Making the Case

Creating a special opportunity for salespeople

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.

SELF-MONITORING ISN’T 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 ON LOCATION

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 slipping away.

SMARTPHONE COVERAGE 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 alarm resolution.”

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.

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