Bright Ideas: Smart Strategies to Upsell Video

The increasing adoption of IP-based video solutions is providing dealers and integrators a breadth of new upsell opportunities. Strategies include offering customers hybrid systems, megapixel cameras, video management systems and more that present newfound ROI and TCO propositions.

One of the best ways to increase business is to mine your current customer base for additional opportunities. While acquiring a new customer can be costly and time-intensive, promoting additional sales of video surveillance equipment to your current clientele offers profit potential right at your fingertips.

As the realm of video surveillance migrates toward IP-based solutions, upsell opportunities have never been greater. Technology is changing fast with new capabilities and features that can benefit many of your new and existing customers. Upselling users to new or upgraded systems begins with educating them about what’s new, then making a compelling argument for the benefits they will receive from a system that includes the new feature sets.

What follows are some basic strategies for multiple sales scenarios to achieve the goal of increasing sales by upselling to the existing customer base.

Setting a Foundation to Win

Success cannot be achieved unless an installing security contractor thoroughly comprehends and embraces new technologies and products. You have to know what you are talking about and completely understand the advantages — and any drawbacks — of what you are upselling. When upselling becomes overselling, the customer loses, and you lose credibility and the possibility of future business.

Be the educator. Understanding the changing video technology landscape may not be the top priority for an end-user customer, but it is for you or certainly should be. If you understand the market, you can then become a patient and knowledgeable guide to your customer.

It will be vital to develop long-term, consultative relationships with customers based on a complete understanding of their needs. In addition to becoming an expert on the technology, you should become an expert on your customers’ business. You should understand their goals and needs well enough to choose technology options that are real solutions to their pain points and address issues that are top-of-mind. That way you will be the one they turn to when they have questions, creating more opportunities for sales.

Security dealers and integrators should combine a near-term sales focus with a long-range approach to ensure continuity. Keep in mind a long-term outlook about what is down the road for each customer. In addition to looking for equipment and system sales that can provide the customer an immediate payback, think about where their system is going in the future. Know the migration path and never lose sight of it in favor of a short-term sale.

Also important is to translate your qualitative sales pitch into something the customer can understand — dollars and cents. The customer, and often the customer’s boss, is looking for hard metrics to justify any expenditure on technology. So crunch the numbers and provide a real-world case for return on investment (ROI) and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) that is specific to the customer’s business. If you can make a strong business case to buy new equipment, the sale is yours.

Executing Multiple Strategies

So how do these strategies play out in the real world? Let’s look at several examples of situations when a customer might be ripe for an upsell, and how you should approach it as their dealer/integrator and consultative partner. Included are fundamental sales pitches along with ROI and TCO messages to deliver.

The hybrid solution — For a customer with an analog system, the strategy is to provide lower-cost options that will help them make the transition to an IP system.

Anytime a customer can continue leveraging existing equipment, you provide them significant cost savings. Extending the usable life of a previous system, or even sections or components of a previous system, is a strategy that offers an abundance of benefits for relatively little cost. A hybrid approach is to use video encoders connected to existing analog cameras to transition the analog signal to travel on the network.

This approach enables customers to keep using cameras that are still working well while saving the cost of replacing them. When enumerating the advantages of a hybrid approach, it is also important to communicate any shortcomings of using existing equipment. This includes features on new cameras or video management functionality that works with new-generation cameras that may not be available using older models.

It may be helpful to relate that using an installed infrastructure of coaxial cable to transmit IP video and data can lower installation costs while providing all the benefits of a new system. Using coax can also enable data transmission to be extended over longer distances — up to five times the 328-foot Ethernet maximum length using Cat-5.

Creating a network system without having to rip out and reinstall existing cabling can be an attractive option that avoids the need to string new cable, which can disrupt business operations. The use of existing resources also provides environmental advantages that might play well to a company’s “green” efforts.

ROI/TCO: Communicating the ROI and TCO can be as simple as showing the cost differences of a totally new system versus a hybrid system or a system that uses existing equipment. Be sure to include all the various factors including cost, labor and equipment as well as any incidental costs related to either approach.

The pitch: “No need to throw out what you have; it can work along with the new equipment.”

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