Let’s start where every good business starts, with the opportunity and why you should take the risk of trying to sell PoE Lighting and automation systems. The reality of COVID and 2020 has highlighted that the purpose and function of offices and buildings is evolving.
In a recent EC&M report, industry experts highlight that Integrated Building Management Systems are going to grow by 12% year over year with the overall industry growing by almost 11 billion dollars in the next four years.
Despite the growth potential, the market is still highly fragmented leaving room for innovation to enter and drive the market.
And most interestingly of all, industry experts agree that the key driver is the advent of IoT which brings the intelligence of the internet to our daily experience with the world around us. It is clear that the market has a pent up demand, so who is demanding this automation? Is it restricted to the Apples or MIT’s of the world? Let’s talk about who you’re looking for.
Who is this huge potential market? Our assessment shows you’re looking for buildings and spaces less than 200 thousand square feet and that need to attract occupants or satisfy regulatory requirements through technology. Who are they?
They are bars, restaurants, legal offices, insurance agencies, doctors offices, and the industries serving larger technology companies. They are schools and training centers. They are new builds, tenant finish outs, and renovations.
And intuitively for every new $5B Apple campus, there are thousands and thousands of these smaller projects happening every year in the US alone.
And they’re not finding the solutions they need. Why?
The reality is that existing building technology has developed into siloed islands making the adoption of integrated systems too costly for most businesses and institutions.
For example, your blinds can’t inherently communicate with your lights which in turn can’t communicate with your access control or HVAC. You have to pay a premium to have one technology silo communicate with another.
Even if you invest in the proprietary intelligent systems available, you end up with scattered, unorganized analytics of the data you’re paying to collect.
The only way to overcome these barriers is through another layer of costly, complicated systems that are perpetually out of date as more new siloed technology comes out.
However, even with this in-efficient, costly approach using technology from the last century, the integrated building market is one of the fastest growing market segments in construction. All of this leaves the door open for a technology and business model that can become a game changer in the market.
That’s where you come in. Power Over Ethernet offers the integrated level of technology users and organizations like LEED, WELL, and municipalities are expecting at a cost businesses can finally afford. You can integrate powered systems and offer facilities a 36 month RoI by bringing down the capital expenditure for such a system by 30% and driving down utility and labor costs by up to 40%. The right PoE partner makes IoT available and the obvious choice from a business perspective.
So who are you targeting with this information? And where do you find them?
You’re looking for owners and operators who need lighting and automation controls and want to differentiate themselves through technology.
To be clear, you’re not looking for someone trying to find a cheaper alternative to existing simple function light switches. PoE Lighting and automation packs far too much intelligence to compete with a $5 light switch and $50 light fixture.
Yes, do look for schools and campuses. However, broaden your net to include your current customers doing restaurants, physicians offices, retail stores, lawyers offices, insurance agents, and high-end homes. Done right PoE lighting and automation should benefit all businesses.
A quick note here about finding and helping someone decide to test out PoE lighting and automation. All decisions are emotional. Scientific studies have found that people make decisions based on emotion after they’ve considered a situation analytically. So . . .
Come ready to sell them an experience and an idea of what their life and business will be like after they’ve installed their PoE lighting system. We have found that videos and real life experiences make the biggest impact on potential customers. Bring them either to a live or virtual demonstration where they can touch and feel the experience of interacting with automated lighting. For example, we have a quick demo intro video used to drive that initial interest in the products.
Then, you bring up questions of how PoE automation helps with code compliance, LEED points, WELL points, Energy Efficiency, and most importantly style.
And, timing is everything. So let’s talk about the best time to talk to potential customers about PoE lighting and automation. Your goal is to have a conversation with them as early as possible. In project management terms this is often called the Concept or Planning phase. The goal is to have them considering a PoE automation system before they’ve staffed a lot of consultants. Why? Because early on you only have to sell to a couple people. Once a project gets architects, consultants, designers, and contractors, you basically have to sell to everyone on the project including electricians whose scope you’re likely taking. At that point, it’s a lot of work with a low likelihood of success.
