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2.21.20 – SSI – Smart locks can open the door to selling additional security and home automation offerings. However, there are a handful of mistakes you must avoid.

(This article first appeared on SSI sister publication CE Pro.)

There’s no doubt about it — an ever-growing number of homeowners want the convenience and security of smart connected locks and other smart connected security devices for their home. According to a 2019 study from business analyst group, International Data Corporation (IDC), the global market for smart home devices is expected to grow 26.9% year over year in 2019, and home monitoring/security will boast 16.8% of that market in 2019, and an even larger 22.6% in 2023.

Dealers in both security and home automation want to be a part of this growth, but there are some mistakes and misconceptions to avoid in order to maximize their efforts. Let’s start by talking about an approach that can unnecessarily limit the scope of your potential sales.

1. Don’t Think Small With Smart Locks

You might think that a smart lock should be sold in the same way as a traditional mechanical lock — as a stand-alone sale. This is not always the case, and certainly not an approach that will likely lead to increased sales to the smart lock customer. In fact, rather than thinking of smart locks as a stand-alone product, they can actually be viewed as a core component of a complete home automation system and are often one of the first purchases in the creation of a customer’s smart living space.

Smart locks contribute enhanced convenience as well as increased security, two of the principal driving factors in any smart device sale. In fact, a recent Parks Associates study found that 45% of smart home device owners cite convenience as the primary reason for purchase, while 38% made the purchase in order to protect their home and family.

Of all the products that comprise a smart connected home, from smart lighting to video cameras to thermostats, one can make a strong case that the best entry point for home automation sales is located right at the entry point of the home — with smart locks. Consider some of the many reasons that smart locks can be the centerpiece of a connected home:

  • Controlling access to the home is one of the most important factors in having a truly complete home automation system
  • Located at the front door, smart locks can easily become part of a homeowner’s routine
  • Smart locks can act as an extension of the central control hub and can be used to wirelessly communicate with and control other devices
  • Controlled by any Web-enabled device, smart locks can provide access control from just about anywhere, be it an upstairs bedroom or a distant vacation getaway
  • Smart locks owners can use a personal user code to enter the home, or assign a time-sensitive user code to let friends, neighbors, contractors or whoever gain access
  • Smart locks connected to a home automation system can maintain an audit trail of information about their use and deliver it to a controlling device

With their many desired benefits, smart locks provide a tremendous opportunity for integrators to upsell the customer to additional connected-home products. Rather than earning a one-time margin or making a single sale, dealers can develop longer-term, multi-sale customer relationships. The upshot is: don’t think small. Think of smart locks as a potential giant step toward providing a smart security ecosystem or even a complete network of home automation devices.

2. OK, Do Occasionally Think Small

As with any tech device for the home, one size does not fit all. Consider offering smart locks in a range of physical designs and footprints. Some homeowners may want a lock that blends in with their current décor, both inside and outside the home. They may desire obtaining all the connected capabilities of a smart lock but with the aesthetics of a more traditional mechanical lock.

Other customers may want a lock with a more sleek and modern design, as well as the functionality and aesthetics of a capacitive touchscreen and high-definition illumination — a style that suits the smart lock’s technologically advanced capabilities.  Either way, a smart lock should blend in with the homeowner’s existing hardware and be aesthetically pleasing, not stand out or look like it doesn’t belong on a residential door opening.

Then there’s the actual footprint of the lock to consider. For customers looking for a less obtrusive smart lock, some companies offer locks (like Kwikset’s Obsidian deadbolt) with reduced interior size to better complement a home’s interior design. For these customers, the ability to offer a smaller smart lock footprint can be a deciding factor in making a purchase.

3. One Protocol Does Not Fit All for Smart Locks

There are a range of home automation wireless protocols (also known as home control technologies), in the market. This is the language that connected devices use to wirelessly communicate with each other, and not all devices, or homeowners, speak the same language. There’s WiFi, Bluetooth, ZigbeeZ-Wave, Thread and others. Rather than provide a primer on these technology protocols, we’ll just highlight the importance of familiarizing yourself with many of them and offering a range of options. Don’t try to pigeonhole your business or your smart lock customers into one or two particular protocols.

Also, do be aware that although WiFi and Bluetooth are excellent options, if your customers want a connected smart lock — a device that can be a part of a home automation system connecting to other devices in the homes — smart locks using Z-Wave and Zigbee technology have the better range and are better options.

4. Don’t Downplay Security

A smart, connected lock is still a lock — and people buy locks to secure their homes and families. You should ensure that the smart locks you offer utilize the materials and technologies that can best accomplish that mission. Offer smart locks that provide material advantages such as all-metal, tamper-resistant interior escutcheons, UL listing and BHMA Grade 2 Certification. These are features that highlight the quality and durability of the device, features that will make new smart lock customers feel more secure in dipping their toes into the water of electronic locks and home automation.

Also be sure to seek out and highlight the possible technology features and capabilities of smart locks that ensure greater security and peace of mind. These features can include:

  • Technology that protects homeowners from lock-bumping
  • Anti-hacking features
  • The ability to easily re-key locks
  • Master-Codes that prevent the unwanted addition and subtraction of user codes.

5. Don’t Exclude New Markets

Don’t close the door on smart lock sales to potential customers who can’t or simply don’t want to change their existing lock. Consider a smart lock conversion kit to bring the convenience of keyless entry and home automation to a new consumer audience.

A conversion kit — a device that fits directly over an existing interior mechanism — can be an ideal solution for design-driven homeowners who want a smarter lock but also want to maintain the style of the front door or match an existing handleset. These kits are also great for novices, in combination with a home automation hub, in that they provide an easy-to-install, cost-effective entry into the home automation arena.

Plus, these conversion kits give renters the option to change out locks on their door — which opens up new markets including apartment, condo, and vacation property owners and renters. Conversion kits are a great way to convert old locks and new customers.

Be Prepared to Sell Smarter

Selling more smart connected locks is primarily about meeting the convenience and security needs of your potential customers, connecting them to the latest technology, and offering customers a range of options so they can zero in on the best solution to fit their home.

Customers will likely have a few questions before they commit to a smart lock purchase — about features, protocols, design, security, and the range of options, and your answers to those questions could actually drive additional questions.

The good news is that these questions will push the homeowner to consider how a smart lock will allow them to better control access to their home and drive additional smart product purchases in the creation of a whole-home automation ecosystem, further allowing them to enhance their lives.

The more the homeowner is engaged with their lock and their home automation system, the more satisfaction they will derive from this purchase. If you can anticipate these questions and are prepared to provide thoughtful answers, you’ll be best equipped to connect with your customers, as well as increased sales.

As North American Sales Manager for Kwikset Residential Access Solutions, Nick English is responsible for management of all sales and distribution through Pro Security channels, including sales and performance management of Territory Sales Managers and Key Account Managers.  English creates, develops, and manages division strategy for the Security / Home Automation channels, and the associated National Accounts, Direct Accounts, and Distribution partners and installing dealers within each channel.