While the majority of courses offered by NTS focus on the technology security integration companies use each and every day, non-technical classes are also available to improve your business.
One of those non-technical courses, Essential Sales Training (EST), has recently been updated to fit today’s security industry – and your company.
EST was written to teach students how to sell security systems, but it delivers both Sales 101 – how to sell – and Security Sales 101 – how to sell security systems. It’s relevant sales training that could help you sell anything – but every example focuses on the industry and uses it as the model.
It’s an extremely interactive course, filled with role-playing and student participation. Some of the core material offered in the course includes:
- The sales cycle
- Identifying problems
- Presenting solutions
- Handling objections
- Managing customers
Since EST was introduced in the mid-1990s, the industry has obviously gone through a number of changes – related both to technology and to the market. While the original course had a residential flavor to it, the updated course breaks it down to serve both residential and commercial applications.
The first day of the two-day course focuses on sales methodologies strictly from a residential/small commercial perspective. "If your business model is strictly residential, you can do a day focused on sales methodologies and get a lot of value out of the course,” says Dale Eller, ESA Director of Education & Standards.
Day two of EST was overhauled, and now features six modules that can be added and subtracted as appropriate for the companies using the course as their internal sales training. The day focuses on commercial applications, with the "Understanding Commercial Sales” as the first module, followed by five technology modules:
- Integrated Systems
"What we tried to do was to say, what are the things you're going to have to consider now that you're selling commercial intrusion, fire, video, access and integrated systems?" says Eller.
That evolved into developing different lead generation systems, partnerships, project management skills and public speaking skills – all of which are included in the course.
"Nothing is taught about the technologies, but we explain if you're going to sell these systems, here are some of the areas you'll need to understand. You need to understand these things if you're going to be involved in the design process,” says Eller.
"You need to be able to understand what the customer wants and translate that into what you will need to deliver.”
In commercial applications, rarely are you able to sell an "out of the box” solution that fits every customer. Your understanding of the equipment needs to be elevated, and you need to know how to identify a problem and match a product or solution to it.
You also need to be able to deliver tech specs, sizes and options to your tech team – and you learn how to in EST.
The course is designed for security sales staff at levels, from rookie to experienced salespeople.
It’s a good refresher and presents a lot of good information in the context of the discipline, says Eller. "Somebody with experience should take this course because 1) we all fall into bad habits, and 2) we all get complacent.
"Things that used to work don't now. The greatest advantage this course offers is to look at the topic with a fresh eye - it's not just the material, it's also the experience of the instructor, the sharing of common knowledge.
"Sales people get used to doing what they do. When things change, they need to stop and look at the process, evaluate new directions and move forward,” he says.
Course instructors are chosen based on their NTS background and having a strong sales side, and NTS is currently evaluating ways to accredit people just to teach this course because of their sales expertise.
Companies and students interested in the course should contact NTS to find out when there is one in your area. It's available to be run by state chapters and by larger companies who wish to run it as an in-house training option.