Varied strategies can all lead to sales success

Top Guardian Protection dealers excel in door knocking, affinity marketing, telemarketing
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

LAS VEGAS—What’s the best way to be successful selling home security? Well, according to top dealers for Guardian Protection Services, a variety of strategies can work, if you do them right.

Four dealers spoke about sales at the annual authorized dealer convention that Warrendale, Pa.-based Guardian held in Las Vegas in conjunction with ISC West.

Three of the dealers who spoke each excelled in different approaches to selling security: door knocking, affinity marketing and telemarketing, and they gave insight on the various strategies.

The fourth dealer has a knack for hanging on to his customers and told his secrets for keeping attrition rates low. Hank Groff, national director of Guardian’s dealer division, commented that while a focus on sales is key, it’s important to remember that “the ultimate goal is to protect customers and long-term relationships.”

Groff introduced the four dealers and their companies: Ryan Torrence, Safe-N-Sound Security, Canton, Ohio; Kirk Booher, OnGuard Security Solutions, Fishers, Ind.; Ronald Baskin, Integ Security, Livonia, Mich.; and Howard Blackman, 1st Security, Ellicott City, Md.

All shared tips on what makes them successful.

Torrence said door knocking is Safe-N-Sound Security’s prime means of doing business. “We call it canvassing,” he said.

His suggestions included investing in professional-looking ID badges. “Don’t skimp on an ID badge,” he warned. He said getting a good one is “a simple change that can make you more successful.” He said security companies can create their own custom-made ID badges online.

He also said, “It’s really important to have nice brochures. It makes you seem not like a fly-by-night company.”

Also, Torrence warned, “Don’t skimp on shirts. … The more professional you look at the door, the better off you’ll be. Don’t go out in T-shirts. Get something that looks professional.”

He also said to make sure to have the right permits and not to “throw up at the door.” Torrence said, “The goal is to get inside to do the presentation.”

He said door knocking has a high turnover rate, so it’s important to be constantly recruiting and motivating employees.

Booher, of OnGuard Security Solutions, talked about affinity marketing.

He stressed that any alarm company needs to use diversified strategies to compete. “Door knocking is probably the fastest, quickest way you’re going to make a sale,” he said. “But if it’s sleeting outside, that’s not the greatest place to be.”

Booher said, “Affinity marketing is almost the exact opposite of door knocking.” He compared door knocking to investing in the stock market and affinity marketing to buying a bond. “You get rich slow because it takes time,” he said.

He said a truism in sales is that “people like to buy from people they know, they like and they trust, and that’s what affinity marketing is all about—establishing those things.”

He said that getting started with affinity selling involves “building relationships with quality providers,” such as successful insurance agents.

“People buy insurance typically when they move and that’s also a big trigger for when people buy alarm systems,” Booher said.

Insurance agents can tell homeowners they’ll have lower rates if they install a security system, he said.

Baskin said Integ Security also has a variety of strategies, such as door knocking, but he also does a lot of telemarketing.

His company books an appointment in the office and then sends sales reps to the house to do a demonstration and close the sale.

Integ Security has 15 to 20 telemarketers in its office, and eight to nine sales reps run the appointments, he said. Those sales reps also self-generate leads and do some affinity marketing on their own, he said.

“Finding those telemarketers is not an easy process,” Baskin said. His company advertises on Craigslist, in newspapers, gets employee referrals and goes to job fairs. “We are constantly hiring, training and recruiting telemarketers.”

The sales reps work on 100 percent commission, he said. The company’s telemarketers usually start being paid on an hourly basis but within a few days or a week switch to commission sales. “It makes sense, if they’re good at what they do, to go straight commission,” he said.

Groff said that while selling is key, “it’s important that you understand what it takes to manage that account after it’s been installed.” He called on Blackman, of 1st Security, to talk about reducing attrition.

Among tips Blackman gave was “train your staff. The best way to [deal with] problems is to make sure they don’t occur.”

He also advised marketing consistently. “Make sure you’re being honest and not overselling what your abilities are.”

Blackman said companies should “meet or exceed your customer’s expectations.” For example, he suggested giving installers a small shop vacuum to clean up after themselves.

“If you do a fantastic job and someone comes knocking on your customer’s door offering to sell them a touch-screen keypad and you can turn your shower on by hitting a button from Chicago, they’re going to think to themselves, ‘Why would I ever leave this company?’” Blackman said. “But if you do bad service and everything is a headache … why wouldn’t the customer jump [to a new company]?”