Monthly Archives: January 2014

Martin Luther King Jr. As An Inspiration To Security Business Managers

martin luther king jr.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was best known for the role that he played as a leader in the civil rights movement.  But his commitment to nonviolent disobedience can be an inspiration to all business leaders.  So in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I examined many of his quotes and speeches and shared some that are particularly valuable to the security guard industry.

“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles; Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?” – Martin Luther King Jr.

If you are involved with managing a security guard business, you know how difficult it can be to successfully grow that business.  One of the main obstacles to growth is being able to differentiate your company from your competitors.  In order to become the company that is known as “great to work with”, you must begin to look at your company differently.  Greatness can only be achieved by having the courage to begin to see yourself as more than just a “Security Guard Company”.  If you are still emphasizing to prospects about how you train your officers better or how you only choose the best officers, have the courage to think and dream bigger.

“I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King had a dream and so do you.  Are you sharing that dream?  If not, what’s stopping you?  Having a dream for what you want for your company creates excitement and passion in your team.  Dreams can also provide a source of inspiration that can help overcome the obstacles that your company faces daily.  So what are you doing today to ensure that those obstacles aren’t stopping your from realizing that dream?

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Once you have determined a path through the obstacles, you are free to continue pursuing your dream.  But along the path to fulfilling that dream, you will experience both rejection and disappointment.  But remember, whether that rejection and disappointment comes from prospects, clients, or employees, never lose hope.  Rejection, disappointment, and even failure are all opportunities to learn something about yourself and your organization.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of great business leaders whose hopes for the future saw them through their disappointments and tough times.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

What many of those business leaders, as well as Martin Luther King Jr., would probably share with you is that the key to overcoming disappointment is to always be moving forward.  There are days where you will feel like you are on top of the world and other days that will be total disasters.  On the bad days, remember that the good days are just ahead and you just have to continue moving forward to get to them.  Someone once told me “Even when you are stumbling, as long as you’re stumbling forward you’re still making progress.”

 Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader in one of the most important struggles this  nation has seen, I think he would have been an incredible leader in whatever he chose to do. Challenge yourself, your managers, and your employees to be the unrelenting visionaries for your company that Martin Luther King Jr. was for this country.

 

Martin Luther King Jr

 

By Courtney Sparkman

Selling Security Guard Service Requires Good Listening Skills

selling-security-guard-service

Over the past few decades there have been hundreds of books and articles written about “Consultative Selling”.  Consultative selling is a sales technique that requires sales professionals to know their products and services in great detail.  But it also requires them to know their customers even better.  Consultative selling, my preferred technique for selling security security guard service, relies heavily on salespeople seeing themselves more as problem solvers than salespeople.  In fact, in consultative selling the service or product that you are selling are incidental to the service that you provide.

The consultative sales process is based on six principles: 1) Research; 2) Ask; 3) Listen; 4) Teach; 5) Qualify; 6) Close.  In this post I will focus on principle #3, Listening.  In my experience if salespeople who are selling security guard service train themselves to listen better, they can overcome many of the obstacles to closing a sale.  For more information on the other principles you can refer to the article The Consultative Sales Process.

Many buyers have come to expect anyone selling security guard service to talk on and on about the benefits of their services and why they should buy from their company.  Unfortunately some salespeople don’t disappoint.  But in today’s market, buyers are often as informed about the products and services that they need as the salespeople.  Rather than selling to a buyer, a salesperson’s real job is to help that buyer find solutions to some need that has gone unfulfilled.  The key to doing this is listening to and probing the buyer to gain a deeper understanding of their real challenges.

Tip: If you are selling security guard service and leave a meeting without being able to articulate at least 3 challenges that your prospect is facing chances are you didn’t listen enough.

The “ACID TEST” for Selling Security Guard Service

To help improve your listening ability, try using the “ACID TEST”.  ACID TEST is an acronym that represents the process for active listening. Active listening is a communication technique that is often used in counseling or conflict resolution but is also applicable in selling security guard service.  The acronym stands for:

  • Analyze
  • Concentrate
  • Interpret
  • Deliberate
  • Theorize
  • Exercise
  • Study
  • Tune In

Analyze – As the client is speaking analyze what they are saying.  Are the providing you with facts, opinions, or assumptions.

Concentrate – To help concentrate on what the prospect is saying, pay attention to their voice and their intonations.  Also make sure that you are making eye contact and paying attention to their gestures and body language.

Interpret – In many cases people do not always say what they mean.  I’ve learned that the challenge that someone is discussing might not actually be the problem that needs to be addressed.  So make sure that you understand their “true” challenges by asking probing questions.

Deliberate – Create a mental checklist of all the key points that your prospect touches on, especially if they cover a certain topic repeatedly.  Make sure that during the course of your meeting that you repeat back to them these key sentences to prove that you have been listening.

Theorize – As your conversation continues you should develop theories about what your prospect has or has not said.  If the prospect never mentions any issues with their current provider does that mean that they are satisfied and are just talking with you as part of a buying process.

