It is for those who sell the cameras, card access, central station monitoring, design consulting, perimeter and screening technology, guard services, locks, VMS Software, covert equipment, and the list goes on—the “parts and pieces” in use by security staffs worldwide.
Great Security Sales Professionals serve the needs of the Operations, Investigative, Protective, or End-User side of the security industry. As such, their talents are of vital importance to the security industry. Sadly, today, for every one great Security Sales Professional, you have nine others that are horrible.
Size and type of company does not matter when it comes to who may have great salespeople and who may have horrible salespeople. Sony and ADT can have duds as easily as the smaller guys can have superstars. It matters not whether we are talking Security Manufacturers, or Security Manufacturer Rep. Firms, nor whether we are talking Security Integrators and Distributors.
Here is the issue. The industry needs you to be a security professional FIRST, and a salesperson SECOND. We don’t have that right now—not by a long shot. And for a role as critical as the one which sells equipment, services, and solutions that help the rest of the security industry function, we need more than “run of the mill” sales staff like 90% of what we are saddled with now—we need Security Sales Professionals.
Here is a common scenario today. Take the salesperson at a surveillance camera manufacturer who sees themselves as a sales pro who just happens to work for a security camera manufacturer. By extension, they might as well work somewhere else selling medical imaging equipment, copiers, or financial planning services. Not only is this how the salesperson may see himself, but worse, this is how the security manufacturer may see their sales staff!
The main reason the security industry needs all our salespeople to be security professionals FIRST is one of foundation—a solid, common base from where everything else takes shape.
Not unlike a building foundation, where you start often determines where you finish. Without a proper building foundation, you may have doors, windows, a heating system, wall coverings, fixtures, and all the elements that make for a great looking building. But live in the building for a year and you may find doors that don’t close properly, creaking ductwork, moisture seeping through the walls, and electrical interruptions. The security industry functions in a similar fashion right now because we have salespeople with no security foundation.
If all our salespeople begin with Security as their foundation—their equipment and solutions sales become that much better as a result.
This is not to say that those with sales skills from outside the security industry are barred from joining the ranks of Security Sales Professionals. What it does mean is that the requirement of being a Security Professional comes before whatever selling skills you might bring to the table. The good news is that becoming a Security Professional can be learned by most. With 90% of our current sales staff being horrible this is very good news. But it won’t happen without effort and support from Manufacturers, Integrators, Manufacturing Rep. Firms, and the like. Right now, those groups are failing the Security Industry in this regard—and it certainly isn’t just in their sales force. The same principle applies to their Engineers, Marketing Teams, and the Executives. Each of them needs to become a Security Professional FIRST.
Anything less than the “Security Professional First, Sales Professional Second,” approach cheapens the Security Industry. But too often, in the desire to meet the next quarterly earnings filing, or because company executives are not Security Professionals, we find our industry saturated with salespeople who are clueless about the security industry.
They may have memorized a marketing plan and their product line, and know which items have higher margins than others, and which items to move because they’ll be obsolete soon, and how to position their offering against a competitor, but that doesn’t make them a Security Sales Professional.