Upselling Intrusion Detection Technology

Learn how today’s intrusion technology presents numerous win-win benefits for end users and providers.

Upselling is an important part of sales in the security business. Large, midsize and small alarm companies alike use it to bolster sales in times of economic downturn; for some it’s an everyday way of life. In defense of the upsell philosophy, it’s good for everyone concerned to remember this one fact: the ultimate decision to buy when the salesperson suggests additional equipment and services is that of the home or business owner. All the alarm company salespeople can do is make suggestions.

A more reasonable modified definition for security businesses might include the part about selling the client more, but not necessarily with the sole intention of getting a larger sale. The idea of positive upselling has everything to do with the fact that customers often fail to distinguish between “want” and “need.” Even more so, many times they simply don’t know enough about the technology and the risk factors involved in their situation to assess their needs efficiently and adequately.

“It is important to truly listen to a customer’s needs, whether perceived or reality, and view the risk assessment themselves,” says Wayne Alarm Systems President and SSI Industry Hall of Famer Ralph Sevinor. “The sales process starts with a trust between the security consultant and the prospect. This takes time but provides a mutual trust and respect of the specific needs and application.”

Let’s take a look at a number of scenarios where upselling is not only a wise course of action, but the necessary thing to do to effectively meet the client’s goals. These examples include, but are not limited to, 1) alarm panels; 2) motion detectors; 3) keypads; 4) sirens (inside and out); 5) methods of central station signaling; 6) inclusion of access control; and 7) addition of cameras.

Upselling Packaged Alarm Systems

If there is one area of intrusion detection where upselling makes sense to most alarm dealers it is in introductory alarm packages. Most companies that sell, engineer and install alarm systems are in an intense fight for every sale they get. For this reason many rely on starter packages to gain a prospect’s attention. These packages usually consist of a specific alarm panel, a single keypad, one motion detector, maybe a smoke detector, an indoor sounder, and the means of protecting two or three doors – all for a low introductory price, such as $99.

This, of course, represents a cost savings to the home or business owner. If the equipment schedule fits the customer’s needs, then nothing else need be said or sold. However, how many times has the number of zones on the alarm panel, the number of door switches/transmitters, motions, keypads, etc., fit the client’s exact situation? In a significant number of cases it’s usually necessary to upsell, either the alarm panel, one or more devices, or all the above.

For example, with one popular hybrid alarm control panel, the client realizes 32 zones of protection. The panel itself offers up to six hardwired zones and 26 wireless points. There will always be those times when additional hardwired zones are needed, in which case the salesperson will suggest a panel that meets the client’s need, such as a panel with at least eight hardwired zones, leaving 24 wireless points. If the client needs more than 24 wireless points, along with the eight hardwired zones, then an even bigger panel will have to be purchased, which is an upsell. In addition, there’s the issue of future expansion to consider.

“If you don’t sell the client a system that is capable beyond their current needs, they will not be happy in the long run because they may need to expand one day,” says Eagle Security‘s Joe Broach.

And then there’s the issue of detection devices. Perhaps two motions are needed instead of the one that comes with the package. If one of them is to be placed in the garage, the second one may need to be a dual-technology model. Plus there’s the issue of the client’s five doors – not the two or three that the introductory package covers. In all of these situations there is a valid reason to upsell the client. To do otherwise is not only unethical, but it opens the salesperson and alarm company to a degree of liability.

By like manner, perhaps the client needs two keypads instead of one or two siren sounders instead of the single one that comes in the package. In a commercial installation a second keypad may be necessary, as in the manager’s office. In residential applications, a second keypad may also fit the client’s need, as in the master bedroom.

Additional wired or wireless smoke detectors may also be in order because of the size of the home, especially if it’s a two-story dwelling. Also, if it’s evident by the presence of a relatively large quantity of tools that someone in the home works extensively on motor vehicles in an attached garage, the salesperson is smart to suggest CO detectors, which can cohabitate in a dual-technology environment along with the smoke detectors.

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Al Colombo is a long-time trade journalist and professional in the security and life-safety markets. His work includes more than 40 years in security and life-safety as an installer, salesman, service tech, trade journalist, project manager,and an operations manager. You can contact Colombo through TpromoCom, a consultancy agency based in Canton, Ohio, by emailing [email protected], call 330-956-9003, visit www.Tpromo.Com.

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Commercial Integrator + Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add to your bottom line.

A FREE subscription to the top resource for security and integration industry will prove to be invaluable.

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters