Garage Door Accessories

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Garage Door Accessories
An untapped source of income for savvy dealer

By Daniel Nixa

HOME IS WHERE THE MONEY IS. Most homeowners cite their house as their single largest asset and investment and, as such, they are putting more of their discretionary income into maintaining and renovating every square inch of livable space than ever before. But what defines living space? According to a study commissioned by The Chamberlain Group Inc., a manufacturer of garage door openers and accessories, more than 45 percent of homeowners are turning the once-neglected garage into yet more living area.

Bill Keller, home improvement expert and contributing writer to the book Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff, notes the average, attached, two-car garage is 400 square feet of prime real estate ready for development. It’s bigger than most rooms in the home and just begging for a little attention. Keller contends fixing up the garage is a lot cheaper than building an addition.

The need for more aesthetically appealing and multifunctional accessories has become apparent as the garage is changing from a space used solely to house cars, tools and lawnmowers into a workout space, play area for the kids or home office. With more focus placed on the garage by the consumer, a new market in accessories is emerging to help meet consumer demand.

The Accessories Market

Like many appliances in the home, garage door openers and accessories have evolved to provide more options and, ultimately, more safety, security and convenience. Although the market for accessories is in its infancy, there is a large untapped market for add-on sales beyond the traditional remote controls and keyless entry products. Until recently, the focus has been on the safety and security of the opener itself. While efforts continue to make openers even safer, developmental efforts are also concentrating on accessories.

Since accessories are not high-dollar items and, therefore, less competitively shopped by consumers, higher margins can be expected more so than on the major components of the door and the opener. Because consumers don’t know much about what new accessories are on the market, they don’t ask for them. They don’t call a door dealer and ask for accessories. They call because they need a door, an opener or service.

A few extra moments going over the added convenience, safety and security new accessories offer can translate into thousands of dollars in extra sales and profits annually. The dealers’ sales staff or phone contact personnel should be comfortable explaining the benefits of each accessory and answering questions. That’s why product training and sales-skills development is essential.

The accessories currently available can create tremendous add-on sales opportunities and ultimately produce a more satisfied customer. Traditionally, once the opener and/or doors are installed, the dealer does not hear from the customer for another 10 years or so. Aside from an occasional service call, the relationship between the dealer and the consumer is based on brief contact with no real ongoing communication. Accessories provide the dealer another reason to reconnect with his customers and tell them about new products with updated safety and security features. When dealers choose to look for additional sales opportunities, they will find revolutionary new accessories aimed toward everyone, from style-conscious homeowners, to safety-conscious families, and harried homeowners looking for the latest in convenience.

Security and Convenience

We know customers have many concerns. So while conveying a contemporary image is important, so are safety and security. Families are ideal candidates for products such as wireless garage door monitors, which instantly alert homeowners if they have left the garage door open. At the other end of the spectrum, you can offer peace-of-mind to someone who spends a lot of time home alone, providing assurance that his garage is locked up tight.

Motion-detecting control panels that turn on garage door opener lights automatically when the homeowner enters are another accessory. These panels offer distinct benefits that are widely appreciated—once the consumer knows such a product exists. Is your customer a busy homeowner who always seems to have her hands full with groceries or kids? Suggest this option to make her life easier and safer.

Get to know your customers, and their priorities, interests and concerns. The solutions you offer can improve their lives—and your bottom line.

Daniel Nixa is the residential marketing manager for Chamberlain Professional Products, a division of The Chamberlain Group Inc. in Elmhurst, Ill. The Chamberlain Group manufactures and markets residential garage door openers, commercial door operators, gate operators, telephone entry systems and related access-control products. For more information call 800.323.2276; visit www.liftmaster.com.


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