Why You Should Offer Maintenance Contracts Ask any audio video business or custom integrator about their biggest frustration. You won't get half-way through your first beer before "disappearing margins" enters the conversation. Integrators have been dealing with it for years, so it's nothing new. Google and Amazon certainly haven't helped. Add the merging of AV and IT it's a miracle we haven't read about an integrator losing his shit and setting a house on fire! With all these forces pushing against your business how do you stay competitive and profitable? First, you sell the service not the products, that's a no-brainer. Good custom integrators have been doing that since the beginning of time. How do you give your existing and potential customers the service they crave? You do it by focusing on the service, not the sale. It's a business model that the security companies have been using for years. Don't get me wrong, I'm not promoting giving away or even discounting your installation. What I'm saying is, stop looking at the installation as a transaction, and start viewing it as the beginning of the relationship. The best way to do it is to offer maintenance agreements to all your customers. Every customer that you work for should have a maintenance contract. Now, the reality is that you won't sell maintenance contracts to all your customers, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. A few of the benefits of maintenance contracts.
1. Recurring Monthly Revenue- Maintenance contracts will keep the lights on when times are lean.
2. Added Value- By selling maintenance contracts, you're telling your customers that you're "Their Guy". You're in it for the long haul.
3. Trust builders- Maintenance contracts keep you in front of your clients on a regular basis. When the time comes to upgrade products, you'll get less push back.
The Conversation That Works
Ok, we've decided that we're going to make selling maintenance agreements part of the routine. Now, how to do it? I'd recommend selling them separately from the project, but foreshadowed from the beginning. On a small residential project, bring it up in the first conversation. But don't harp on it. You only want them know it's available. Promote the benefits and move on.
During the site survey bring it up again. Something like this.
"Are we going to be including our maintenance contract on the project?"
"What's a maintenance contract?"
"Well, it's preventative maintenance on your system. For example, Firmware updates that cable/internet providers push on a regular basis, can sometimes make things go haywire. I'm sure you've had to deal with slow internet a time or two because of a firmware update that CABLE PROVIDER has done?
You spend 45 minutes on the phone with them, you start unplugging and plugging devices."
(as they nod in disgusted agreement).
Well, with a maintenance contract, you call us and we take care of it for you. You don't have to deal with it at all".
Then stop.... Move the conversation to another direction.
If you're sitting at the dining room table, automatically add in the costs of the maintenance contract. You can even go as far as showing them 2 different prices. 1 with, 1 without maintenance contracts.
Make it clear that it's optional, but you'd recommend it. The vast majority of clients with 2 nickels to rub together will take it on the spot
If they don't buy it on the spot, re-address at the end of the installation. As the technician is writing up the final invoice, etc.
"Mrs. Smith, I don't have it on my paperwork. I assume you folks are doing the maintenance agreement?"
If they're interested at all in the maintenance contract, she'll bite!
That's how I sold maintenance contracts in my business. With a little tweaking to match your sales style, you can sell them too.
Download your FREE MAINTENANCE CONTRACT TEMPLATE right here.