Creative sales strategies to weather the COVID-19 shutdown

April 29, 2020
Despite the obstacles posed by social distancing measures, now is not the time to be idle as a security company

I believe no discussion about ways to positively weather business sales limitations due to social distancing guidelines can start without first offering support for the efforts to help keep our communities safe and healthy.  Individuals and businesses have all been adversely affected in some way or another. It is very important to keep our resolve to do everything we can to help minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  

Recently, I’ve spoken to quite a few security dealers. As you would expect, all are concerned about keeping their business moving forward and their employees working in light of the pandemic mitigation strategies imposed. In an industry that thrives on door-to-door personalized selling, this is a new reality where dealers are trying to balance social distancing and at the same time support customers and bring in revenue. In a short amount of time, many dealers are saying their businesses are down by 25 to 60 percent. 

Making security systems available to homeowners is considered an essential service, and that rings true now more than ever. In this period of uncertainty, more and more homeowners want solutions that give them peace-of-mind during this pandemic. So, there is definitely a need to secure our homes and protect our families to have one less thing to worry about in these stressful, difficult times.

Given the unprecedented selling circumstances we find ourselves in, it is remarkable how resilient and agile the security business is. The fact is that when you get creative, there are quite a few best practices approaches dealers can employ to keep security system sales active. There is no reason to be idle as homeowners still need the security systems we provide.

Now is time for suppliers to kick support into overdrive with additional resources on new selling and service models – from detailing proven marketing strategies to useful recommendations on social media and a full schedule of online training.

A new way to manage the business uses a common-sense, no contact approach instead of rolling a truck for a service call or an installation. Dealers can mail a table/counter kit with pre-configured and labeled sensors to customers allowing the customer to install the parts easiest to do immediately. And once social distancing mandates pass, dealers can assure customers they will quickly schedule a professional installation on the panel and other more complex components.

In addition, the sales or service call and an installation can all be managed remotely using a video call such as with FaceTime, Zoom, WebEx, or other video chat services. To save money on shipping, technicians can double as delivery personnel assuring the homeowner of a sanitized porch drop off. At the same time, technicians can also install window stickers or yard signs.

Upgrades and referral programs are other avenues for sales. Offering homeowners a 4G LTE radio upgrade is very timely now as the carrier deadlines approach. In addition, it’s an opportune time to ask existing customers to refer a family member, friend or neighbor. Or prompt them to write a review. Free product offers, like a video doorbell, or future product credits are usually good incentives for referrals.

For our part, we’ve started a comprehensive series of free webinars with a particular series on recommendations for social distancing selling. In these, we offer helpful tips to maintain door-to-door selling with advice on how far away to comfortably stand, what protective gear to wear, CDC guidelines for hygiene and what sanitization methods to use, several role-playing scenarios and more. We’ve also found this is a good opportunity to give technicians new skills such as how to program remotely.

During this time where people are keeping their social distance and following “stay at home” orders, it is important to market your business now more than ever. Helping dealers to adopt new marketing techniques, we know that social media can be an excellent way to connect with their local community.  Informational posts on Twitter, Nextdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram highlight the necessary services dealers provide to the local area.

Getting the word out another way; dealers can put their customer database to good use in a series of email blasts or even send a direct mail piece. I believe people are happy to help small businesses right now and would be grateful to get a better understanding of their security options. Cementing customer relationships with truly useful information is always welcome.

Bruce Munigiguerra is Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Nortek Security and Control.