Sunday, January 27, 2008

Selling Home Security Systems

I had an appointment with a wife and husband about installing a system in their new home. The couple had recently retired and moved to the city where I worked. When I arrived, another guy was getting out of his car. I figured that the couple was price shopping for a system.
Price shopping is not an exact science for security systems because companies do different things. Very seldom, do you actually get to compare apples to apples. The other salesperson arrived at the door at the same time I did. The couple let us in. Once they had identified which companies we belonged to, they informed him that he was late and would have to wait until I had completed my presentation before they could speak with him.
I couldn’t pass an opportunity to see my competition work, so I elected to allow him to give his presentation first. I didn’t have any other appointments to rush to anyway. They liked the idea, and, little did they know, so did I. The last thing you want, to be rushed because another salesperson is in the room. Worse still, when his time comes, he has the advantage because he knows what you’ve offered.
He began his presentation and conducted a short walk through of the home with the couple. He explained how he’d install a motion sensor in the living room and hall, because, in the event of a break-in, the suspects would make their way to the master bedroom, knowing that was where safes, jewelry and cash were usually kept. He also informed them that he’d install contacts on the three doors to the house, the garage entry door by the laundry room, the front door and the sliding glass door to the backyard.
When he was done with his little attempt at consulting, he informed them that the price was minimal, $199.99 for the install, and $24.99 per month for the monitoring of the system.
I looked at the body language of the couple and I really didn’t like what I saw. They were eating this up and price was what this was all about. I was sitting there with a proposal I’d written up for them based on the layout of the home provided to me by the builder, and the price for my system was a great deal more than what this other salesperson had offered.
Some guys fold at this point, but having been in the game for a while, I knew I couldn’t let this sale be about price. No way could I win at that game and I refused to even play it.
The first thing I did when the salesperson left was, eliminate the price of the system out of the equation. I did this by shaming them both for even thinking about it. I informed them that he had given quite a good performance, but it was ludicrous to think of securing a $300,000 dollar home with a system that cost less than the one in the Mercedes they had parked in the driveway. They looked at one another.
Furthermore, I informed them, I designed a system that protected more than a home, it protected the most valuable things, the items we cherished the most, ourselves. I finalized this by telling them that no security company could protect them and actually keep them safe for $199.99. It just wasn’t possible. I said, “You can get the system he proposed and hope you are safe, or you can purchase the system I designed specifically for you and this home, and know you are safe.”
With that, I handed them my typewritten proposal and thanked them for their time. I got into my car and laughed all the way down the road knowing they’d call soon. I had gotten approximately five miles away when my cell phone rang, and the husband asked, “When can you bring us a contract to sign?”
The proposal I’d left for them to read contained crime statistics for the area, a list of the clients that we serviced, and a breakdown of how our system actually worked. It also had a price of $1,800 for install and $35 per month for monitoring.

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