You might be hesitant to get a home alarm quote. Maybe you’re a private person, and don’t want strangers i.e. salespeople to be touring your house and looking through all your things. Maybe you don’t want to answer all sorts of personal questions about your lifestyle. It would be nice to know what a typical alarm system sales call involves, if you decide to get a home security alarm quote.
We decided to get a quote from the biggest home alarm company out there, ADT, to give you an idea on how a typical sales call is structured, and how long it would usually take to get a proper home alarm quote. This is not to encourage or discourage you from purchasing a home alarm from ADT or any other alarm company. It is just a simple overview of the general process, so there are no surprises. To read customer reviews and our expert opinion of ADT’s service read our ADT Security Review. The quote was for a typical two-story single dwelling home, with an unfinished basement:
The Warm Up
Most security companies (or any company, for that matter) encourage their salespeople to “warm up” the customer. They will exchange general pleasantries to establish a rapport with you, questions or comments such as how long you have lived at the address, what motivated you to get a quote, etc.The Security Agenda: What The Meeting Will Accomplish
The salesperson will then set the agenda of the sales call, so you know exactly what to expect. The agenda is usually something like this:
Part One: They will tell you why ADT (or the company you made the appointment with) should be your security company i.e. number of years in business, etc.
Part Two: They will ask more “probing questions” (see “needs analysis” discussed in detail later in this article), specifically about your concerns and lifestyle.
Part Three: After establishing the issues, you will all do a “walk through” of the inside and outside of your home.
Part Four: You will then sit back down and discuss the various equipment options in more detail, discuss your protection options (security packages available, or what the salesperson recommends to have installed), reach agreements on what you need, disclose pricing etc.
After he sets the agenda, the sales call will officially begin:
Part One: Why Go With My Company?
The salesperson will go over what you should consider when choosing an alarm company, specifically:
- The Company
- The Equipment
- The Service
- The Investment
They will tell you that many other companies cut corners in one of the first three areas i.e. bad equipment, bad technicians, inconsistent monitoring, or general bad service. He will explain that you might only need to have your system working perfectly on one opportunity, and that it is not worth it to only consider price when choosing an alarm company. (This is in case the ADT quote is the highest quote you got.) He will then, of course, talk about the storied history of ADT, some high profile clients they have, how they have the best equipment, installers, etc. You will more than likely hear something like this, no matter which alarm company you’re getting a quote from.
Part Two: The “Needs Analysis Form:
This is where the detailed questions begin. This is to establish more trust with you, and gives the sales person an idea of what products or services you might be interested in. Some of the questions they ask, and why they ask them (in brackets) are:
How long have you lived in this neighborhood?
What concerns do you have about security?
Has anything happened to you recently i.e. break in, neighbors had a break in? (Determines your motivation, the likelyhood that you will buy today)
Spouse/Significant Other, Children’s names and ages.
Is anyone home when the children come home from school? (If you answer no to this question, he might go into the benefits of perimeter protection, or let you know that when the kids disarm the system, the system can be programmed to notify you by text message, pager, etc)
Do you have pets? (If you have 2 or less small animals that each weigh less than appr. 45 pounds, motion detectors that will not be set off by pets are available. If the animals are large and you have 3 or more, he will need to concentrate on perimeter devices, ie door and window contacts, glass break detectors.)
Do you have a housekeeper, nanny? (You can program codes that only work for these people, or codes that only work on certain days of the week and hours of the day)
What type of internet connection do you have?
Do you have VOIP service? (Many alarm companies cannot monitor through a voip line yet, but some can. This is constantly changing.)
Do you have traditional land line phone service in the home? (More and more people are using cell phones as their primary phone, if this is the case for you, you might have to use cell or radio monitoring, which can cost more).
Are you aware of homeowner’s discount for alarm owners? (This is true no matter which alarm company you go with, provided they are UL or ULC approved).
What type of heat do you have in your home? (This determines your need for a CO2 detector. If you use electric heat, more than likely they will not recommend one.)
Are you concerned about: Flooding, Freezing Pipes? (Determines whether you need a flood water sensor or temperature sensor).
Do you have any experience with security systems? (Determines whether a simple or complex keypad should be recommended, or a simple wireless “key fob”, which turns your alarm on and off with the push of a button).
Do you have a cordless phone and if so, have you ever misplaced it? (If you answer yes, they might recommend a keypad with a built in speaker phone, so you can communicate with the monitoring station without searching for the phone).
Is your phone service routinely interrupted? (If yes, they will recommend cell or radio backup so your alarm signal can reach the monitoring station)
Part Three: The Walk Through
This is where the security consultant will walk with you through your home (virtually), identify and confirm where the sensors will be placed and make recommendations for additional sensors your should purchase. This is different than an in home walk through that will be conducted later by your security installation technician. This “walk through” whether virtually or in person, is where a lot of up selling occurs. Be make sure to ask good questions, not be pressured into anything, and that you completely understand and are happy with what they are explaining and where the sensors will be.
If the representative is recommending adding equipment be sure to ask them why they are recommending it, how much the equipment will cost, and if it will have an impact on your monitoring rat.
Part Four: Coming To An Agreement
After you have completed the other steps of the sales call your ADT representative will go over everything you discussed and explain to you the equipment you will be receiving, it’s price, your monitoring price and agreement terms, as well as the features of your system. Once you have agreed upon everything the sales representative will schedule you for an installation time and complete the call. Some good questions to ask during this phase of the call.
Are you currently running any promotions that I qualify for? This may seem obvious but be sure to ask if they have promotions you qualify for. Often times they do but will not mention them unless you ask.
What equipment will I be receiving? Make sure you understand all the equipment you are purchasing and confirm that they have added all the equipment you wanted.
How much will I have to pay upfront? Your upfront equipment fee will vary depending on a couple factors so make sure you ask and understand exactly what you’re paying.
Do I own the equipment? When your contract is up will you have to return the equipment if you cancel? Or will you be able to keep your equipment and potential have another monitoring company overtake it.
Does my equipment come with a warranty? Most home security companies provide an equipment warranty on their products. ADT does this through their Quality Service Plan for an additional monthly charge. However some packages have the QSP built into them so be sure to ask.
What happens if I need my equipment serviced? Will a technician need to come out? Is there a service visit fee? These are all important things to understand should something go wrong with your system.
Can I add equipment at a later date? Will it change my monitoring rate? System flexibility is a great convenience as your needs grow. Just be sure to understand if you can add sensors later, and if that will change your monitoring rate.
What is my monthly monitoring rate? Ask for your total monthly monitoring rate and the features you receive for that rate.
How long is my monitoring agreement? Typical monitoring agreements with ADT are for 3 years but they can vary. Be sure to review this with your representative.
Do I need any local permits for my security system? Some localities require a special permit for a home security system. ADT will be able to tell you if you live in an area that does and what you need to do to secure a permit.
Is there a trial period? ADT has a 60 day trial but there are some clauses to it. Be sure to ask your representative to explain the trial period in detail.
What is my early termination fee? Know what your out is. you may need to cancel you security contract early so be sure you understand what this will cost you.
What happens if I move? If you move can you bring your system with you? Is there a reactivation fee? Will you need to get a completely new system? These are all important things to understand before you commit to a 3 year monitoring agreement.
Ready to speak with ADT? You can give them a call at (888) 241-8320 or VISIT THEIR WEBSITE to learn more!