Adjust Your Marketing and Sales Practices

Different sales strategies and practices will ensure compliance

Baby Boomers are typically defined as the group born from 1946 to 1964, which means they are now between 50 and 70 years old. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by the year 2030, 20 percent of Americans will be 65 and older, up from 13 percent in 2010.

That means the Boomer market is becoming more important to our industry, since seniors are typically better educated and wealthier than prior generations. New products and services that provide greater comfort and allow seniors to remain in their homes longer play a huge role in engaging these buyers.

Marketing to older homeowners requires sales strategies and practices that will not only help improve results, but also ensure compliance with regulations intended to protect the elderly.

PROTECTION AGAINST FRAUD

Elder fraud involves attempting to deceive older adults with promises of goods, services or financial benefits that do not exist or were misrepresented. In 2011, the FTC reported that 7.3 percent of adults aged 65-74 and 6.5 percent of adults over 75 had been the target of fraudulent activities. By 2014, lawmakers in more than 20 states had introduced legislation to address this concern.

Homeowners with mental illness or a degenerative mental health condition have special protections under the law when entering into contracts or other binding documents. Even mild cognitive decline is a risk factor for financial capability, leaving some seniors at risk of exploitation.

Because of this risk, it is important that sales representatives and technicians receive specialized training in ethics and sales tactics. Everyone can benefit from home security and the convenience of our home automation products. It is important to make sure that a buyer is cognitively aware that they are entering into an agreement.

SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD

All homeowners appreciate and respect being approached in a straightforward manner by those who are experts in their field, and seniors are no exception. Sales transactions based on reputation and trust, are likely to result in long-term customers who will almost certainly spread the word about your company and services.

When selling to seniors, keep it simple. Listen to your prospects. Patience and respect will go a long way in helping you understand specific opportunities where your services may be of use. Without being condescending or patronizing, explain how your offering will help meet their needs, increase their security and contribute to their lifestyle.

Naturally, some elderly homeowners are cautious when approached by sales representatives. It is your responsibility to make sure that your sales representatives and technicians understand, and are prepared to address this concern directly and honestly. As security professionals, it falls on us to set the standard for practices that will enhance and uphold our mission, which is to protect lives and property.

Here are examples of how your team can arrive prepared:

  • Have available your solicitors’ permit and/or alarm industry license. If asked, you should also be willing to show your driver’s license or state-issued identification card.
  • Your offer should be made clearly and in writing. When using eContract, you may provide the homeowner a quote or allow time to review the agreement including the monitoring rate and term of agreement.
  • Provide verbal instructions for the notice of cancellation as well as referencing it on the agreement.
  • Be prepared to provide your company’s website and online ratings. Senior homeowners, like most, are interested in your company’s reputation. Transparency and documentation will evoke confidence and trust.

EMPHASIZE THE BENEFITS

Many elderly homeowners enjoy learning about new technology, and some even consider themselves early adopters or trendsetters. Today’s alarm systems and automation products are so intuitive and convenient that it truly aids the sales process to demonstrate how they work using a hands-on approach. The Internet of Things (IoT) might seem like techtalk to us, but end-users are often positively surprised by today’s advancements and how our services are positioned for future automation and integration. Empower your prospects with the knowledge to feel confident in their buying decision.

It may also be useful to acknowledge the importance of selfcare. Obviously, it is not selfish or foolish to invest in personal protection. When your services can provide peace of mind and quality of life, share those benefits with the homeowner. You may discover ways to allay concerns through economically agreeable system design and options.

As you review your marketing plans and incorporate specialized training, be cognizant of how you can prevent elder fraud and become an ally in the fight to prevent it.

In the end, the most predictive measure of your success – no matter which generation of buyer – is that you provide exceptional service. When engaging prospects and supporting customers, be mindful with your words, be thoughtful in your intentions and be kind in your approach. Demonstrate the value added by your personalized approach and attention to customer service so that yours will be the go-to company in your community.

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Security Today.

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