being better prepared and ultimately in a better position to sell that place?
1. Understand the technology
I know this sounds obvious, the whole ‘know your shit’ paradigm, and no doubt this would be consistent to any industry built on sales (which industry isn’t?), but people have been making this mistake forever, and if you make it, it will have two major effects on the sale:
Firstly, you’re not going to know the answers to their questions, and the potential buyers are going to leave feeling a little uneducated on what they are getting for their money. And as a result of this, buyers are going to see you as either dismissing their questions or fumbling for the (wrong) answers and they will lose confidence in you. If they don’t trust you chances are they won’t buy from you.
2. Have it functional when they are there
If it takes an extra visit from a technician, maybe a couple hundred bucks in servicing… Don’t be a tightarse, get it done. The average home that has this luxe level of functionality and technology will normally be a better-than-average home in a better-than-average street. It will be the best money spent during the campaign. Nobody buys into promise. They will however buy into performance.
Imagine you walk into a car dealership and there sits the car of your dreams. It’s the new Audi wagon and it has every single feature you want. As this is quality German engineering it also has a hefty price tag, but hey, these cars are worth it right? You take it for a test drive and love the experience of pulling out of the car yard and pushing the pedal a little closer to the metal than the salesman would probably prefer. It’s a warm day so you best put the AC on, but after a few minutes it still hasn’t kicked in. No worries, you’ll lower the windows and get a nice cool breeze flowing through. But only 3 of the windows work. Do you immediately buy that car? No, you take a look at some others and tell your friends that you drove this slick new Audi and the AC and windows didn’t even work!
3. Love what it does
People love passion. Period. If your response to their tech related questions is something along the lines of “Well, I guess you could use it that way. I think you will probably like it.” the energy is gone. The fact is when people are buying homes, particularly for themselves to live in, they are vulnerable. I’ve been there. You have a wife who is already talking about the furniture and the garden, the kids are playing on the built-in playground and I am mentally calculating the biggest shed I can fit in the backyard. For the punters that you have already identified as potential buyers, all they need is the inspiration, passion and conviction to spend their hard-earned money. (And if you really don’t think that Smart Homes have any benefits, then there’s an even easier solution – Get someone else to sell it!)
4. Be able to show the real benefits it offers
Interaction is G.O.L.D. People love to touch, to feel, to experience. Ensure that the home is not just functional (point 2) but also functioning! Have the windows automatically open during the middle of the open house because the home has heated up due to the extra bodies inside. Turn the music down on your iPhone when a buyer comes to you with a question. Have the screen drop down in sync with the blinds in the Cinema room before the very latest movie (which cost you a measly $3.99 to download!) projects out in high-definition. All you will hear is “Oh my god, did you see that? I want this home!”
5. Have simple guides or brochures
Where would you get guides on how to use all this stuff? You don’t even know who installed it. Try this little tool called Google. This will be the quickest and easiest part of the whole preparation. It doesn’t need to be perfect but it will give the visitors something to take home. They can read it over the crucial first cup of coffee when they get home and the whole experience will stay with them a little longer. They will also be able to read the distributors/manufacturers sales pitch (which I promise will be far more inspirational than yours!) and picture themselves in that home with all these added benefits.
I am not in the real estate market, but I am a designer, installer and passionate owner of Smart Homes. Furthermore, I know that Smart Homes won’t actually be called Smart forever. They will just be homes. This super technology which increases security, efficiency, sustainability, simplicity and lifestyle will just be the norm. Don’t believe me? Tell me the last time you call that little piece of technology in your pocket a Smartphone and not just a phone…