Monthly Archives: February 2014

Do Customers Know The Value Of Your Security Services?

value

Recently I’ve read several articles from various sources that underlined the need for security guard companies to start measuring their services differently.  Security guard service is not just about the guards, it is about demonstrating the value that those guards provide for your customers.

I have talked to many managers who have expressed some level of frustration that their clients don’t fully appreciate what they do.  Consequently, if  clients don’t appreciate the work that is being done, it is extremely hard to assign a fair value for those services.  In today’s data driven world security guard companies need to focus on providing their customers with metrics that help demonstrate that value.  So how do you show value to customers?

Examples of Demonstrating Value

Here are several examples of security organizations capturing and sharing information with their clients that demonstrate the value of their services.

Example 1

In a recent post in a LinkedIn discussion group, Bill Nesbitt wrote this about the security manager of a large manufacturing firm:

“…His CEO had recently called him into his office, where he was told that he was going to be required to make significant cuts to his operating budget. His boss said, “Why don’t you get back to me in a week with your recommendations.” The Security Director promptly went to his computer and developed an itemized list of the proactive actions his security officers had taken over the past three years. The list included things such as: 125 doors found unlocked and secured; removed trespassers and homeless people from the property 35 times; escorted female employees to their cars 184 times. The list had somewhere around 50 items that documented the affirmative actions of his security force. He didn’t wait for a week to get back to the CEO. He returned in less than an hour.

He laid the list on the CEO’s desk, and stated: “Which of these things do you want me to stop doing?” Essentially his boss smiled, and said “get out of here,” and no cuts were made that year.”

Example 2

The Isanti County News recently published an article that again demonstrates the power of providing metrics for security officer activities.  In the article the security force was able to outline their accomplishments over the course of just several months.  The security force checked in 43,453 people turned away 3 people with guns.  They also turned away 1,438 knives, 121 hazardous tools, 67 cans of pepper spray, 43 scissors, and 4 Tasers.  After seeing those numbers the client went on to say that “I never thought this many people visit the government center.”  If you are not capturing and reporting the activities that your officers are providing, you are missing huge opportunities to demonstrate the value of your service.

Example 3

In another article that featured Giddens Security Corporation, the writer details how Giddens was responsible for greeting 465,637 visitors and snagging 10,360 potentially dangerous items.  Those items included knives scissors, pepper spray and guns.  Again the power that those metrics provide are invaluable to building your company’s brand and showing the value that your services provide.

Metrics That Show Value

In order to demonstrate the value that your company provides, you will need to capture information in a manner that allows for easy access and calculation.  Paper based reporting systems are not flexible or efficient enough to facilitate this type of reporting.  Security Guard Reporting systems like OfficerReports.com provide their users with a more efficient way of reporting on security officer activities.  Here is a short list of metrics that you should be providing to your clients on a regular basis.

  1. Number of incident, types, and trends
  2. Numbers of lights found not working
  3. Doors found unlocked or unsecured
  4. Employees being escorted
  5. Fire extinguishers checked
  6. Number of vehicles logged
  7. Number of visitors checked in
  8. Maintenance issues found
  9. Fire hazards found
  10. Recovered value of stolen items
  11. Slips, trips, falls, and near misses
  12. Tour stops completed

With these metrics in hand you can easily convey to your clients  the value that your security officers are providing for them.  Although being humble is an admirable trait, humility is not good for your business.  Tell your current clients and prospective clients all about what you do and how you deliver value.

 

value

 

By Courtney Sparkman

Asking the Right Questions Helps Sell Security Services

sell-security-servicesIn our article about the importance of listening to your clients when trying to sell security service, we outlined the six principles of the Consultative Sales Process: 1) Research; 2) Ask; 3) Listen; 4) Teach; 5) Qualify; 6) Close.  For this article I thought we would step back and take a look at principle #2 Ask, to see how to use it to sell security services.

It has been my experience that buyers often believe that salespeople are more interested in making a sale than helping solve their problems.  In order to be successful in selling your company’s services, you must get your buyer to see you as more than just a salesperson.  You must get them to see you as someone who cares about their business and is there to help them solve their challenges.  So how do you do that?  The answer is, by actually being someone who wants to help them solve a problem.  But in order to truly help the buyer you have to understand their business and the obstacles they face.  The research that you do prior to your meeting will provide some general knowledge about their business.  But for the knowledge that you will need to help solve a problem, you will have to ask the buyer some very thought-provoking and pertinent questions.  The questions that you ask are crucial in opening a dialogue  and gaining the insights that you need to help them.

Types of Questions

Your capacity to sell security services will depend on your ability to master asking three types of questions.  The three types of questions are: 1) Fact Finding; 2) Open-Ended, 3) Closed-ended questions.  If you can master asking these types of questions, you will be able to begin positioning yourself as more of a consultant than a salesperson.

Starting With Fact Finding Questions

Fact finding questions are very general questions and are meant to provide a verification of information that you may already have.  Examples of fact finding questions are:

  • What time are the officers expected to arrive on post?
  • Who manages the security contract?
  • How many employees do you have at the facility?
  • What type of incidents typically occur?

You Sell Security Services With Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the real foundation of consultative selling.  Open-ended questions give you the information that you will need to develop a proposal that provides the buyer with an answer to a problem.  These questions usually begin with who, what, when, why, where, and how.  After asking a fact finding question, probe for a deeper understanding of the buyer’s business using open-ended questions.  For example, the fact finding question might be “How many security guard providers have you had over the past 5 years?”  Depending on the answer your open-ended question might be “What has contributed to such high/low turnover?”

Beware Of Closed-Ended Questions

Close-ended questions are not very probative and can be counterproductive when trying to establish a dialogue with a buyer.  Close ended questions can usually be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No”.  Keep in mind that closed-ended questions should probably not be asked unless you already know the answer.  Close ended questions typically begin with words like “Do”, “Are”, or “Is”.  Examples of closed ended questions are:

  • Do you currently use security guards at your property?
  • Are you satisfied with your current security provider?

Now imagine getting a “Yes” answer to the last question.  That would effectively close any real opportunity to have further discussions about your service.  Again, be careful about the close-ended questions that you ask.

To effectively sell security services, sales professionals need to move away from the transactional approach of selling to a more consultative approach.  The transactional approach is based on telling buyers about your service’s features, benefits, and pricing.  It is very seller focused and ignores the needs of the buyer.  Conversely, using consultative selling to sell security services combines your company’s interest with the buyer’s interest.  In the end, the goal of asking questions is to get your buyer to explain to you how your company can help them solve a problem.  If you sell security services and walk away from a meeting without knowing at least three problems that your buyer faces, you didn’t ask enough questions.

If you sell security services have you switched from transactional selling to consultative selling?  If so, what have been your results.  Please leave your comments below.

 

By Courtney Sparkman