CE Pro Summit: ‘Stop Fighting DIY, Embrace It’
Integrator at the CE Pro Summit in Washington, D.C. emphatically challenges the custom electronics industry to stop fighting DIY home automation equipment but instead develop packages and sales techniques to embrace the equipment.
CE Pro Summit: ‘Stop Fighting DIY, Embrace It’

During a panel discussion about new technologies at the CE Pro Summit in Washington, D.C., an audience member asked panelist Michael Wilson of Bethesda Systems in Bethesda, Md. how to “fight” DIY home automation systems … and he got a bit angry.

“Don’t fight it. Go with the wave,” he said emphatically. “Show the client a demo of what you can do. If you embrace DIY equipment, you can increase your sale because you can do something with that equipment that someone may not be able to do.

“I don’t believe in fighting it. If your client is going to buy a Philips Hue, Nest thermostat or Lutron Caseta, you should sell it to them. Figure out a way to put the stuff together so it works all together for them in one app, especially for a production home,” he continued.

As an example, Wilson mentioned Big Ass Fans. “They actually tie into Nest. There is decent profit. There is profit to install it and automate it,” he notes.

“Again, I hate it when I see integrators fighting all this stuff. Embrace it and upsell it. We are all salesmen. The worst salesman in the world is someone who pooh-poohs something else because you lost all your credibility,” he said passionately, receiving a spontaneous round of applause from the 200 or so audience members in attendance.

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So how do you maintain brand loyalty to particular vendors in the DIY model? Every week you are switching to another product based on the selection made by the consumer.

Wilson says there is an easy solution to that problem. “Homeowners are looking to you for advice. They might see a particular product or three or four different manufacturers that they might like. You need to pick one that you know and trust. Tell them, ‘This is the one I like and here is why.’ At minimum you may be able to get them to think about using the product that you carry.”

Another option is the create packages around various DIY equipment that you are comfortable with and can stand behind. The end result of embracing DIY equipment is ultimately ending up with referrals from that job, which could turn into a much larger project down the road.

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