Upselling Intrusion Detection Technology

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

Adding Comfort and Convenience

The observant salesperson also should look for additional sales opportunities outside the home, which can be quickly assessed on first approach. A good example is where the prospect’s home is some distance from the main road. In this case the salesperson might suggest the use of a vehicle detection system, which is especially helpful when the homeowner cannot easily see a car approaching up the lane. Another selling point is the existence of out buildings, gasoline tanks or some other element of concern near where vehicles enter from the road.

There are many other features that can be added to a general intrusion alarm system that relate to personal comfort and general safety. Examples include lighting control, temperature detection, water/ flood detection and remote control.

Through specially designed add-on modules, such as Z-Wave, X10, LevNet RF and ZigBee, the alarm panel now can be used for other things, such as lighting control. This allows the alarm panel to turn select lights on and off when the sys-tem is armed and disarmed. Through a programmed trigger, lights can be turned on when the system has detected an un-authorized entry. A programmed macro also can be invoked that will automatically dim and brighten lights according to a preplanned schedule, thus giving the home or facility an occupied look.

If the home or business is located in a flood zone, an astute salesperson also might mention the addition of water detection, tying it together with 24/7 central station monitoring for quicker response. Water detection is also a valuable commodity for anyone who has a clothes washer, due to the potential for water leaks and broken hoses on the water supply side.

Temperature is also an important element inside any home. For example, through a wireless transmitter equipped with a temperature sensor, it’s possible to alert the homeowner when the temperature dips below a certain temperature. The most common temperature setting for this application is 40⁰ F. This is an ideal feature for those who do a lot of traveling in winter months. Temperature in-side the home can also be adjusted from anywhere in the world. For example, by using a smartphone equipped with the right application, it’s possible to connect with the heating plant in a business or the forced air furnace in a home for the purpose of temperature control.

Sweetening the Solution

So far we’ve discussed upselling the components in a starter package and benefits realized by today’s remarkable technologies. What about upselling the client to include video surveillance, access control, alternative central station communications, as well as tailoring solutions for specific applications? Are there times when it’s justified to suggest the addition of one, two or more cameras to the intrusion sys-tem you’re attempting
to sell? The simple answer is: Yes. But let’s look at a few scenarios before we make a final decision.

Let’s say we’re dealing with a convenience store where all the client asks for is a simple burglar alarm system. During the sales presentation, the prospect mentions a recent rash of violent robberies that have taken place in his locale, which is in a deteriorating part of the city. You know he needs a video surveillance system to deter criminals and document events, but do you mention the need for video cameras, upselling him in the process, or do you sell him an alarm and call it a day?

The way that reputable sales engineers handle this is to make mention of a possible need in connection with what the customer said, then add the addition-al price to the bid as an option along with a brief explanation of what it includes. And remember, the same video surveil-lance system can be used to verify alarm signals. This is especially helpful where false alarms are an ongoing problem as well as complying with false alarm ordinances where increasingly video verification is becoming required before police officers will be dispatched.

“Many times people say all they want is the basics. I usually explain to them all the possibilities. That’s worth a lot when it comes to the next time they want to buy something. This is why I usually add every service I can think of to my bids,” says Broach. “Because of my honesty and helpfulness, I’m usually the first person they think of when they need something else.”

In addition, there are other opportunities to upsell the client on advanced remote access and monitoring technologies. This includes the offsite storage and remote viewing of video images derived from an onsite video surveillance system. Mobile applications also are available that will enable the home or business owner to arm and disarm the alarm sys-tem from anywhere in the world. This enables reviewing alarm activities, such as who armed and disarmed the system, and viewing inside and outside cameras at will on a smartphone, and much more.

Another opportunity to upsell involves an alternate means of signal transport, such as the addition of cellular with Inter-net or POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). There’s also the issue of existing clients already equipped with cellular backup that are only using 2G technology. Security dealers will very soon be forced to up-grade them to 3G or 4G service, which will involve the sale of additional equipment in most cases. Be careful though as some experts warn that choosing the highest cellular communications generation number may not be the best course of action in every case (see

Wise and savvy dealers who carefully listen to the prospect might also find an opportunity to add access control. For example, in some businesses, such as retail, it’s common for the owner or upper managers to lay off floor managers under difficult circumstances. A standalone or multireader access control system will enable the end user to dial the former employee out of the system, instead of hiring a locksmith to change or repin the mortise cylinder lock on the employee door every time someone is fired.

There also are wireless add-ons that can be used to upsell the client, such as keyless entry. In this application the same keyfob that offers arming, disarming and duress functions can also be used to unlock a door while disarming the system. In residential settings, keyfobs can also be programmed to provide access to the garage through a radio-controlled relay in the main alarm panel. The garage door can be made to open and close while the homeowner is still in his or her motor vehicle.

Without a doubt, upselling is the alarm company’s ace in the hole, as it is with any sales organization. When the need is legitimate, the salesperson, thus the alarm company, is a hero. But when upselling is done purely to increase the sale, everyone looks bad.

Al Colombo is a longtime trade journalist and copywriter in the electronic security market. His experience includes 15 years as a field technician and 28 years in technical writing.

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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 allan@Tpromo.Com, call 330-956-9003, visit www.Tpromo.Com.

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