Updated: Aug 11
Okay, I know we’re on phase something or another with respect to going to work, shop, eat, or just about anything else we do outside of our homes. Our life has seen some serious changes in a few months’ time. Well, except for one thing…and it’s really annoying...
Sometimes, alright many times, I get irritated when I wait at the checkout counter and finally make my way up to the cashier when the first words I hear are, “Did you find everything OK?” My first thought is to scream, but I try to maintain my composure when I look behind me to see five other patrons waiting patiently—and, of course, spaced appropriately 6-feet apart. I think to myself, “Can you imagine if I told that check-out person that I was unable to find the Kerrygold Irish Butter that they usually have in stock?” I can only guess that the cashier would shut down the line, declare Defcon 1 and go on a search to locate my butter! The people behind me start screaming too, as their wait time has now been extended. Now I bet you’re asking yourself, what in the world does that have to do with an alarm technician in a home or business, or selling the new way with a DIY or Do-it-with-me (DIWM) approach. The answer is everything!
Providing an exceptional customer experience and upselling are intrinsically connected
In any type of consumer sale, especially ones with multiple choices like our industry, consumers need to be guided through the process. Let’s return to the grocery store scenario. Instead of asking me if I found everything OK when my purchasing decision process was over, the store should have started the process much earlier.
We need to return to the days of providing a superb customer experience. Having an advocate walking around before I get in the check-out line, asking then if I’m finding everything OK provides a level of service that customers want and need. When I relate that I am looking for the Kerrygold butter, the advocate could point me, actually walk me, in the right direction. Taking it one step further, he could suggest that I try the marionberry jam from Oregon which pairs nicely with the Irish butter. Bingo, I was just upsold and had a great one-on-one experience with the store. They sold more and I left with a great feeling—which we all know translates to a better customer experience.
The grocery store experience isn’t uncommon in other industries either. They have it all backwards really. The customer is already engaged (thus the shopping), yet many businesses miss the opportunity for meaningful customer interaction before the consumer reaches the checkout line. The antidote? Upselling throughout—not only with the initial sale process, but during the lifetime of the customer. I maintain that staging the upsell process early will make the interactions with your clients easier and more rewarding for you, as well as your customer.
Companies involved in the new, competitive community builder market are absolute pros at upselling throughout the process. Datasmart Home Technology’s President, Randall Duncan, and Director of Sales and Marketing, Jamie Garza, of Houston, Texas have figured out the perfect recipe for a meaningful upsell experience. Much of their overall business comes from Datasmart’s builder division. They approach every homebuilder—be it a production builder for first-time homebuyers, a semi-custom builder for a different segment of the market, or a premier builder that serves an affluent clientele—the same way. They have developed a well-planned and systematic way of selling. In a prearranged agreement with the builder, Datasmart is given the contact information of the home buyer and that’s when the magic begins. Datasmart contacts the owner and invites them to come to Datamart’s Design Center.
In case you’re wondering, during the shutdown for COVID-19 Datasmart became even smarter and didn’t miss a beat. “Fortunately we have a process in place that has been honed over the years and we were able to pivot from in-person meetings with a Zoom call instead where the consumer is offered to see upgraded items such as video cameras, connected home solutions, low voltage wiring, home entertainment, and internet,” said Randal Duncan.
Using a robust CRM tool, Datasmart keeps in contact with “pre-home close” customers and continues to offer additional products and services right up until the drywall is installed. And, since they are tied into the builder’s job tracking system, they always know the status of the home building project. Datasmart has shown that participation, education, and involvement with a potential customer leads to a seamless upsell experience.
Stu Forchheimer, President and CEO of HS Tech Group of Maryland believes that consumers should be offered a comprehensive security review starting with the exterior of the home and working back to the inside of the home. Also, to cover all perimeter points that are accessible from the ground.
According to Forchheimer, upselling is part of their DNA, "When someone calls asking for budgetary numbers, we ask how many square feet the home is. Homeowners may not always know how many doors and windows they have, but they do know the square footage of their home. Installing three door or window sensors in a 3,500 square foot home would not provide adequate protection."
HS Tech Group recommends that 75 cents per square foot is a good rule of thumb to gauge what a consumer should spend on a full perimeter intrusion and fire system. Adding video cameras enhances the system with increased cost but provides a concentric-layered security approach.
HS Tech Group likes potential clients to come into the office, which is also the design center. The visit establishes credibility and adds an intimacy to the sales approach. COVID-19 didn’t stop Forchheimer and team either. They self-produced a series of videos to email to potential clients as an introduction to the company and why they should trust their security to HS Tech Group. “It sets the stage for upselling,” said Forchheimer.
Upselling as a way of your business life
Both companies I mention in this article have removed the awkward and annoying question, “Did you find everything OK?” They never have to ask. Instead, they provide concierge-level service through a defined sales process that lead clients down a specific path. No matter how you go to market—custom installations, DIY, or assisting a consumer with a DIWM approach—you can provide that intimate sales experience too.
Upselling begins with training. The more training you do, you guessed it, should be followed by more training. Every employee in the company is your sales agent and face to the consumer, so it’s important to make sure they have the knowledge to drive success. One of the best training programs I’ve ever attended was on the “Customer Experience” taught by the The Ritz Carlton Leadership Center. It changed my leadership style. It impacted how I operated my previous alarm company, my team, and, most importantly, how I treated people.
The tie-in between creating a great customer experience and upselling cannot be minimized. So, I am pleased that from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, the Stay Connected virtual version of the Electronic Security Association’s (ESA) Leadership Summit event will deliver presentations and workshops from the Ritz Carlton’s customer experience experts.
Ways to insert yourself in the upsell process
There are key times an upsell can take place. The first, at the time of the initial sale by educating and offering clients additional protection or connected home devices. The second, but not last is at the time of installation—where a trained technician leads the conversation about additional protection, and IoT devices to name a few.
Take advantage of the latter by having your installers walk through a risk assessment with customers together. This will create an understanding of where all the security components will be placed and provide a unique opportunity for them to discuss what areas might have been missed or will become a future risk. Or, if you’re a company that has moved to a DIWM approach, have your sales agent perform a Google Street view of the potential customer’s location, commenting about how they could improve their own security by trimming hedges closer to the windows, for example. It’s these types of interactions and trusted dialogues that can make upselling an organic part of your sales process—leading to increased sales for you and improved security and lifestyle for your customer.
It all comes down to providing stellar customer service. It will afford you additional opportunities to upsell your customer throughout the life of their contract. By establishing your company’s expertise early, it can also lead to decreased attrition. And with a defined process to walk your customer through their journey it can lead to the best part…a satisfied client without needing to ask the annoying question at the end of the sale, “Did you find everything OK”?
See our featured article in securityinfowatch.com.