Getting more business and increasing your recurring revenue is something every alarm company owner thinks about. How to formulate a plan for growth and then implementing that plan is just the beginning. While some companies grow by acquisition, most depend on word of mouth, with little or no advertising, and others have aggressive and costly advertising campaigns, paid for Internet presence, telephone solicitation and door knockers. It’s the door knocker model I’d like to focus on.
It’s hard to argue against success, and we’ve seen tremendous success with the door knocker campaigns. I suppose the real questions that need answering are:
- has the model of “door knockers” taken on such a negative connotation that you’re not comfortable with the concept or practice?
- can you find effective door knockers?
- can door knockers be effective if they stay within the proper bounds of propriety?
Certainly at least two of these issues are related because any negative connotation associated with door knockers, particularly in the alarm industry, is clearly the result of deceptive sales practices. Complaints against alarm companies who engage door knockers run the gamut from what could be viewed as permissible competition to use of such outrageous lies that characterizing them as deceptive business practices is not enough; fraud seems like a better characterization.
Finding effective door knockers is another hurtle. These effective door knockers are not your cousin Bernie the schlep. Effective door knockers are highly trained, dedicated and motivated. They may be registered or licensed, depending on the jurisdiction. Whether a door knocker’s effectiveness is directly correlated with how far the envelope of propriety is pushed, perhaps all the way to deceptive and unlawful business practices, is a question I can’t answer and I don’t know of any studies, though someone should conduct one.
Let’s examine a few approaches door knockers are known to utilize:
- Hello, I am from [their real company] and we are in the area offering special alarm services at very attractive prices.
- Hello, I am from [their real company] and I notice from your lawn sign or window sticker that you have alarm service. I’d like to discuss offering you a better, more up to date system with more attractive pricing.
- Hello, I am from [their real company]. I’d like to offer you a new and better system and I will beat whatever price you are paying now.
- Hello, I am from [your alarm company] and I am here to or would like to schedule an inspection so we can check your system [and reprogram it to our central station without you realizing it].
- Hello, I am from [their real company]. We bought your alarm company or it is no longer able to monitor or service your alarm system and I am here to reprogram the system.
- Hello, I am from [their real company]. I see you have alarm service with XYZ Company. You may not know but regrettably that company’s owner has been arrested, or the company is under investigation for home burglaries and invasions, or filed bankruptcy, and I am here to arrange for your continued alarm service with our fine reputable company.
Each of these pitches comes with the presentation of a new alarm contract. You find out when your subscriber stops paying you a month later. You might find out if the line has security and it goes off line. By the time you do find out there isn’t much you can do because your subscriber is not overly concerned with your business, doesn’t want to be bothered or is actually happy with the new system and better pricing.