Increasingly, alarm contractors and electricians are competing for business as technologies evolve and system integration often includes audio and visual components, as well as smart-home automation capabilities. Even in jurisdictions where licensing restricts security system installation to its trained and traditional practitioners, the lines are blurring as to where the entertainment and security systems intersect.
One way to leverage your security experience is to target home and business owners with information about integrated security services while promoting the distinguishable fact that your years of experience of working with a central station to monitor accounts makes your firm the best one for the job. Make it clear that the most critical integrated system components — the burglar, fire and environmental-monitoring devices, as well as two-way voice capabilities — are your forte. If you, as a prospect, had to choose between companies with similar offerings to install an integrated system, wouldn’t you hire the firm with that specific skill set that could help protect your family or employees?
Offering A/V installation services may even present an opportunity to focus on vertical markets, such as multifamily housing, assisted-living facilities or retail establishments to name a few. More and more, electronic security is displacing human guards, so simply planting that seed now may bear fruits later.
Focus on Existing Customers’ Markets
If it has a sensor, it can be monitored. These should be encouraging words for alarm dealers who work with an advanced central station. As a sales-driven industry, your choice of a central station impacts what services you are able to provide customers and as such, the recurring monthly revenue (RMR) you are capable of generating.
Learning from customers about their operations and which components can output important data in real-time enables you to customize a monitoring program.
It makes sense then that you examine your existing fire/burglary customers — commercial accounts, in particular — to figure out what other services they might purchase from you on a regular basis. For example, you could target vertical markets such as manufacturing plants. While it is very likely they have a full-blown commercial fire system in place, alarm dealers can lock in more revenue by monitoring their operations. The owner of a product-producing plant is as keenly interested in knowing that production is running at planned levels as he is about protecting the facility. Learning from customers about their operations and which components can output important data in real-time enables you to customize a monitoring program that can alert of mechanical failures or environmental abnormalities.
Another untapped revenue source is monitoring the virtual world of online enterprises that indeed require brick-and-mortar facilities. Just like a manufacturer needs to know product is being produced for sale, the online entrepreneur who counts on clicks to meet payroll must know immediately if/when their Web site fails. However, unlike a manufacturer that has humans on the production line, an online business owner will not notice anything is awry unless they actively seek out the data from clicks and sales several times a day. Until that happens, their business has effectively shut down.
By considering all possibilities of monitoring — not just the traditional ones — that can be applied in similar settings, dealers can come up with comprehensive bundled packages for various vertical markets.
Leverage Your Central Station’s Capabilities
The single most important aspect of system monitoring is that failure is not an option. There is a tremendous difference between third-party audited central stations and companies that maintain an alarm receiver and employ a few call-takers.
Explain to your customers about UL-required fail-safes, contingency plans and requirements for multiple locations to achieve true redundancy. Let them know about training and staffing provisions that must be followed, as well as periodic testing procedures that must be performed.
Be sure they are aware that if a central station does not follow the industry’s best practices, have N+1 redundancies and open its facilities to outside auditors, they are betting that central station never encounters a utility problem or suffers the full wrath of Mother Nature. These are all points in your favor when competing with novices.