That guy in the coffee shop typing away on his phone could just as likely be adjusting his home’s thermostat as texting his buddy about their golf tee time.
Yes, the IQ of homes keeps getting higher. Realtors who understand how to sell these homes will be tomorrow’s top producers.
No doubt, the technology is cool. I have a friend in Las Vegas who’s all about smart homes. He has one and he can block the electricity and Wi-Fi to his kids’ bedrooms with his phone if they choose video games over homework.
It looks like lots of U.S. consumers are like my buddy – they’re ready to embrace smart homes. In July, the Consumer Electronics Association estimated that connected home technologies’ revenues in the United States will hit $967 billion in 2015, up 32 percent from $732.58 billion in 2014.
And new research from Coldwell Banker Real Estate and CNET found that 28 percent of internet users now own smart-home technology. And they like it, too. Over 90 percent said they’d recommend smart-home technology, and 87 percent said such products made their lives easier. Further responses suggested that smart-home technology could play a role when it comes to selling or buying a new house, too.
When non-homeowners were asked about what would make them consider buying smart-home technology, lower costs and more information emerged as themes. Nearly half said they’d buy smart-home technology if it was less expensive, and about one-fifth would buy if they better understood how it all worked.
So what’s this mean for you, the Realtor? What do you need to know to be a better agent for consumers in the age of smart homes? Here are some tips that could make you as smart as today’s homes:
1. Don’t ring the bells and blow the whistles. With smart homes today it’s easy to get caught up in all the bells and whistles. But remember, consumers want to know how it helps their lives. It’s the old sales adage: sell the benefits, not the features. Focus on what the smart home actually offers homeowners in their daily lives.
2. You have to learn before you can earn. These days you can’t fake your knowledge about anything because consumers can do a quick internet search and learn what they need to know. That means you have to do your homework about smart-home technology. Take time to research what’s new and how it helps consumers. Always think value – what value will this give a buyer or seller. I compare it to car sales – sales folks get regular training on all the new-car gadgets and upgrades and what the bottom-line value proposition is for each one.
3. Know what to show. As you’ll learn, new technology is coming on board regularly, so you need to identify what’s most appealing to consumers. Today, for example, polling earlier this year by Icontrol Networks found that consumers are most interested in connected home cameras, thermostats, connected lighting, connected door locks and connected appliances. Frequent travelers like remote access to lighting.
4. Don’t have a “senior” moment. Yes, research says Millennials like smart-home technology – that’s almost a given. But don’t count out the older Baby Boomers or seniors. They’re starting to learn smart homes have advantages and that these homes can help them, especially those who have mobility issues.
Tell me what you’re thinking. What’s the smart-home market look like where you are? Are you hearing more talk from consumers about smart-home technology? What are they saying they want? How do you rate yourself in terms of understanding smart homes? What can you start doing today to be better at selling smart homes?
Bubba Mills is executive vice president of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. (800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems for residential REALTOR, mortgage brokers and real estate companies.