Security Gives the Value of $1 New Meaning

A few days ago, I was in a car stereo shop and overheard a couple of teenagers talking to the counter salesperson. I heard them mention the number “4,500.” Of course, I was flabbergasted when I realized they were talking about installing a $4,500 stereo system in a 1992 Toyota Camry — which is only worth about $1,500! I took a look at their car parked outside in the parking lot and noticed they had already spent about $3,000 for 22-inch wheels and tires — you know, the ones that look like chromed garbage can lids with a thin strip of rubber around them!

I shook my head in disbelief. For the rest of the day, I thought about how people spend their money and how they justify the decisions they make. That led me back to something I have often wondered: Why don’t more people purchase security systems?

Sure, the FBI and some police chiefs are bragging the murder rate is down in most cities. But what they don’t say is the violence is still there, only paramedics and doctors are better trained and equipped at saving the lives of potential murder victims. Let’s face it, people just don’t “feel” safe like they used to and most places have lost their “innocence.” So why aren’t we selling a larger percentage of systems?

Why is it some people will write a $900 check without a second thought for an alarm system in a $40,000 car, but it’s like pulling teeth to get then to part with $1,500 for a security system in a $300,000 home? Why is it when an audiophile builds a new home, he or she will fork out $25,000 for “home theater” without blinking an eye, but will nickel and dime you on the security side? Why are some security companies still having a hard time selling a $195 basic home system?

Try this. Ask the next person you meet: If you could hire a security guard to stand on your front porch watching over your home for a $1 a day, would you do it? I bet 90 percent of all the people you asked would respond favorably.

Then ask the same 90 percent if they would spend $1 a day for electronic security monitoring. Try telling them all the advantages of having their home electronically monitored vs. a security guard. Explain how it’s alert and functional 24/7, doesn’t doze off, get sick or complain. Tell them your system is like the post office — chugging along in the rain, cold or heat.
Having given it your best shot, most people who wholeheartedly agreed with the first question are probably going to have to think seriously about the second one. Why is that? Many of those same people will spend $3 daily for a cup of over-roasted, Arabica bean coffee, but they can’t find a dollar a day to protect their biggest investment — their family. What about those of them who are smokers, shelling out several dollars a pack each day? If they cut back just a little, not only would they have more than enough for a security system, they would be prolonging their lives and those around them. Heck, most people could probably rustle up a buck just by checking under their seat cushions! The same goes for businesses.

Maybe our industry needs to put together a public relations campaign similar to some of the long-distance providers where they reduce it all down to a dollar. We could promote how far that dollar goes in safeguarding people and property. We could use a catchphrase like, “Isn’t your peace of mind worth $1 a day?” Actually, now that I think about it, “peace of mind” has been overused so much it has become a cliché. How about, “A dollar a day keeps the bad guys away?” All right, so I’m no sloganeer. The point is we need to find ways to communicate that we can give them so much for so little.

Meanwhile, I will continue trying to figure out the mindset and reasoning of why some people hand over their hard-earned money. They say one in every three Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of two of your best friends. If they are OK, then it must be you! At least that still leaves two-thirds of the population capable of reasoning the value proposition of a security system. Let’s do what we can to help them see the light.

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