For this article, I spoke with an expert who has been selling safes for much of his life. He began his career working for a major safe manufacturer and is a locksmith company owner. Now, he is successfully selling safes in multiple showrooms, at a variety of venues and on the Internet. He says that the main competition for locksmiths are the club, hardware and big box stores.
I have put together a number of his techniques and beliefs about the best way to sell safes to make money and have satisfied customers. For this article, we will discuss selling safes from a locksmith store that has a safe showroom. A safe showroom can be just a portion of the customer’s waiting area or as much as a dedicated room.
To begin, the showroom should appear to be a fully supplied, clean and the safes dusted regularly. Safes that do not have wheels can be mounted on wood pallets, which make it easier to move them in and out of the showroom.
A well-appointed safe showroom provides the image to the customer that there are choices available even if there are not a lot of safes. If possible, obtain examples of safe locks, cutaway section of safe bodies, color and finish charts, etc., that provide an opportunity for the customer to understand some safe basics. Add a picture or two and some homey touches to create a comfortable shopping environment for the customers.
Types of Safes
Important rule #1: Most customers think there is only one kind of safe.
There is not one kind of safe. There are fire safes and burglary safes and composite (fire and burglary) safes.
A safe, be it designed for burglary or fire or burglary and fire, provides protection in the way of time preventing access to the contents. A fire safe protects the content against heat for a period of time. There are media safes, data safes and fire boxes designed to protect paper. A burglary safe provides protection against forced and surreptitious entry for a period of time. Some safes provide the greatest protection from frontal attacks. There are safes that provide equal protection on all six sides.
To help your customer begin to understand that there are different safes, display printed information on every safe in your showroom. The printed information can be placed within a clear plastic magnetic holder for presentation and to keep it clean. The information should include the manufacturer, model, inside and outside dimensions, cubic feet, the weight, ratings and price. The price can include a retail price and the selling price. This way the customer can do some comparison-shopping as well as ask questions about ratings.
When pricing a safe, do not use percentage for a discount if you offer one. Use a dollar amount so you will know how many dollars you are giving away and how many dollars the customer is saving. Dollars sound better to the customers than do percentages.
Another thing to consider when pricing your safes is “taking off the curse.” Always use cents in the price of the safe or any other product you are selling. The psychological value causes many people to see the lower price.
Bigger Is Better
Important rule #2. No one has ever bought a safe that is too big.
Your job is to sell the customer a bigger, better safe. In the long run, they will be happier. A safe can be a lifetime possession. Customers come into your showroom usually wanting the minimum safe. If they end off buying the minimum safe, they will almost always outgrow it and become unhappy and blame you.
Sell your safes the same way car dealers sell cars, motorcycles, SUVs and trucks. They show the customer top-of-the-line, full-featured vehicles. Begin by showing the customer the full featured, more expensive safes. By showing the expensive safes, show them the lower priced safes with fewer features. By this time, the customer may have fallen in love with some of those features only available on top-of-the-line safes. Remember: It is easier to step down to a less expensive safe than it is to step a customer up to a better and stronger safe.
Safes and safe locks.
A safe rating label indicates the minimum standards to which a safe has been rated. Not all brands of the safes in a specific category offer the same protection.
The sales of impulse items and the standard over-the-counter sales of duplicate keys, etc., can go a long way to cover the costs of day-to-day operation.