Keeping It Real With Home Controls & Security

Security Sales & Integration ‘Monitoring Matters’ columnist Peter Giacalone explains to security systems integrators that they’re in the lifestyle business, not the technology business.

I’d like to start with something I have said before and will always say:monitoring ALWAYS matters. This is not just central station monitoring I am referring to anymore. It is gravely essential to stay ahead of the times and not wait for your customers to ask for services that you haven’t already offered them. If you wait, it will be too late to deliver as your competition will likely get to them first and steal your sizzle and possibly your accounts.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to communicate with your clients. I know for certain that if you are not educating them on the latest and greatest in systems, features and services, your competitors certainly are. The easiest and most prevalent source to look at is the massive advertising for home controls and security by the cable companies and telcos. You can hardly watch a television show without tripping over an Xfinity, Time Warner, AT&T or other commercial for smartphone-controlled systems.

Capitalize on Cable & Telco Commercialism

I still hear dealers screaming about how bad this is or how this could kill them. Really? I prefer to listen to the dealers who explain to me how they leverage the multimillion-dollar advertisements of these big competitor companies to their advantage. Yep! Let the giants tout from their ivory towers while you educate on the front end and close and hold the business on the back end.

This subject has been well-covered territory in the industry. Connected services continue to grow in features, adoption and creative-ness. Most know the value of the systems, platforms and services. Some companies have had such extreme success that they have never turned back. Most of this is public information as we watch some companies continue to grow, and their value proposition is smart and precise. They’re simply leveraging security, life safety, home controls or what we used to call home automation and video in a nice-and-neat consumer package that is priced effectively.

What continues to surprise me is how so many companies have either ignored this or have acknowledged the reality, while still offering these control and video systems and services as an upgraded offering, afterthought or rehash. Not to say that every consumer needs to purchase a full-blown automation system. We know that this is not reasonable. It is more of the philosophy in selling and engaging clients. It is understood that many consumers start off simply seeking security and possible life-safety systems as smoke and fire detection. This is understood and traditionally is the gateway to selling more than intrusion and life safety. What needs to be understood is that most of these potential consumers seek such systems with apprehension. It’s kind of like life insurance; they know they need it, but really don’t want to have to use it or even pay too much for it. So if you are the company that is responding or even soliciting that potential client in regard to security and you give them a better feeling or reason to buy from you, aren’t you better for that? Well I’ll answer that: you are!

Sell a Lifestyle, Not a Technology System

Philosophically when you are presenting a “lifestyle management” or home control and security system, you are speaking from a totally different platform than the company selling an alarm system that, by the way, can have some automation bolted on. Your system, which is truly a lifestyle system, encompasses management of your home, and protection for your home and family that includes intrusion as well as fire protection.

Explaining the capabilities of your proposition and the scalability is essential. Clients need to understand that they can build on your system and that by engaging with your company you can grow together and you will make sure that they can easily add devices simply over time. Of course, it is really important to include at least one control device with their system. This will give you the stickiness and engagement you need to keep them interested and probably cause them to come back for aftersale upgrades over time.

Selling an ecosystem that a consumer can quantify as a worthwhile investment comes with much less resistance than just pitching them on another burglar alarm system. Put your consumer hat on and give this some thought. I know you will come up with the same answer. You will have happier clients and a healthier company.

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About the Author

Peter Giacalone

Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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