Exercise – Listening is both a mental and physical exercise.  While listening, consciously use your body to mirror the movement and gestures of the prospect.  According to Neuro-Linguistic Programming experts, by doing this you will be able to build trust with the prospect.

Study – While deliberation requires a slight mental withdrawal from your prospect, studying requires that you actively and intensely think about what he or she has said.

Tune-In – Tuning in to what your prospect has said implies empathizing with them.  Putting yourself into your clients shoes to see the world as they see it helps to convey to your client that they are more than just a sale that has to be made.

By using these listening techniques when selling security guard service, you can position yourself as more than just a salesperson who is attempting to make a sale.  Your prospects will begin to see you as a trusted resource who is interested in helping solve their challenges.  More importantly, the knowledge that you gain from the meeting will help you develop a proposal that speaks to your prospect’s needs, as well as get you closer to closing the sale.

If you use consultative selling while selling security guard service have you been successful?  Are you using other techniques for selling security guard service?  We would love to hear about your experiences.  Please leave your comments below.

 

By Courtney Sparkman

Dealing With Rejection When Selling Security Services

selling-security

One of the toughest things about selling security services is the constant barrage of “No’s”, “I’m not interested’s”, hangups, and other rejections that occur on an hourly basis.  So much so, that many people believe that they can’t be successful at selling security services.  In fact, when I first started selling if someone told me “No” I thought that I had to be doing something wrong.  So it shocked to me to discover that EVERY salesperson gets more “No’s” than “Yes’s”.  That one revelation helped ease the feeling of frustration and anxiety that I had begun feeling.  I also realized that if my competition felt the same way, that I could possibly build a  competitive advantage by developing a system to help deal with rejection.  Here is the approach I developed distilled down into 9 points.  The approach is broken down into two parts: Mindset and Tactics.

Your Mindset Before Selling Security

  1. Realize that everyone gets rejected – Rejection is happening all around you all the time, you are not alone.  Even that great salesperson you know who closed that big deal has had plenty of rejection.  In all honesty, sales professionals tend to have great stories about their wins, but  seldom talk about their mistakes, gaffs, and miscues.  Get over being a victim and move on!
  2. Don’t try to avoid rejection – Remember that rejection does not cause physcial pain.  The discomfort that you feel when you are rejected is created by your ego and innate desire to be accepted.  Trying to avoid rejection will only limit your ability to be successful.
  3. Don’t take it personally – This is the most important of all the points offered here.  A lot of the rejection that you hear is simply because of bad timing.  If you ask a coworker to go out to lunch with you but they have already eaten, they are probably going to say no.  Or if you ask a friend to give you a ride somewhere, but their car is in the shop they will have to tell you no as well.  So don’t take the rejection personally and second guess your abilities.  You are probably receiving the no due to complex reasons that you won’t be able to ascertain.
  4. Be kind to yourself – Although receiving any kind of rejection can be disappointing and frustrating don’t beat yourself up.  So before embarking on selling security, remember to be kind to yourself.  Maintain confidence in who you are and what you have to offer to potential clients.

Tactics After You Start Selling Security Services

  1. The more no’s you get the closer you are to a yes – As a sales professional, learn to fall in love with the word “No”.  This is the hardest part of becoming successful at selling security.  You must begin to understand that every “No” you hear get’s you closer to hearing a “Yes”.  But part of getting to love “No’s” is knowing your numbers.
  2. Know the Numbers – After you have been calling for a while, you will begin to understand that you are required to make a certain number of calls to get someone to say yes.  When I was selling security guard service I knew that I had to make 35-40 calls to get someone to take an appointment.  From there it would require 10 – 15 appointments to close a sale.  If you aren’t hearing enough “No’s” you won’t be closing any sales.
  3. Listen to rejection carefully – When you are rejected, which we have established is inevitable, pay attention to the reason for the rejection.  When someone says “No” or “Not Interested” are they saying “No, not now” or “No, never”.  If you can’t tell make sure to ask.  This is key in learning the difference between initial resistance and actual rejections.
  4. Differentiate between rejection and resistance – If you don’t know the difference between the two here is an example.  When you go into a store and a sales rep asks can I help you, you might respond by saying “No, I’m just looking.”  That type of response is just an initial reaction or resistance.  When you are selling security services the “No’s” and “Not interested’s” are also just initial reactions or resistance.  Resistance is not rejection, so don’t take the first “No” as a no.  Acknowledge it and find out if it is a “No, not now” or “No, never”.
  5. Try again – Many of the most successful sales professionals, business professionals, and entrepreneurs have had more than their fair share of “No’s”.  But instead of giving up, they pushed on to achieve their dreams and goals.  So when you get hung up on or told “No” just move on to the next one.  What is the worst thing that could happen?

Selling security services and learning to accept rejection takes practice.  Very few people are born good at it, most of us have to go out and work at it.  But getting good at it is like a sport, the more you practice the better you get.  So go out and get some exercise for your sales muscles!

 

By Courtney Sparkman