One of the most common questions we encounter from our contractor partners is:
“I understand and believe nitrogen-inerting technology is best for my customers. However, it can be a tough sell. How do I sell nitrogen solutions more effectively?”
This question is a great question that is worth asking an expert, as corrosion management technology is truly a win for all involved.
Benefits of Corrosion Control Technology
It is most important first to understand the primary benefits of nitrogen-based corrosion management solutions. By having a list of advantages in mind, you can pull different pieces and tailor them according to your audience. Having nitrogen-based corrosion control equipment in place will:
- Extend the useful service life of your fire sprinkler system (by over four times in most cases)
- Prevent obstructions from forming and affecting the ability of the system to control a fire, which is critical to saving lives
- Eliminate significant expenses associated with complete system replacement as the facility ages
- Eliminate risk exposure due to pinhole leaks caused by corrosion, which potentially causes property damage and disrupts business continuity
- Meet requirements for automatic air vents on new wet systems per NFPA 13 2016 ed.
- Eliminate expensive freeze-ups since nitrogen is a dry gas that avoids condensation build-up
- Allow an opportunity for a possible reduction in insurance premiums since leading insurance underwriters such as FM Global back nitrogen technology (see Data Sheet 2-1)
- Extend time intervals for major fire sprinkler service events for FM Global clients (see Data Sheet 2-81)
- The full-flow trip test requirement was extended from 3 years to 10 years for dry/preaction systems fed with nitrogen.
- Eliminate obstruction investigation requirements if contractors originally installed the system with nitrogen.
Further, the 2022 edition of NFPA 13 will likely allow for an increased C factor of 120 for dry/preaction systems initially installed with nitrogen. There would be considerable installation cost savings as a result, especially if the increased C factor, in turn, allows for a system to be designed without a fire pump.
Customer Interview Preparation
With all of these facts and tools at hand, it becomes up to the fire sprinkler sales or project manager to pick and choose the most applicable for the right potential customers. It is essential to recognize that there will always be the initial cost hurdle – corrosion solutions are optional most of the time and come with some initial added cost.
As mentioned above, this initial cost is always more than offset in other areas, and a facility owner/manager must clearly understand where to find these savings.
There are also dozens of documented case studies proving the effectiveness of oxygen removal from a fire sprinkler system and the associated cost savings and risk mitigation.
Before approaching a potential customer, a salesperson should understand the nature of the customer’s business, at least at a high level. Some example questions to answer before or during a meeting could include:
- What is the risk tolerance of this business? Can an ill-timed pinhole leak result in high incurred costs?
- Has this customer experienced pinhole leaks in the past? If so, are they at a point of frustration?
- What does this customer value?
- Who insures this business’s property? Is there any opportunity for premium reduction?
- If new construction, would the local AHJ accept an increased C factor if nitrogen is used?
- Is this customer responsible for the upkeep of their facility?
- Has this customer encountered freeze-ups and ice plugs with their current setup?
Answering some of these critical questions will help choose which benefits are best to present to potential customers.
Corrosion management systems are marketable and a great immediate option for sales growth for fire sprinkler contractors. These solutions also help build trust among customers, which undoubtedly results in increased long-term recurring sales. Contractors can build trust and, in turn, more sales by providing solutions to building and business owners that address the root cause of the problem, rather than “band-aid” type fixes such as pipe replacement and pinhole leak patching.
Let ECS help you tackle your next opportunity – our engineers are always excited to provide expert assistance wherever needed, including joint sales calls! Contact us today to learn more.