‘Ignorant’ Homeowner Rates Alarm Sales Presentations

When it comes to sales, it has been said that Nose to nose is the way to close. But nose to nose also is the way to blow a deal if good sales techniques aren’t utilized.

If you’ve ever wondered why your company which has the best products, service, central station, etc. is being squashed by the competition, look no further than your sales staff.

Recently, I set about finding out what it takes to make a good security system salesperson. I invited three companies of both traditional and low-end systems into my home to do their thing and convince me to spend my hard-earned money on a security system. Other than the differences in equipment, I was expecting to have three fairly similar presentations. What I actually experienced was quite different.

In all fairness, because the salespersons were not told they were being graded based on their performance, the names of the companies and the salespersons have been changed to preserve the anonymity of the unsuspecting salespersons.

Introducing the Setting, Cast of Characters, Background

Company A: The first company is a large, national mass-marketed operation based in Dallas. It has been involved in residential security for the past 14 years. Our salesman: Jacob.

Company B: Company No. 2 is a traditional high-end residential security dealer who recently started selling low-end systems. Our salesman: Zeke.

Company C: A small, Culver City, Calif.-based traditional alarm company that has been in business since 1953. Our salesman: Davis.

The House: The residence is a 757-square-foot home with two exterior doors and 10 double-hung windows. It is a single-family, single-story home with a small detached back house. We have one dog (with her own doggy door in the back door) and one bird (who flies around the living room).

The Setup: All salesmen were given the same information: Three companies are being interviewed. My husband thinks it’s necessary to install a security system, since I work from home, and I’m often home alone. I don’t want one. Design a system that will offer the best protection for our situation, and help me justify purchasing it.

Act 1, Scene 1: Company A Grabs Attention With Chart

Our presentation from Company A starts with the initial inquiry call. After explaining that I might be interested in a system, the telephone representative begins asking some good probing questions about my home, such as if there is an attic, basement, what is the square footage, if we have pets, etc. After explaining exactly what the company’s system involves, he asks when I would like to schedule the installer. I ask more than once before he agrees to schedule a sales visit.

When Jacob arrives, he’s on time and dressed for business in a suit and tie. He immediately ingratiates himself with me. He compliments the decor of my home, asks what business my husband and I are in and tells me about himself.

He says he has been with the company for only two months and has begun selling security systems because he has one of Company A’s systems and feels good about the product.

He then launches into a lengthy presentation about the company, its product and security in general. He begins by explaining the training the company mandates, which includes an intensive week-long session at the company’s Dallas-based training facility. According to Jacob, “We are required to take a 50-question test everyday. Anyone who fails two tests is sent home.

Throughout his presentation, he uses a multi-page flip chart to help emphasize his points. One phrase he keeps repeating is, I’m looking to get you the most protection for the least amount of money.

He pays attention to our living situation. He suggests a pet alley lens for the motion detector for the dog and asks if we can cage the bird when that sensor is armed. He suggests we keep the system armed, with the motion detector zone off, when we are in the house and mentions home invasion robberies as one reason for that. He also tells us we will be eligible for a discount on our homeowner’s insurance if we get the system.

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