By Tracie Thomas
Building a successful business in the security industry is not for the faint of heart. Consider the fact that 96% of companies fail within a decade. Even for those that don’t, there is no guarantee of continued future success.
Today’s fast-paced business climate of technology upgrades, manufacturer offerings, tough customer expectations, and competitive pressure requires you to seek new ways to evolve your sales process to remain profitable and to grow your business.
Still, the security industry is healthy, and in no area is this more apparent than in the market for security entrances. According to the IHS 2015 report “The Market for Pedestrian Entrance Control Equipment,” the total market size in the Americas for all types of security entrance products grew from $123 million in 2012 to $159 million in 2014, or an average of 14-percent per year. The report predicts the entrance market will continue such strong growth into the early 2020s.
For dealers and integrators, this robust growth indicates a high likelihood that your customers will ask you to recommend and to install security entrances. And while your initial response might be to jump right in, taking the time to learn about the product and the process will help keep you from making any mistakes that could lead to project failure or damage your customer relationships.
Here are seven mistakes to avoid when selling security entrances:
- Not accurately evaluating an end user’s needs. It’s crucial to ask the right questions to discover the customer’s pain points and their objectives. Do they need to prevent theft, workplace violence, or unauthorized access to sensitive information? Will their entrances be manned by security officers? Taking the time to listen first will help you ask the right questions to provide guidance and make the correct product recommendations. If you don’t understand specifics such as their type of business, traffic patterns, facility throughput, regulations and more, you might inadvertently recommend something that doesn’t meet their security requirements.
- Not having expertise about how different security entrances work. There is a tremendous range of security entrance solutions available, and end users are looking for guidance and expertise from dealers and integrators. Each product type has its own strengths and weaknesses, including how they integrate with access control systems, how they are serviced, the metrics they can generate and more. Study time is required to build a complete and detailed understanding of their working principles.
- Assuming that all security entrances are the same. Many professionals tend to use the word “turnstile” to refer to all security entrances, when, in fact, there are multiple types of entrances for different applications, industries and levels of security. These include not only diverse types of turnstiles, but also mantrap portals and security revolving doors. If assumptions are made around the word “turnstile,” the end user could end up with a solution that doesn’t meet their needs, is unnecessarily costly, or worse, allows a security breach to occur when they thought they were protected.
- Not doing a site walk. A site walk is the best way to get a clear understanding of the overall project scope and confirm the specific jobsite conditions that could affect the project implementation. These include the location of power outlets, width of stairways, flooring type and other factors that can affect the speed and effectiveness of the installation process and be the difference between a successful project and one that costs more money. Even more, doing a site walk can provide you with an opportunity to identify work scope expansions and additional product applications.
- Not understanding required maintenance and customer service. Security entrances require regular on-site maintenance, which may be new to your service staff, and may require skills such as electrical, glazing, mechanical and construction. The mix of high-tech and physical mechanisms may necessitate some changes in your service tool kits. Your customer service team will need to update their maintenance materials and knowledge of security entrances as well.
- No knowledge of installation logistics. Making sure that the security entrance product is ready for installation in the right place and on time at the customer’s facility will take some planning on the dealer/integrators’ part. Consider factors such as unloading, storage, the staging area, and equipment to handle the security entrance, in addition to staff and support tools. The manufacturer should provide your staff with advance information to avoid surprises.
- Not understanding the manufacturer’s role and expectations. Given the nature of security entrances and the technical requirements they bring to the table, your manufacturer will want to ensure your continuous level of commitment. A true partnership requires dedication to learning enough to be self-sufficient in solving customer needs or issues. Be prepared to invest in ongoing technical training. There will always be bumps in the road, but a good manufacturer will expect the journey to involve shared accountability along the way.
Organizations of all kinds are increasingly seeing the value of security entrances to help keep their facilities safe from threats and liability. Selling security entrances can provide you with an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your customers, in addition to producing additional revenue. Make sure that before you dive in, you understand that adding security entrances to your lineup and projects may introduce new elements to your operations. Being aware of these, and preparing for them, can help you keep a clear path to success and new business opportunities.
About The Author
VP of Marketing
Boon Edam Inc.