Speaking of decision makers, getting in front of the owner and decision makers is where smaller projects and your position as the ICT installer becomes most valuable. It’s a little known secret that owners rarely bid out their ICT installations more than once. When an owner finds an installer they feel comfortable with, they call that installer back time and time again. So as ICT installers, you have a unique advantage to get in front of customers.
Now let’s cover the steps you can use to introduce and sell a PoE lighting system to a customer. First, and foremost, I’m assuming you already know or have met this person before. If not, you’ll need to do basic discovery on the customer. However, for this exercise, let’s assume you’ve met this person before and you have an idea they’re interested in a PoE based lighting and automation system.
Your first step is to request a meeting with them to learn more about the potential project they may have. You may be tempted to come to this meeting loaded for bear with every bit of potential information the customer may potentially have. You’re ready to stand up and shout from the rooftops about why they should do PoE lighting.
Do come with a short introduction slide deck ready in case they sit back and ask to see what you have. That deck should have some higher level benefits for the customers on why PoE makes sense. For example you could crib the first part of this presentation.
However, your main goal for the first meeting is to understand their project needs. If they’re willing to tell you what the project is, what the customer needs, and what they hope to get out of it, that’s 24 karat gold. You ask questions, you listen, you give them the floor to tell you what they need.
Then at the end, you ask if you can schedule a follow up meeting to demonstrate how you can provide them what they need. For example, you could offer to do a preliminary design or you could ask to meet again for you to present some concepts that would hit their needs. Your goal is for this next meeting to demonstrate to the potential customer that you’ve really understood their needs.
You may need to redo meetings one and two a couple of times, however, at each meeting you should ask if now is the right time to get a preliminary quote. Let’s discuss quotes for a minute. Customers may ask for quotes right up front, usually without even having shared the design with you. What they really want to know is whether they can afford all of this before they invest a lot of their time and effort to help you put together a detailed proposal.
The answer is, yes, you can help them create a “budgetary quote” with very little design. In order to get a final quote, however, you’ll need design material such as a reflected ceiling plan, electrical plans, and any specifications including division 25, 26, and 28. If your customer is small enough, they may not have any of that. At which point, I recommend you download an app like MagicPlan, take the dimensions of their space, and use that to make a quote.
You do need to get a quote to them because no client has ever installed something that wasn’t quoted first.
Finally, expect to do a lot of follow up. Don’t be bashful about it. Any good customer is usually so busy they appreciate someone who will help them not miss an opportunity. Simply be pleasant and consistent when you reach out. And, don’t hesitate to be upfront in asking if they’d rather you stopped reaching out to them after the first time or two. It will save you time and reduce their hassle.
So, where does PoE Texas help with all of this? Most importantly, you should know that you’re not alone. At PoE Texas, we’re set up to support installers and contractors like you to be successful.
We will help provide you with proposal and marketing materials from Power Point slides to YouTube videos to offers to visit existing or demo facilities
We can support you in creating preliminary designs for an automation system for customers and specification information they could use as needed.
Most importantly, we dedicate a resource to you so you know who you can turn to when you need information or support.
And the kind of support you can expect is rapid quote turn around time. You can expect preliminary quotes in a matter of hours and detailed quotes with design information in a matter of days.
Let me be clear. You can know we support customers and installers from concept through completion into operations. Because we’re an experienced team with a background in project management, we know what it takes to make a project successful. We’ll be your partner all the way through the process with the right hardware and support.
I’ll end on this point showing you the team behind you in your sales effort. You have a bench of experienced industry professionals who want to see you succeed in your process to become a PoE lighting and automation installer. So, you’re not going into this alone, and you have this team dedicated to your success.
Thank you very much for making time to watch our presentation on how to sell and present PoE lighting and automation. Obviously we can’t pack everything you need to know in a 30 minute presentation, and this is just a starting point for you. However, we’re happy to help you manage this process for your business.
If you’d like to learn more, you can find all of our resources at www.poetexas.com or on our YouTube channel. You can also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak directly with a PoE expert.
We wish you the best with the rest of the show this week and look forward to seeing you at the next BICSI show or catching up after the show. We’ll see y’all next time!