Making the Case
Creating a special opportunity for salespeople
- By Robert Ogle
- Nov 01, 2017
Established security integrators
often deal with prospects who
are also considering solutions
that let them eliminate live monitoring
and keep an eye on their
homes via smartphone. They see it as not
only saving money and avoiding a monthly
contract, but also as a way to keep control of
the system in their hands without having to
deal with a third party.
This creates a special opportunity for
salespeople. They can emphasize the importance
of choosing live, around-the-clock
monitoring as an essential part of a comprehensive
home security system.
AS EASY AS IT SEEMS
They can start by pointing out the disadvantages
of a “monitor-it-yourself ” (MIY) solution.
To a customer, the concept is simple:
When there’s an alarm, they’re alerted via
smartphone and can contact authorities
from wherever they are. If they’ve got video
cameras, they might even try to verify what’s
going on. They see themselves as being in
control of the situation.
It sounds easy and inexpensive, but there
are some serious flaws in the MIY model. At
the very least, alarm response through MIY
will be slower than professionally monitored
systems. At worst, MIY users won’t be able to
get help at all.
Here are some valuable points that salespeople
can make to emphasize the advantages
of live monitoring over an MIY solution.
911 EFFECTIVENESS DEPENDS
Most people expect instant assistance when
they dial 911. Even children know that when
there’s trouble, it’s the first thing you do. But
with home security, it’s not that simple – especially
when you’re away from home.
The best way to communicate this to a
prospect is through an analogy. Let’s say
they live in Dallas, but they’re on vacation
in San Diego. With MIY, they get an alarm
notification and use their smartphone to
see that there’s an intruder. The next step
is to dial 911.
Here’s the problem: If they dial 911 in
San Diego, they’re not going to get authorities
who are near their home. Instead, they’ll
be connected with law enforcement closest to
their location, since a cellphone automatically
sends its signal to the nearest cell tower. When
their home in Dallas is being burglarized, 911
in San Diego isn’t going to be much help.
This can even be true within the same
metropolitan area, since major cities and
suburbs can be far apart. If you’re too far
away, you’ll get 911 for the area you’re in at
the time. The prospect should understand
that while they’re frantically searching for
the number for law enforcement near their
home, precious minutes of response time are
CAN BE AN ISSUE
Just because they’ve got a smartphone
doesn’t mean they’re protected. Remind
them that they won’t always have access or
coverage. Using the previous example, in the
time it takes to fly from Dallas to San Diego,
the smartphone is likely to be in airplane
mode. They won’t see any alarm notification
until they land, which could be hours after
the actual alarm.
There are other situations where it’s just job or in a building that doesn’t allow good reception (signals can
often be blocked by metal or concrete, such as a parking garage).
Cellphone connections can drop or be blocked for any number
of reasons. Professional monitoring is available around the clock,
regardless of the situation.
THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TRAINING
An alarm is often triggered by incidents like an intruder, fire or carbon
monoxide leak. When a user determines the cause of an alarm, it
takes a great deal of discipline and self-control to take the right steps.
An untrained person is prone to panic or to be unsure what to do and
when to do it.
“That’s why we place so much emphasis on preparation for our
monitoring operators,” said Grant Graham, director of monitoring
operations at MONI Smart Security. That includes more than 96
hours of classroom training along with eight weeks of hands-on mentoring,
as well as ongoing quality assurance checks.
“We want to create an environment where there’s a consistent
protocol for handling alarms,” Graham said. “Our agents are likely
to encounter all types of situations, and they understand the importance
of following procedures that are constantly being practiced and
refined. They know that calm, controlled response is crucial for effective
DON’T DITCH THE SMARTPHONE
A smartphone isn’t the best way of monitoring an alarm event, but it’s
still an essential part of the equation. The ideal situation is live monitoring
that allows the central station to quickly verify an alarm while
providing real-time status updates to the homeowner.
MONI has adopted that process through patented ASAPer technology,
which creates an interactive messaging hub that allows customers
to communicate with their emergency contacts via text, chat
or email. They also receive constant updates from MONI until the
alarm is resolved.
“Communication means everything during an alarm event,” Graham
said. “ASAPer provides faster resolution than traditional methods
by streamlining the communication process and making it interactive.
Everyone benefits by having the latest information about the
status of an alarm.”
THE BIGGEST BENEFIT OF LIVE MONITORING
It can be difficult to convince potential customers that it’s not just
about making a sale. By emphasizing the benefits of live monitoring
instead of MIY, you’ll be helping them understand the importance of
speed, convenience and assurance that they can’t get from a phone –
no matter how smart it is.
This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Security Today.
Robert Ogle is a communications specialist at Monitronics.