How do you begin the conversation? Some people are very uncomfortable discussing their need for a safe. Begin with standing in front of the customer, not behind the counter. The first question to ask in a sincere tone is “Have you looked at any safes yet?” The answer will provide you with a lot of information. Most people get their first look at a safe at a club store, big box store, hardware or office supply. Some have their first look at safes on the Internet. The answer they provide will tell you who your competition is and a suggestion of how to proceed.
The next question to ask is “How large a safe do you think will contain the possessions?” Follow up by explaining that safes have different ratings, for fire and burglary protection. You need to know at least the basic different fire and burglary ratings to guide your customer to the right safe for their intention.
Fire protection ratings are available on some safes that offer fire protection. Some safe manufacturers have their fire safes tested by Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL) or other nationally known independent testing laboratories. Some independent testing laboratories offer different standards than UL. Some manufacturers perform their own testing and others claim their safes are built to certain standards. Tested safes that have met standards will have a testing agency label. Tested safes are not necessarily more expensive than untested safes. You can sell a safe on the ratings.
Note: Most insurance companies require the appropriate UL burglary rating on the safe in order to obtain coverage.
UL Fire Ratings
UL has three important fire ratings for locksmiths.
- Class 350 rated safes are designed to protect paper products.
- Class 150 media safes are designed to protect magnetic tapes and photographic film.
- Class 125 data safes are designed to protect flexible computer disks. The class number relates to the temperature protection.
For example, a UL Class 350 2 hour fire rated safe protects the content to external temperature of over 1700 degrees F, maintaining an internal temperature below 350 degrees F for at least two hours. Paper will spontaneously combust at from 400 to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
After you explain the different ratings, ask the customer about the stuff he or she wants to protect. Does he or she want to store papers, media, guns, gold, jewelry, etc.? What is the approximate street value of the stuff that will be put into the safe as well as the approximate cubic feet of the stuff?
Remember, most safe buyers will most probably require a safe that is at least 50 percent bigger as people realize how much stuff they want in a safe once the safe is at their home and they are starting to fill it. Do not push the sale to a larger safe. Just mention it. Pushing the customer will probably kill the sale, as the customer will think you are upselling for greater profit.
Most of today’s safes are dual purpose; they provide both fire protection and burglary protection. However, you need to discuss the safes’ ratings, as a safe purchased to protect $10,000 will be very different from a safe protecting $400,000.
Suggestion: Occasionally go to the office supply stores, big box stores and clubs to check out the safes being sold. This way you can determine their pricing and what makes and models are being sold and what their warranties are.
Remember to sell the safe by focusing on the features and benefits. You are a safe expert and you choose the makes and models to sell that are best for your customers.
Safes are available with mechanical locks and electronic locks. The basic differences are the simplicity of operation and the functionality. A mechanical lock requires rotating the dial left and right for specific number of rotations to specific numbers. Messing up on either the number of rotations or number will result in the safe not unlocking. An electronic lock requires entering a valid code onto the keypad and/or placing a finger into a biometric fingerprint reader. Fingerprints are enrolled or deleted from the keypad’s database.
Enter a valid code and/or presenting a fingerprint and the electronic lock will unlock in much less time than what is required to unlock a mechanical lock. Having an electronic lock is an upcharge.
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.