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Understanding How Consumers Buy Can Help Close the Sale

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Understanding How Consumers Buy Can Help Close the Sale

Hand signing contract

There is no scientific – or magic – sales formula. No step-by-step instructions exist for closing a sale. But understanding how potential customers engage in the buying process can help you turn more prospects into customers. Here are just some of the factors that influence customer buying decisions:

  • Need

Let’s face it, selling security services is not like selling toothpaste. Everyone uses toothpaste. Everyone knows they need it and everyone buys it. The demand for toothpaste is already established and the only question is: which brand?

Not so with alarm systems. Customers don’t necessarily know, or feel, they need a security system. They don’t know that systems exist that can address their specific issues or concerns. In fact, they may not even know they have issues or concerns. For example, they may not know about crime rates in their area, about the potential for burglary or vandalism, or even the positive impact having a security system can have on their insurance rates.

Engaging in conversations with customers and prospects, whether it’s in person, on the phone, via e-mail or though social media, not only allows you to find out what their individual concerns might be, but it also gives you the opportunity to educate and inform them, so they can better identify and understand their own needs.

If prospects seek you out, they probably already perceive that they have a need for security services. You’re farther down the road to closing the deal, but you’re not there yet. Your sales job is to find out their particular concerns, so you can communicate how your services can help them.

Here is a harsh truth: your customers don’t really care about you, your company or your products, and they don’t want a sales pitch. They care about their needs, concerns and wants. If you ask questions and listen to their answers, you will have the information you need to give them what they really want from you: solutions to their problems.

  • Knowledge

Customers need to feel knowledgeable. They must have enough information before they commit to a purchase. Making sure you and your sales team have the essential information and conveying it to your prospects in a way that makes them comfortable is key to getting to the close.

Do you have all the facts you need about your equipment, systems and services? Are your printed materials and contracts easy to read and understand, or is there a lot of fine print? Are pricing and services spelled out clearly, or is it hard for customers to figure out what it will cost at the end of the day? Can you demonstrate – either actually or virtually (on a tablet or other device) – how the system will operate?

How much information is enough information? That depends on the individual prospect and, again, the best way to find out is to ask.

“Have I explained everything clearly or can I go over anything again for you?”

“Do you have any questions?”

“Is there anything I didn’t cover?”

These are all great closing questions.

A prospect’s hesitancy is a great source of information, so don’t shy away when you hear “I need to think about it” at the end of your sales pitch. Ask what they are hesitant about so you can better understand how to provide them with more and better information. For example, some customers may have specific concerns that outweigh their need or desire to purchase one. To move them off the status quo, you need to find out and address these concerns.

If you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, say so. And then promise to find out – and do it. Don’t try to fudge, fake or otherwise falsify information just to have an answer. At best, it will stall the process, because the customer will sense that you are being less than truthful. And at worst, you will lose the sale, either because the misrepresentation is material enough that the customer can void the contract, or more likely, the prospect will lose trust in you and not buy your product and services.

  • Trust

Trust is an essential element of the sales process. Customers prefer to buy from people and companies they trust – and that others also trust. A sales process that focuses on the customer’s needs and wants, and that provides truthful and complete information builds a rapport with customers that enables them to feel comfortable with you and recommend you to others. This, in turn, helps you make more sales.

  • Cost

Some customers think in terms of price – they have a budget or a price point. Others think in terms of value – they’re not stuck on a bottom-line number, but they want to know that they are getting good value for what they are spending. How do you know? Ask! Ask if they have a budget for their security system or if they’ve thought about what they might want to spend. Investigate whether they have priorities for essential services and any interest in additional services, like managed services or video monitoring. Some prospects buy based on needs, where others buy on a combination of needs and wants. Engaging in a dialogue with a prospect will help you understand your prospects and address their specific needs, including their budget.

  • Authority to purchase

Whether you’re trying to close a residential or a commercial deal, if you’re talking to someone who doesn’t have the authority to make the decision, you’re wasting your time. Find out early on in the conversation whether the person you are talking to is the homeowner, business owner, or the person with the authority to sign on the dotted line. If not, ask who is and how you can talk to that person. Remember, too, that even if the person has authority, they may not feel comfortable exercising it without consulting others – family members, co-owners or other members of the management or executive team. Knowing early on whether this is the case doesn’t mean you’ve lost the deal. It just means that you might have a longer process.

While every customer is unique and every sale is different, focusing on these factors will go a long way to help you increase your sales.

To learn more about how ACA can be a valuable resource for your company’s sales, click here for details about our Independent Dealer Program.