Unlike Baby Boomers who can afford high-end devices and are willing to pay for them in their homes, Millennials are happy with the basics and have confidence that they can install much of it themselves.
“All week I’ve been making a list of things I want to retrofit into my own house,” says Conley Black, a Millennial and new home consultant for Goodall Homes in Nashville. However, when one of his friends bought a house through Goodall, he told Black, “I was disappointed that you don’t offer any automation.”
This got Black thinking about technology. “If you offer technology to Millennials and if it’s priced right, they’ll do it,” he said. “They can do it themselves; they don’t have to pay us 40 percent more. But we want to make it easier for them. You can do it later and pay $1,000 out of pocket or pay $5,000 and do it now.”
Maybe it isn’t such a hard sell, but it can be intimidating for salespeople who don’t know about the latest products.
“More customers are coming in asking questions about technology,” says Laurie Myers, purchasing and design manager at Nilson Homes in Northern Utah. “And we’ve got the deer-in-the-headlights look. They want tech included in their loans; they don’t want to go aftermarket.”
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Her company is considering smart garage door openers, lock systems and a smart thermostat as a standard for Millennials and then putting together packages of additional options.
Clayton Burnham, another Millennial and estimating manager at Hubble Homes in Boise, Idaho, says that to get salespeople excited to sell tech, they have to use it. He’d like to find low-cost offers for his sales team to install it in their own homes.
Selling technology to Millennials doesn’t have to mean offering a fully connected home. It can be as simple as including structured wiring, which can encourage Millennial DIYers to add more features during the sales process and afterward.
“These are people that are online constantly and they don’t trust anyone to do it themselves, so you can create that infrastructure in the wall and they can build upon that system how they like,” says Burnham. “All our buyers have different price points they’re trying to meet, so we have to have tiered levels of what they can do.”
Kelly Small, sales and marketing manager at McCall Homes in Billings, Montana, says her company is considering offering a standard package as well as potential upgrade options. “Making sure that whatever they have in their homes is adaptable to future needs is going to be important.”