Home security is a multi-billion dollar industry. If you've ever met a home security salesman or saleswoman it should be no surprise to you why the industry is so large. Each year thousands of salespeople leave their homes to go selling abroad. Their goal: to make ridiculous amounts of money. A top-earning, home security salesperson can make upwards of $120,000 in as little as three months!
Now, if you're going to make that much money you've got to have some sort of trick of the trade. Critics would say most home security salespeople use unethical methods to obtain their wealth. However, I argue the top-earners have simply mastered effective selling strategies. Here are 3 strategies top salespeople use:
1. Norm of Reciprocity
This strategy entails the notion people will return 'benefits for benefits'. As consumers, we've dealt with this strategy our entire lives, because it works! Ever been to a dealership that offers hot dogs and for some reason, after eating, you feel obligated to spend a few minutes talking to salesperson? That's norm of reciprocity.
Home security salespeople may come to your home, and say something like this, "Hi, I'm sorry to bother you but I was in the neighborhood and too the liberty to do a free inspection of the security of your home. I noticed that you have some weak points around the top windows and side entry. I thought you would like to have that information for your own use." You might think, "wow that was awfully nice of them to do that for free" but you may not realize is subconsciously you feel, now, obligated to talk with this salesperson about your home security issues. Before you know it, their tech is coming by to install your brand spanking new system and you're locked into a 4-year agreement.
2. Door-in-the-face technique
This method entails the seller making a large request to the buyer that will most likely be turned down. The seller than retorts with a much smaller offer that, at this point, seems very reasonable and attractive. Charities employ this tactic when asking for a $100 donation, then followed by, "will you at least donate $5?"
Home security sales people use this technique by offering you a system at full market value. It may go something like this, "I'd like to offer you our security system for only $1,500" you may respond with a metaphorical door-in-the face. At which point the salesperson will counter offer, "okay what if I give you the equipment for free and charge you the installation fee of only $99?" Now, all of a sudden, this offer seems very attractive and reasonable.
3. Fear approach
In this technique the seller uses fear to push potential buyers to make a decision. The salesperson may start by saying, "Hi I work for home security (so-and-so) and we're in the neighborhood because of some recent break-ins down the street. We'd like to help protect your family, especially your kids, from such recent occurrences by offering..." You might think, "Oh my gosh! Break-ins so close to home? I've got kids, I definitely need some sort of protection."
*There are occasions when salespeople use this approach with very old information. The "recent" break-ins may have occurred 4-years prior. Nevertheless, based on the salesperson information, to you, they feel very recent.
How to avoid being "had"
The approaches outlined above may seem insignificant, but I assure you they are very powerful tools used throughout the world. Here are some simple things to keep in mind when talking with a salesperson:
- Ask Questions. It doesn't hurt to ask, "where did the break-in occur? How long ago? Who was it"
- Don't feel obligated. If a salesperson gives you a unwarranted benefit, remember, you don't have to reciprocate. Simply say thank you and move on.
- Know the terms of the contract. While it may seem appealing to have an alarm system for free the contract may include a term of 4-5 years.
So be thorough, ask questions, and don't feel obligated to reciprocate. Home security is a great feature for any home and remember you're ultimately in charge of what you buy and how you buy it.