This Post Originally Appeared on CEPro.com on November 30, 2016.
Is your company ready to take advantage of this holiday season and all those smart home gadgets under the tree?
With Thanksgiving officially in the rear view, the holiday gift-buying season has kicked into full swing. This year, every major retailer from Target to Home Depot to Bed Bath and Beyond is attempting to cash in on the connected home craze.
Much will be made of this trend and all the business it could generate for home technology professionals. As one of those home technology professionals, you should ask yourself a critical question. Is your business positioned appropriately to take full advantage of this surge of interest in IoT and the connected home?
To explore this question, let’s look at the holiday season through the lens of two different integrators. First, you have the traditional integrator, whose value proposition lies primarily in selling hardware.
For this integrator, the oncoming wave of connected gifts will bring more service calls for products that the integrator didn’t either sell or install. Clients who receive some sort of connected device as a stocking stuffer will call these integrators requesting assistance.
At best, these requests will be scheduled in a timely manner, addressed with a smile and billed for profitably. Or perhaps the issues will be addressed grudgingly, in hopes that the client has been kept happy enough to call the next time they’re ready to spend some real money.
At worst, it’s a missed opportunity to create a better relationship which can translate into generating substantial RMR further down the road.
To the next generation integrator, the connected-gift giving season represents a much larger opportunity — a perfect chance to plant the seeds of a profitable service plan and build a lifetime relationship of technology management.
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One of the biggest challenges our industry faces as we move towards a service-based pricing approach is the battle to separate our perceived value from that of the equipment we sell.
Receiving a call to help with some gadget that Santa left under the Christmas tree represents a perfect opportunity to initiate this critical dialogue in a low pressure, non-salesy way.
This conversation can take many forms, and it need not be a hard sell. One simple way to bring up the conversation would be to remind your clients that these inexpensive consumer devices are notoriously fragile and that for a small price, you can install a monitoring system that keeps an eye not only on their new toys, and also on the health of their entire network.
You could even be proactive with this approach, sending out a newsletter blast offering to help with their new gadgets end espousing the benefits of your new service plans to help keep their devices running in tip-top shape all year long.
The most important takeaway for your clients is that you are a reliable resource for all of their technology management needs. Even if they don’t opt-in right away, you’ve succeeded in getting the dialogue started. And when the next inevitable time of need arises, your clients will know exactly where to turn.
However you decide to approach it, take advantage of the opportunity this holiday season presents to re-engage with a large portion of your existing client base; offer them a new way to think about their relationship both with you and with their technology.
If the only real life blood of your business is heavy product margins, then the rush of holiday gadgets probably doesn’t represent a whole lot to get excited about. To speak candidly, dealing with what you might consider a bunch of unprofitable service requests might be an outright annoyance.
If, on the other hand, you can leverage the trend of connected home gadgets to steer your clients towards a service plan, then this holiday season represents a much larger opportunity.
Approach it correctly and you could end up with not just a new revenue stream, but with lifetime relationships based on an ongoing need for service that never goes away. That, my friends, is a gift that keeps on giving.