Some jobs must be approached with a total system solution. By breaking it down into separate parts, the client would have a shopping list to compare on price alone. By keeping our proposal as a system solution, the client would have less a chance to shop it among the community of lockshops...
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Some jobs must be approached with a total system solution. By breaking it down into separate parts, the client would have a shopping list to compare on price alone. By keeping our proposal as a system solution, the client would have less a chance to shop it among the community of lockshops, electricians, retailers and contractors.
Hardly a day goes by when you do not have the opportunity to learn something new. And you had better be comfortable with learning as part of your profession, if you have any plans to continue to be a locksmith, or grow your locksmith business. While some locksmiths can tread water by just doing what they’ve always done, the majority of us need to adapt to surviving in a changing world.
The companion article in this month’s issue reflected the issues faced by the security trade in general and the locksmith profession in particular.
For example, consider the security dealer who called us in to consult. It’s good to partner with others in order to service your customers. Don’t be afraid to call in others when you are faced with such obstacles, but also learn from the experiences so you can be better equipped to face a similar situation in the future.
The dealer is in a high growth area, and is staying pretty busy as a franchise for a national alarm company doing 95 percent residential. Perhaps residential alarm systems are a potential growth area for your own business.
One of our major commercial accounts called and asked for a quote for a replacement CCTV camera. They knew the brand and model they wanted and were prepared to do the labor themselves. They were just looking for the best price and prompt delivery. We were already doing a lot of access control for these folks, and had submitted some proposals for future projects which involved video, so we were eager to accommodate the customer, with profit not being the issue.
We obtain the majority of our electronic security from a single distributor. They consistently offer the best price, and fast delivery, even if they do not ‘stock’ the item and it has to be drop-shipped from the manufacturer. I called the distributor, gave the representative the part number and got a price and delivery. We added 20 percent to our cost, and I cheerfully submitted my “great deal” to the client. He shook his head and said we weren’t even close. We were quoted $1,600 for the camera in question, and added the 20 percent. My client had gotten a price of $1500 from an on-line retailer.
The camera manufacturer has several marketing channels, and it is more important to this manufacturer to move equipment than to help the small dealers. This is nothing new to the locksmith. It is not unusual for people to request that you rekey or install hardware that they’ve purchased elsewhere. The fact that the locksmith is selling specialized skills partially protects him from turning his profession into a price war with his own suppliers.
In defense of the manufacturers, they are facing increased competition from other sources and need to maintain their biggest customers. We were disturbed by this experience, hoping that the client would not take the attitude that we were similarly overpriced with all of our products and services.
But then we had the preschool project to quote. I suggested that we approach this job with a total system solution, rather than break it down into sections. This was because I knew that by breaking it down into separate parts, the client would have a shopping list. By keeping our proposal as a system solution, the client would have less of a chance to shop it among the community of lockshops, electricians and contractors in the area.
It’s a question of sales engineering rather than taking an order or installing a piece of hardware. The process involves carefully evaluating the site and determining what the client needs, then convincing the client. If the client has not already specified a system, you are not just there to make a sale, but also you are acting as a consultant. You could very likely not get reimbursed for your efforts. The client will design the system looking at the right hand column, then go shopping for lower price.
For my second interview with a locksmith under 30 years old, I wanted to speak with Demetrius Heggs, owner of All City Locksmith in Philadelphia. He was 29 years old when I first approached him...