Mike Bloomfield is president of Tekie Geek and a member of The ASCII Group since 2016. He spoke recently with The ASCII Group's Alan Weinberger on tips for selling smart home products and which products to keep an eye on.
Q: Smart technology is revolutionizing the way today's homes are being set up by making them more efficient. What are the different components that make up a smart home?
Bloomfield: The ecosystem of today’s smart home has ballooned, as end users are finding more reasons than ever to move toward total efficiency. Years ago, smart homes primarily consisted of centralized lighting systems to control only one thing—lights. In 2017, that has grown, and some of the core components for smart homes now allow control of the following:
- Security and Safety
- Personal Assistance
- Energy Efficiency
In 1989, we watched in awe during Back to the Future Part II as the home said, “Welcome home, Marty.” How many of us wondered when will we get to see that in our home? Now in 2017, that home is here and only getting better year by year.
Bloomfield: I sell smart home products to residential customers primarily, and most of my initial contact is related to the “safety” portion of smart homes. The Ring Video Doorbells have given me the opportunity to work with extremely profitable clients. No one wants to say no to safety products because everyone wants to feel safe in their home.
Once I have my foot in the door, I offer a free consultation to walk around and see how things are. I then work to upsell them to other smart home products and audio/visual equipment, which includes 4K televisions, speakers, etc. There is also the possibility for MRR by offering service plans for supporting their products, monitoring their smart home, etc. I highly recommend placing the OnAisle8 OvrC Hub into any customer with a service contract and utilizing their WattBox rebooters. This will save you many pointless trips out to fix issues that can easily be handled remotely.
Q: How has the smart home ecosystem grown, and how do you select the proper protocol to move forward with?
Bloomfield: As with all technology, once it begins to take off, every major player wants to get involved. You now have wireless communication between various smart home products. Once you find a protocol to move forward with, there are numerous controllers that communicate with each. Luckily, it doesn’t stop there, as you are able to select a personal assistant to help control your house.
It can be quite overwhelming at first, but once you get started you will begin using what you feel is best. I pair various systems together to give the home owners the easiest control of their smart home.
Q: Which smart home products should MSPs be keeping their eye on?
Bloomfield: Ring has been a major player in the “safety” portion of the smart home. I feel they have revolutionized the doorbell and will continue to drive technology-based safety products. Recently, Nest (Google) announced their doorbell product that is to be released in Q1 2018. While these products are an easy sell, I haven’t found one client who didn’t absolutely love their Ring product after it was installed.
Also keep your eye on Sonos; they are near ready to release their integration between Alexa and Sonos. I think this will be a huge step to making an already great product line even better.
Q: Many feel that a smart home is something for a million-dollar home. Is there an opportunity for someone with a $200,000 home, and what would that look like?
Bloomfield: As with everything we offer as MSPs, budget will always come into play and it’s no different for smart home products. We all want the million-dollar homes but that is far from the normal. In reality, you will easily be able to sell almost EVERYONE with safety products, including Ring Video Doorbells, Nest Protects, and smart locks.
Also, many electric companies offer various rebate programs for energy-efficiency products such as Nest Thermostats. It’s an easy sell when the electric company is paying a majority of the bill and the home owner will also save money on their monthly bill by being more efficient.
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