Easy Tips for Upselling Your Alarm Sales

Why it is important to train your staff to recognize potential upselling opportunities.

As an alarm dealer, do you often find yourself after a sale asking, “How much did I leave on the table?”

If not, then you should be, as the process of upselling fire/intrusion systems should be integral throughout any alarm dealers sales and marketing program.

This month let’s put on our sales hat and consider some tips and strategies for upselling your alarm products and services.

You are probably already using upselling tactics in your initial sales proposals. One of the most basic sales rules is to offer your prospect a choice – not between taking or not taking your product/services, but rather between buying plan A or plan B.

Often plan B, with more or better products and services, is an upsell of plan A. But is this your only upsell opportunity? Not by a long shot.

Services for Existing Clients Can Equal Sales Add-Ons

Existing customers are a true goldmine of upselling opportunities that are often overlooked.

According to Paul Farris’ book “Marketing Metrics, The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance,” the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5%-20%, while the probability of selling to existing customers is 60%-70%.

This makes sense, as they know you and (presumably) are happy with your company’s services. With the proper training and financial motivation, your services staff can be a really strong upselling tool.

Train your services staff how to recognize potential upselling opportunities when servicing your customers’ products and systems. Simple equipment add-ons can be handled by the technicians, while other, more involved upgrade proposals can be referred to sales staff.

If a sale is made, make sure the technician receives their referral bonus. Of course, before that you must train your staff to spot upselling opportunities.

You Won’t Know Unless You Try

For some inspiration, I’ll share with you an anecdote about one of my best upselling experiences. How often have you approached a prospect only to find out that they already have an alarm system and monitoring service?

In these circumstances, my instincts typically told me to just move on to the next prospect. Then I thought, how can I upsell to these folks? I decided to offer the prospect a completely separate – often silent and inconspicuous – alarm system.

The additional monitored alarm system was offered as a check against the possibility of an inside job by the other alarm company, and vice versa, since I had no knowledge of the competing alarm company’s operations.

The customer felt more secure and I had an additional low-maintenance recurring account. It just goes to show, you never know what you might achieve once you create your own upselling programs

If you have a commercial customer that has service calls due to someone tampering with their security equipment then you might want to suggest an upgrade to anti-masking motion sensors.

You might want to suggest open and closing reports for a customer that has trouble with managers and after-hours theft. You might offer the addition of wireless tethering devices to reduce the incidents of theft or tampering of valuable peripheral equipment.

The addition of CCTV monitoring is very popular today, so look for those opportunities as well.

Maintenance Can Lead to More Money, Fewer False Alarms

A recurring revenue upsell opportunity that has emerged in recent times is the inclusion of a monthly service program. Due to budgetary limitations, many municipalities are implementing false alarm ordinances.

Industry statistics, such as presented in SSI’s 2017 Gold Book, have revealed that as much as 33% of false alarms are caused by system equipment malfunctions.

It has also been demonstrated that an increase in proper annual system maintenance and end-user retraining can help reduce incidents of false alarms – and therefore false alarm fines as well.

The upselling of annual maintenance contracts can be a big opportunity here and dovetails nicely with the idea of going back to your well of existing customers. Hopefully I have gotten everyone to think harder about the upselling possibilities in your organization.

However, you must remember that these programs have to be well planned. Make sure that technicians have upselling guidelines and are trained on what they can and cannot do. I’ve seen many such programs fail miserably because they were not planned properly.

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About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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