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Mistakes Alarm Installers Make When Talking to Inexperienced Owners

5 Mistakes Alarm Installers Make When Talking to Inexperienced Owners

From business owners to technicians on the ground, many alarm installers often make common and avoidable communication mistakes when engaging with inexperienced owners seeking security solutions. Recognizing that these interactions present excellent sales opportunities, we understand that you likely have substantial experience in delivering sales pitches to precisely these types of potential customers; however, installers need to avoid several pitfalls.

These mistakes relate to the language you use, the things you promise, or how you explain your rates. At the worst, they could even lead to liability issues and angry customers, causing trouble down the line. Stay away from discussions like these.

Promising Complete or Foolproof Coverage

It can be tempting to praise all the benefits of a system or solution to a home or business owner who doesn’t really know what they want. But when property security is at stake, getting too “salesy” can cause major headaches. One of the worst examples is promising complete, foolproof, 100%, or total protection against a problem like theft or fires.

Those absolute terms may sound great and look great in advertisements, but it’s a legal trap waiting to snap shut. No security or alarm system is 100% effective, and user mistakes can happen all the time. Using that kind of language can open up alarm installation companies to lawsuits if a problem happens later on. Be accurate in your language, and use more careful language like, “The best option in my experience,” or “The most effective compared to the alternatives I’ve worked with.”

Using Lots of Industry Jargon

Jargon is usually a big mistake with potential customers new to the whole field. That’s especially true when explaining alarms and security, where lots of jargon awaits that can confuse owners. And that jargon can hide in unexpected places. For example, you may feel very comfortable mentioning “ADT” services, but an inexperienced homeowner may just think, “Oh no, another acronym to learn, is that like DIY?” And, of course, words like NFPA (National fire Protection Association” or FACP (Fire Alarm Control Panel) or FAI (Fire Alarm Interface) are going to raise more questions than they answer.

Acronyms and brand names aren’t the only confusing terms, either. Saying you can do a “like-for-like” exchange could lead to a lot of uncertainty. Talking about “camera traps” may make customers a lot more nervous than simply explaining sensors connected to cameras.

Remember, wary customers won’t always ask for explanations for confusing terms. Often they’ll simply shut down or quickly move on to avoid embarrassment, but it still leads to a lost sale.

Not Going Through Monitoring Services Clearly

Alarm monitoring is one of the more confusing parts of an installation for newcomers, and customers need careful explanation here. Instead of just saying that professionals monitor alarms to send responders, it’s a very good idea to walk through the process. Talk about how signals are sent to a monitoring center, what the center will check via the security system, and how long it takes responders to arrive.

This is also the time to break down monitoring fees. How much does it cost per month? How does that compare with other services? Are these fees required for certain services to work? Are fees optional (such as when upgrading from a free video storage plan)?

In some circumstances, you may also want to explain how false alarms work too, although avoid piling on too much information at once. Make sure customers have a clear idea of what monitoring does, how much different versions can cost, and if they are required to have it for an installation.

Forgetting to Explain Itemization on a Contract

Itemization is one of the most important parts of a contract for owners who are buying their first alarm system. Good itemization will list out every device that an owner is purchasing, what role professional labor plays, and any fees for additional services.

With that kind of itemization, installers can go through each list item, explain what it is and why the owner agreed to it, and leave the contract with no surprises. That may seem like a small thing at first, but inexperienced customers don’t always understand what they are getting with larger kits and packages, and it’s not uncommon for an installation to get underway only for a customer to say, “Wait, I didn’t order that!”

Going through an itemized contract beforehand clears up all these issues before they lead to bad reviews or cancellations.

Leaving the Manual to Do All the Intro Work

Don’t expect owners to understand everything they are responsible for. Contracts should always spell this out, but customers don’t usually read all the fine print. Always including an owner training period for new installations, even if it’s a small system or a single device. Explain what the homeowner needs to do to activate the system and set up their preferences or make adjustments.

While it’s helpful to walk through an app installation, don’t do everything for them — don’t leave your customer helpless! Provide an easy contact option for quick questions during setup if they run into anything they don’t understand.


Thorough explanations and going through the details will help potential customers who don’t know much about the industry. Anticipate questions and avoid making unwise promises, and you’ll avoid costly confusion later on.

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