Supersize Your Video Sales

When you go to a fast-food restaurant and order only a cheeseburger, the cashier will inevitably ask, “Would you like fries with that, or anything to drink?” That person is using a common sales tactic called upselling, whereby customers purchase more expensive or additional goods resulting in a more profitable sale for the retailer. Some may view that word negatively, but if done correctly, it can be a highly effective sales technique and a way to increase the average sale per customer, without raising prices.

This fast-food example can translate into selling video surveillance. The security industry is highly competitive, and security dealers and integrators across the board want to attract more customers. However, this can be difficult when the perception customers have is that there is little difference between the competition and the products they offer. By generating a more profitable sale for dealers or integrators and delivering a better product to the customer, upselling can help increase revenue in a highly competitive business environment.

Upselling is typically done after the customer has decided to move forward with the purchase, so the most difficult part — the sales conversation — has already taken place. Hopefully by this point, mutual trust has been established, and you have presented the customer with a security solution that meets his needs and delivers clear benefits. Now you can look for ways to enhance the solution your customer has already agreed to, either in the immediate term or at a future date.

Keep It Relevant

A cardinal rule of upselling is to offer products and services that have a logical connection to the customer’s original request. Don’t throw in products just because they are the “latest and greatest” or because they have a high profit margin. If the enhancements are relevant to your customer, you will greatly increase your chances of success.

Go back to the fast-food example. The cashier wouldn’t ask, “Do you want soy sauce?” Fries and a drink complement and enhance the original order and create a complete meal. Soy sauce is not relevant to the original order (cheeseburger) and, therefore, is not offered.

Keep this principle in mind when selling video surveillance. If the customer needs a fixed IP camera to monitor activity in and out of a particular doorway, avoid trying to sell them on the newest 360-degree, rapid dome, pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) camera. Even though that technology is new and interesting, it’s overkill for monitoring a defined area around a doorway.

However, a megapixel camera with wide dynamic range adds value because it will allow the customer to capture more detail of visitors as they come and go throughout the day. Better detail will be useful if there is ever a security situation, so it is relevant to the customer. After evaluating the benefits, the customer is far more likely to spend a little more money for some useful features he had not previously considered.

Sidebar: 5 Steps to Selling Video Verification

Don’t Hassle the Customer

In addition to highly relevant upsells, keep your suggestions limited to one or two options. If you bombard customers with enhancements, you will frustrate them and even risk driving them to your competitors. Returning to the cheeseburger analogy, if you say no to fries and a drink, you will likely become irritated if the cashier asks you the same question again — and then offers you an apple pie — before finally selling you the cheeseburger you originally ordered.

One important question is whether the upsell needs to be done now, or if it can wait. If the customer is looking to install video encoders — but IP cameras are the better solution — then waiting is probably not the best approach. However, many IP video technologies today are scalable and interoperable, so certain enhancements could be added later with minimal disruption. If so, you may want to wait and let the customer get used to the new system before trying to add more functionality.

Ultimately, be polite and refrain from being pushy. If customers do not want a more expensive or complete solution, it is their right to make that choice. When you respect customers’ decisions, it promotes a good relationship and encourages them to refer you other business or approach you again for future needs.

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