When a homeowner begins working with a builder, they are looking to them as a trusted advisor and partner. Someone who understands what the nice-to-haves are, in comparison to the need-to-haves. Oftentimes, this distinction can get lost in translation.
The building industry continues to evolve, as does the endless possibilities of smart home packages and features that so many consumers are beginning to not only want, but demand. There are a few things to consider before evaluating these demands. As home automation is intended to make a homeowner’s life simpler, asking questions about what kind of home can achieve a less stressful environment, is necessary. As customers select the perfect model for their home, builders also can determine what is actually viable in the home for those that choose a smarter model, and what devices will best meet their buyer’s needs.
Currently, there are up to 13 billion smart devices in use, and this number is expected to grow, according to the National Association of Home Builders. As it does, consumers will look to builders and installers to be experts on how their new home will operate and to easily guide them through any new features or technology.
To be able to provide the above recommendations and knowledgeable guidance, builders can do a few things to prepare for homeowner conversations that will make the experience easier, faster and more successful from the start.
1. Install and experience products in your own home
When advocating for a smart model or package, it’s best to truly know and understand the smart features as if it were your own – and builders and builder showroom personnel should do just that. It’s certainly much more difficult to recommend something if you don’t know the firsthand pro’s, cons, and how it operates in a home. Installing products in your own home can help you consider how the devices have been beneficial to your lifestyle, and how they have not. This will help you to provide better counsel on the product’s impact on someone else’s home and life. Homeowners will appreciate both the knowledge this gives the builder or showroom employee and the feeling that they are speaking with a fellow consumer of the product rather than an unfamiliar source trying to sell them something. Clearly identifying and communicating what did and didn’t work in your own home can quicken the process of determining what kind of home will work for the client as well.
2. Get firsthand insight at a manufacturer showroom
If installing a product into your own home may be too big of a step, visiting manufacturers’ showrooms or experience centers is a perfect way to get a real feel for the device and still provide a personal description to a client. So many manufacturers are coming out with new smart features daily and it’s beneficial to see what’s out there and how they operate in person rather than just information that is available online or in-store. Although smart products advance regularly and manufacturers are always working towards the next best thing, a client’s lifestyle might be better suited for a more simplistic home so it’s worthwhile seeing the difference in person. Showrooms like Leviton Live allow builders to get face-to-face insight on products in a variety of business and residential settings to experience how Leviton’s products impact a space.
3. Provide immersive customer service with a builder showroom or model home
Taking another step toward creating a personalized experience for homebuyers, builders have begun to host their own showrooms or model homes. Design studios and builder showrooms leave nothing to the imagination, showing customers exactly how smart lighting and technology can integrate into their own homes. The Tuskes Home Design Studio is perfect example of how to get it right and how it can be beneficial to all parties. Displaying a wide array of Leviton products, customers are able to engage directly. In a case study on the studio, Tuskes Homes reported that many clients come in unsure of the technology – and somewhat intimidated – but once they are given the chance to explore, they understand it better and they want it. From an installation perspective, showrooms or model homes also allow homeowners to test products and acclimate to the technical aspects of smart homes, should they choose that route.
At face value, recommending home packages and add-ons that a builder is already familiar with may seem like an intuitive process, but providing a well-rounded, informative, and a personalized experience can create a high caliber level of service. Builders can differentiate themselves by taking proactive steps that pave the way for a trusted relationship with their clients.