Here’s what you need to differentiate your business and stand out from the competition
By Michael Simon
During the last series of articles focusing on recurring monthly revenue: “Take Your Business to the Next Level with RMR,” and “How the Cloud Can Easily Provide a Monthly Revenue Stream[DO1] ,” I talked about effectively modifying your locksmith business with new services available from the cloud. In this final installment, I’ll point out ways to be more effective selling cloud security and the steps you need to take to make your company different from the competition, with services your customers will appreciate for a better experience.
For anyone in a service business such as locksmiths or security contractors, it’s critical to keep moving forward, examine and adopt new technology and provide conveniences with the cloud that will elevate the stature of your company and provide additional sources of revenue.
Here’s a brief recap: · Recurring monthly revenue (RMR) is predictable income—the monthly charge your customers pay for convenience functions such as remote system access via smartphone, system upgrades, or even expedited service.
· If you have a strong base of commercial customers and have been treating them well, they may welcome additional services from a trusted resource such as your locksmith business.
· Cloud-hosted security management systems are easy to learn and adopt and are always up to date with the latest technology and encryptions for fortified data and cyber security.
· Once you have adopted a cloud security management platform you can easily add a variety of different services, tailored specifically to the customer and their facility or security challenges. And, control all of them from a single user interface.
· You and your customer can achieve greater work efficiencies – as the cloud promotes remote device connectivity and serviceability – with many problems or issues solved by logging into the system from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or other internet-connected device. This feature can prevent you from having to roll trucks for every little incident.
· There are new, easy to deploy, pre-engineered systems that lighten the learning curve and can get you started easily today toward greater profitability.
Just as you diversify your personal investment portfolio, the same holds true for making your business successful. During the economic downturn we experienced several years ago, those companies only focused on one business sector, rather than multiple vertical markets, found themselves losing revenue and most likely a good night’s sleep.
Moving to a services mindset takes a bit of planning, some training and additional expertise in properly executing the sales process. Since it’s a service, customers want to know what’s in it for them. They want to be able to fully understand the benefits of cloud hosting and you need to be able to succinctly explain and illustrate all the pluses and conveniences they can achieve, including a higher return on investment (ROI). Most cloud service providers will help you through the initial presentations.
Doing it Right
There’s definitely a right way to sell cloud-hosted security management services. Locksmiths need to tailor their sales presentation to the vertical market and the customer – a great way to provide a competitive differentiator. Now, there are tools available to help you accomplish the process of taking your business to the next level.
It’s all about the customer experience, even in sales presentations. One of the tools available is called SmartShow™. This powerful market-specific virtual demo is much more valuable than a static product brochure from a manufacturer that’s dropped on the desk during the sales call. With this educated sales presentation locksmiths can provide actual specifics on the customer’s site and the security deployment. This presentation tool targets specific markets - including Residential; Medical Facilities; Food Service Industries; Education; Commercial and Multi-Tenant; and Banking and Financial Facilities. Prospects will know you have the capabilities they need in an instant with SmartShow.
Instead of trying to close sales with presentations illustrating unrelated projects, these demos are tailored to the customer’s premises, illustrating zones, for example, that pertain to the vertical as well as industry specific video camera clips. In addition, no additional hardware is needed to run the demonstrations. Locksmiths simply access the program from the Connect ONE® portal and run the program from their smartphone, tablet or laptop. To make the presentation even more potent, locksmiths can share vertical-market-specific video clips and alerts to the prospect’s email during the demonstration.
Virtual Presentation in Action
Let’s say you have a meeting with a potential education customer. With the vertical market presentation they can see the system set up for the teacher’s entrance door, school office or front door. The video clips are also specific to a school or campus environment and can include a camera shot of a cafeteria or school parking lot. Not only is this a more influential presentation, but it shows you understand the education market. Sure, it takes a little extra time and extra effort, but it can significantly boost your successful closing ratio. Just consider the time and money it actually takes you to get out the door and in front of a customer in marketing, drive time and more so make the most of it. And, the demonstration itself can be set up in a matter of minutes.
Remember, you probably aren’t the only one bidding the job and there may be several other companies waiting in the wings to provide their pitches. Ask yourself: How am I going to be remembered from the competition, especially if I am the first one giving a presentation?
By having a specific market vertical demonstration it shows you have experience in the prospect’s market. You understand their challenges and pain points and will be remembered when they are sitting down after all the sales meetings to review information and make their decision. You definitely don’t want to wage a battle over pricing. Sure, your bid may be higher than others, but when the prospect knows you understand their needs pricing becomes secondary. These potential customers are looking for someone who understands how to solve their security dilemmas.
It’s all about differentiating yourself in a crowded marketplace and dozens of others in the locksmith trades in your area or region. That applies to the sales process and the services you deliver. As such, locksmiths need to consider offering value-adds such as mobile credentials that aren’t available from every other competitor. Most customers today expect to be able to use their mobile device to access their facility or manage entrances and exits on the fly or on the weekend when an unexpected delivery occurs.
There are other ways to leverage cloud-hosted security management services. Even if you are a bit more mechanical minded, you shouldn’t be scared off by new technologies. Instead, consider partnering with other firms, such as HVAC contractors, who can help your business meet its RMR and ROI goals while you build a strong referral network. Customers will appreciate the fact that they can boost their ROI for the system with something like tangible energy savings, while you earn RMR for the services.
With our intrusion and access control features connected to HVAC systems the comfort and energy conservation settings can actually follow the occupancy of the building space, which may save hundreds of dollars per month in a commercial building. Having HVAC working on some arbitrary time sequence is ridiculous in a commercial setting. It has very little cost savings if any.
Now we have a two-way street. Your customer receives significant ROI and you get RMR. It was once related to me from one of my previous security installation and service business customers that the monthly checks he sent me were written with a smile because the cost savings on his heating and air-conditioning utility bills more than made up for what he was paying me.
The cloud allows locksmiths access to the latest technology and tools to sell more effectively. It’s a great way to add services, with attainable ROI for the customer and cash flow for your business. You’ll be remembered for your suite of services, as opposed to the competitor up the road simply selling a mechanical or electronic lock. Finally, you’ll be in the position to sell to a wider range of vertical market customers – many of those who may already be working with you – establishing greater profitability with sustainable income.
Michael Simon is a former alarm dealer who owned and operated a leading Chicago area security firm for some 40 years. Today, he’s the managing partner of Connected Technologies, LLC where he works alongside his son Daniel. The company is driven to deliver on the needs of the installing market and provide contractors like locksmiths valuable services they can offer to customers that yield recurring monthly revenue. They have developed an “All in One” hardware package pre-engineered for quick and easy installation geared specifically for the locksmith to start generating recurring monthly revenue today.