Focus on Benefits, Not Technology
Like many technology-oriented industries, the security industry has a reputation for focusing on “feeds and speeds” rather than overall customer benefits. However, product specifications often mean very little to end users, who most likely do not know (or care) about the underlying technology.
Customers are typically looking for a security system to solve a particular need. They may need more detailed video, the ability to capture video in darkness, or event-based alerts. However, it generally does not matter to them if the solution is a megapixel camera with an infrared sensor or an IP camera with wide dynamic range — they just know they want an end solution that meets their immediate needs.
But what about when customers have specified that they want a particular IP video technology, and you think a different, more expensive solution will better meet their needs? This situation is commonly encountered when responding to formal requests for proposals (RFPs). In these cases, focus on the similarities between the two systems first, so customers understand why your solution is equally as good as what they originally specified. Then, lay out for them why the more expensive system is superior and will better meet their needs.
Also, think of ways to help customers solve problems by focusing on the various benefits of IP surveillance technologies. For example, in a retail setting, IP video can obviously be used to reduce losses from shoplifting, but it can also decrease insurance premiums by reducing liability for staged “slip and fall” accidents. IP video can also help retail managers make better merchandising decisions by allowing them to see store inventory and track customer flow through the aisles. By explaining benefits such as these, customers will be more open to upgrades that they had not previously considered.
Sidebar: Services Can Make Your Video Sales Soar
Avoid Deep Discounts
When it comes to paying for security solutions, most customers are not flush with cash, and it can be tempting to win business by slashing prices. Rather than offering deep discounts — which only serves to cheapen or commoditize a product or service — try offering payment plans instead. It’s often easier for customers to digest smaller monthly payments rather than a larger, lump-sum payment upfront.
Obviously, one way to offer payment plans is to extend customers a line of credit. Charging a monthly service fee can be another option. Cloud solutions are a prime example of this. Paying for security on a monthly basis, at a fixed rate, is easier for many companies to handle, and it creates recurring monthly revenue streams for dealers and integrators.
It’s very easy to use the monthly service fee model to upsell, too — cable television providers do this all the time. They offer a base rate for a set number of channels or megabits per second, and then customers can add more channels and faster data speeds at an incremental monthly cost. Going back to the example of cloud-based services, it’s possible to apply the same model to the number of cameras or users per customer you will support for a given monthly fee.
If the monthly payment approach fails, you may actually have to downsell and offer a cheaper alternative that doesn’t include all the features and functionality of the original security system. This can make sense if removing some features enables you to reduce your cost and still make a profitable sale. However, it’s important to make sure that the less expensive system will still meet the customer’s security requirements. It is always better to lose a sale than damage your credibility by selling a customer a useless system.
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