Security Sales Leads – How to Make Door-to-Door Canvassing Work

April 14, 2009 by  Filed under: Sales 

A new home security sales rep asked a great question in our security sales and marketing forum the other day. He’s a former vacuum cleaner salesman who sold door-to-door 20 years ago and is now getting into the security business. He wants to get out in his market area and knock on doors, and was looking for some ideas on an effective approach.

Now most security sales professionals shudder at the thought of prospecting door-to-door. It doesn’t take a lot of doors slammed in your face to send most back to the coffee shop to lick their wounds. But done right, good old-fashioned door knocking can yield a large number of opportunities in a short period of time.

Quite a few successful security salespeople swear by (not at) door knocking, and use it to get in front of qualified prospects every single day. How do they do it? By turning these otherwise “cold” calls into “warm” calls. And the best way to do that is to recruit your existing customers to help you.

Use Your Current Home Security Customers as Allies

Unless you’re a start-up, your company has customers out there in the neighborhoods you want to prospect in. If so, make appointments with them first. Perform some service for them (e.g., update their emergency contacts, make sure they know how to do a system test, etc.), and then do a security audit of their home (doors, locks, lighting, etc.). Of course, don’t forget that these client visits can produce additional sales themselves.

Afterward, ask them to refer you to their neighbors so you can conduct security audits for them. (Best thing is to have your customer call ahead.) Your opening line is then: “Hello, Mrs. Smith, my name is Greg Rankin. I’m the security consultant for the Johnson’s next door. I provide free home security audits for my clients and their friends and neighbors. The Johnson’s got so much value out of their audit they wanted you to have one as well. Is this a good time, or would Wednesday evening be better for you?”

Targets of Opportunity

After leveraging customers, look for targets of opportunity. For example, are any neighborhoods experiencing a rash of burglaries or other crimes? Most people buy security systems after they’ve been burglarized or there’s been crime in the area. Those are the areas you want to target first. Studies show that homes protected by a security system have a significantly lower chance of being victimized, and people in these areas need to protect themselves. So it’s almost your responsibility to get out and talk with them.  

Again, the home security audit is your in. “Hello, my name is Greg Rankin with XYZ Security.” (Hand them an official-looking photo ID with licenses, etc. as you’re speaking.) “As you may know, there have been a number of burglaries in the area recently. So we’re out conducting free home security audits for residents. Would this be a good time for you, or would Wednesday morning be better?”

You should also talk with the local crime prevention officer in your area and get their buy-in. They’re often willing to train you on how to conduct an audit and fill you in on crime patterns in the area. If they believe you’ll really help make residents safer, they’ll often get on board. Then you can name-drop the CPO in your introduction. Very strong if you can set it up.

A Security Audit Opens the Door

Why not just use the direct approach? “Hi, Mrs. Smith. I’m Greg Rankin with XYZ Security and I’m out today demonstrating security systems. Are you interested?” Well, that can and does sometimes work. But the resistance level is higher than the security audit approach, which means you get far fewer opportunities to open up a dialog. In fact, experience in the field shows you’ll get in the door up to five times more often with an audit program.

Of course, a security audit is an educational program, part of which includes “educating” people about home security systems. This indirect approach removes the usual barriers you’ll run into with a straight-ahead charge, paving the way for sales.

If you’d like more information about this and other sales prospecting programs, join us in the “Just for Sales Reps” forum at securitymarketing.com/forum I’ll be posting a home security audit form there soon, so be sure to look for it if you’re interested in using this program.

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