In this new series, we will feature Industry Insights from leaders from the Security Alarm Industry. Our first Industry Insights features Bob Harris from Attrition Busters.
Bob Harris is a 30 year veteran to the security alarm industry who ran his own alarm dealer business and now is one of the most sought after speakers for all of the top industry events.
Bob joined MKS for a quick Q&A to provide some great insight on what are some of the issues alarm dealers are facing and some overall best practices that dealers can start implementing today!
What are some exciting trends you’ve noticed this year within the industry that caught your attention so far? What are some future trends you are excited about?
I am excited about so many new products and services geared at improving lifestyle and security together. This may be the most exciting time in our industry for savvy dealers ready and willing to get in the game and bring it. Just to name a few for traditional dealers I love all the smart/connected home trends. Remote interactive stuff is exciting and affordable. Home automation makes life better and gives customer unprecedented control over their security and energy costs. In most cases it pays for itself over time while it increases the dealer’s opportunity for RMR and customer retention. I also love many of the new wearable PERS technologies that afford mobile security while increasing monitoring opportunities for dealer’s who understand this business. As for commercial trends advances in biometrics, identity solutions, IP Based control systems and the list goes on and on. These are very exciting times for those who are serious about growing their business and competing against anyone no matter the size of their company.
Customer service is important to any industry, but why is it so vital for the security alarm industry?
When every company sells the same services and offers the same products, unless your business model is to compete on “lowest price”, there are better ways to differentiate your business from competitors. This said, stellar customer service is sadly lacking in our society today in nearly every service industry. Those who invest in educating their employees to make customers fall in love with their team, their service and their company will thrive in as competitive an industry as ours. Creating the experience based perception of “delight” in terms of customer service often makes the difference between those who merely survive and dealers who thrive. Satisfied customers buy from you but delighted customers sell for you. The caveat is that this level of customer service simply does not happen all by itself. It takes training, effort and passion but is worth every bit of it in the long term. Many people talk about customer service excellence but until training and application is written down on the calendar, all it will ever be is talk.
What is the most important thing dealers can do to stay competitive with all of the new outside competition entering the industry?
Local reputation drives choice. Bring a lot of attention to your company in your community. Money follows the right kind of attention. Once you get a new customer, stay in touch with your customers and build relationships of trust. When no relationship is in place it makes it very easy for a customer to dump one company for another. Especially when something goes wrong. Strong relationships with a local reputation of trust lead to loyalty and significantly increase your competitive advantage. Aside from excuses, in today’s reality there is absolutely no reason a small company can’t compete with a big national or volume retailer and win. What can you do that they can’t and why does it make you a more attractive choice than the nationals or volume retailers? When you uncover those answers, you will BE the competition.
What is your favorite sales tip/lesson for dealers you often reference?
Those who invest absolutely nothing in sales training typically find it very difficult to compete with cheap, free and DIY. If you’re looking for one single sales lesson I would say, stand apart from the crowd. Shop your competitors and read their play book. Then create your own value proposition that is so compelling and so engaging a prospect can go see five other guys but won’t be able to shake you and your company out of their head. If you’re not standing out, you are blending in. See my answer to #3.
Explain your concept that every employee is part of your sales team
From field techs to the company operator every employee has an opportunity to promote a positive experience for anyone doing business with your company that can create an additional sale. Customers simply will not buy it from you if they don't know you offer it. All too often cancellations occur when a loyal customer hears about a new product or service being offered by someone else but had no idea the company they were with had the same thing. When employees themselves do not know all of the variety of exciting products and services the company offers, they can’t tell their friends, relatives, people at their Church, neighbors, business’ they frequent and the list goes on and on. Thousands of dollars are being left on the table every week by employees who are not being made aware of clear opportunity when they fail to report it back to the sales team. There are so many services we offer today that are far too often never mentioned to customers or prospects who hear about it elsewhere and buy it from them. Field techs who don’t bring intel back from service calls or plant seeds with customers about affordable new technology that would help improve their lifestyle are leaving thousands of dollars on the table every month. It doesn’t happen by itself, so if no one in the company is educating employees on all of the products and services available it simply will not happen.
Want More Information?
For more information on Bob Harris and Attrition Busters, please visit their website.