Article written by Charl Mijnhardt from Centurion Systems (Pty) Ltd.*
While the rising crime rate means that proper access control is now a necessity rather than the luxury it was in decades past, security equipment is still not exactly something that leaps off the shelves like, say, the latest iPhone. For most, it’s still very much a grudge purchase; something that has to work extra hard to get consumers to reach for their cheque books (do people even still use those?).
As an installer of security and access control equipment, selling probably constitutes a significant part of your job and is at least as important as the actual installation of the equipment. So, the question remains, how does one awaken desire in that homeowner that’s on the fence about whether or not he really needs that alarm system? How does one make him really want that gate operator and go gaga for a new garage door motor?
In this, the first article in our Installer Series, we’ve compiled a list of sure-fire tips to help you sell, curated from our resident sales guru Scott Wilson.
The “closing the deal” misnomer
According to Scott, too many salespeople focus on the “closing” part of the transaction, but often neglect to do all the prep work needed to get there, sort of like wanting to cross the finish line without doing the race. This lack of preparation and groundwork can lead to the transaction falling through, as no initial trust and rapport is established with the potential client.
You sell yourself, not the product
“The minute you sell, you come across as a salesperson, and most people turn their back on a salesperson” Scott explains. He emphasises the importance (in fact, he refers to these points as “non-negotiables”) of arriving on time, notifying the client in advance if you’re going to be late, appearing presentable and providing accurate and up-to-date documentation to accompany your installation. It’s all about first impressions.
Satisfy their needs
“Take a step back, and ask yourself why you would not buy from somebody” Scott advises, citing not having their needs met – and not price - as the main reason that consumers won’t use a particular product or service.
Price is a negotiable factor and consumers tend to opt for the solution or service provider that adds the most value, even if the price is slightly higher.
Ask questions (the “why” factor)
Why does the client want a gate motor? Why does he want that particular gate motor? The more information you have, the better you’ll be able to provide a solution to give the customer what he or she needs (tying in with the point above).
“When people try and close deals, the biggest problem is that they haven’t handled objections” warns Scott.
If there are any objections, they need to be handled first, because if the customer doesn’t place the order there and then, it means that there is something that they are still not completely convinced about. This can be remedied by asking questions about the customer’s situation (see the point above), and ensuring that the customer is happy with and understands your responses to his or her objections.
Sell them the whole package
Scott goes on to say that while the gate motor or access control product might provide the user with the initial answer, the whole package comes back to the installer. “The package deal that the installer offers the homeowner or the company, is actually what these people are looking for. They’re not looking for someone just to install a gate motor and walk away. They’re looking for someone who can offer more than the next person, and that “more” tends to be the small things that don’t have a monetary value”.
Sell them on the benefits
Terms like “rising and falling edge” and “dry contact” mean precious little to the man (or woman) on the street. Even ubiquitous jargon like “battery backup” has the tendency to elicit looks of blank confusion or plain indifference. If the response to your pitch is “so what?” you may need to tweak your approach a little.
Remember, the average homeowner doesn’t give a hoot about the gate motor’s capacious remote control memory or its high duty cycle; he only cares about how owning one is going to benefit him. Focus on the fact that he’ll no longer have to get out of his car in the pouring rain to open the gate and, even better, he’ll significantly reduce the likelihood of getting hijacked in his driveway.
Sell them support
When it comes to technology, competent after-sales support (or the lack thereof) plays a significant role in the consumer’s decision to adopt (or avoid) a certain solution or brand. Make sure that your customer knows that you’ll be there for them long after the installation has been completed.
References (or referrals) are critical
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Would you be comfortable giving your hard-earned money to someone who you know nothing about? Unlikely.
Presenting the homeowner with your references before beginning the quoting process, helps you build trust and rapport with your potential customer and will help put his mind at ease about the transaction.
*Established in 1986, Centurion Systems (Pty) Ltd has become the leading South African manufacturer of gate motors and access automation equipment.