Custom Install: Invest in Technology and You’ll See Returns
W hen Benjamin Franklin said the only two certain things in this world are death and taxes, he may have been a little bit shortsighted. Dealers know not to neglect the moments of work and play in between, because leisure and productivity are two of the biggest motivators of technology purchases.
Tax season is a fitting reminder that the parts, labor and expertise that you provide all year can be quantified not only by revenue and expenses, but also by the overall usefulness that your hard work provides to your customers.
In that spirit, dealers are encouraged to consider how their customers’ personal income tax or corporate tax filings affect their technology decisions.
For many consumers, the size of their tax return decides not if they’ll get a new TV but how big it will be. Your professional recommendations to customers help them make more intelligent decisions about their technology future. Educate them on how to think of technology as an investment—whether related to family life, business matters or some combination therein.
First of all, tax-deductible or rebate-eligible purchases should be on your customer checklist. The government isn’t just about handing out cash for clunkers. There are quite a few opportunities for dealers to enlighten customers on potential savings this year or in the future.
While not everyone may be able to install solar panels and geothermal heating systems, common upgrades that improve the energy efficiency of a home—such as the popular Nest thermostat—may amount to monthly savings and be eligible for additional rebate incentives.
Additionally, technology for a home office is tax-deductible if used as a principal place of business. AV equipment or related electronics that help your customers generate income may also be subject to beneficial deductions come tax day. It goes without saying that the tax laws for businesses allow a bit more freedom in developing technology systems and infrastructure that are considered deductible.
Another sales approach is to incorporate customer recommendations that will result in a return on their investment. Real estate industry resources are quick to inform homeowners about changes they can make that will result in a quantifiable value being added to the property in the event of its sale.
In-wall speakers, structured wiring and intercom systems are valuable, useful products that typically remain with the property. Improvements to the electrical system such as wall-mounted power supplies, outdoor utility extenders, surge suppressers and power conditioners connected to critical systems in the home may also result in long-term added property value.
You’re already pitching custom security systems, automation and control components. Take a moment to explain to the customer that these uniquely tailored parts of their home are likely to raise the property value long after their personal enjoyment transfers to the next owner. Work
with them by recommending options and add-ons that will be most compelling to real estate investors. Position yourself for future work by being the point of contact that helps those systems evolve as technology does. Lighting control systems that mitigate heating and cooling bills in perpetuity are a convenient example to communicate the value that your suggestions will provide in the long term.
Tax time is a key turning point for other projects as well. At the end of the day, a return on investment is great, but turning your customers’ AV fantasies into reality is the best. For many, a return from Uncle Sam is found money.
By making a note to touch base with your customers after the new year, you will be well-positioned to begin work by the time their refund checks are burning a hole in their pockets.
Speaking of finances, Benjamin Franklin also was attributed with the phrase “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Continuing education in your product expertise, in the evolution of the industry at large and in sales techniques will merit dealers with a developing business model that is prepared for tax season and the great variety of other opportunities.•