I Sell, Therefore I am. NOT!

SalespersonIf you sell security equipment or solutions, this article is for you. 

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.

If all our salespeople begin with Security as their foundation—their equipment and solutions sales become that much better as a result.  Now, with THAT foundation, the Security Professional who is a Salesperson selling surveillance cameras will sell camera solutions that are superior for the needs of the security industry.  Now his sales expertise won’t exist in a vacuum, but will complement his role as a Security Professional. 

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.   

Continued on Next Page: I Sell, Therefore I am.  NOT!

About Vince Regan

Vince Regan, CPP, PSP, PCI is one of the most highly credentialed security professionals in the world. As Voice of Security President, he works full time to inform and educate colleagues in the security industry.

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6 Responses to I Sell, Therefore I am. NOT!

  1. Kevin Sage Apr 18, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    I can appreciate a lot of the comments made within this article, but if we are to be fully rounded then we must also look at the performance of the buyer; how often do people step forward not actually not knowing what it is they require?

    Do people fully understand the threat that they face and its associated risks or do they just read up on equipment and decide that’s what I want? We all like toys!

    Buying criteria is often governed by budget rather than requirement so the poor sales guy has to make his widget do things it was never intended to do! More often than not a compromise is reached that in truth seldom pleases anybody. A hint to sales guys if you cannot do it then walk away in the early stages rather than waste your time or worse spoil your reputation.

    I guess what I’m saying is there is fault on both sides, to help the situation improve we need educated buyers with properly populated specification requirements, we need effective risk management and realistic outlooks as to what we have to spend over what we require. Then we need the sales guys to be honest and above board ensuring the right solution is matched to the right requirement.

    • Vince Regan Apr 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      Kevin–I hear you on the educated buyer. I sometimes think the internet has actually hurt in that regard. Sometimes a prospective buyer “thinks” they know what they want–but they really don’t–they may have seen something with a certain “cool” factor online, but that doesn’t mean that is what will solve their current security challenge. Those folks actually can become very unsatisfied if they have a salesperson who is merely an order-taker and not a provider of valuable security insights.

  2. TimHodges Apr 18, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Excellent thoughts about how you add real value in the security industry. Belief in your ability to produce the correct solution for the client means that you will be experienced and probably have read widely and also achieved certification as a professional by an organzation such as ASIS.

    • Vince Regan Apr 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      Hi Tim, I really agree with the idea of being a big reader or absorbing lots of industry information helping on the sales side.

      On the certification side I think it cuts both ways. I’ve seen an Axis salesperson with a PSP who is very talented and a true security pro.

      But I’ve seen another manufacturer salesperson with a PSP who is a horrible salesperson.

  3. Joe Chernicoff Apr 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    So what else is New? Look, the sales pro has one objective, to see that the potential or current client purchases the product:; hopefully, the sales pitch is honest and straight forward. The client should have all the information about what is needed from a product disinterested source – security consultant from within the organization or a contract consultant who can provide a strictly objective opinion.

    Security system, equipment, and other sales people may be knowledgeable about security in general. but unless the buyer is familiar with them, those sales people may not be the best ones to be used as a source of advice. Besides which, sales work is sales, not general consulting, unless that’s the way their organization is constructed. Then you need the well informed, knowledgeable sales pro.

    • Vince Regan Apr 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

      Hi Joe–So few organizations use security consultants that it does fall to Sales staff at Integrators, Manufacturers and Rep. Firms to sell security solutions that benefit their prospective customer. I respect your opinion, but would maintain those folks need to be Security Professionals with selling skills.

      To many end-users don’t turn to independent consultants due to wanting to save pennies, or from being pressured by one of the other groups–manufacturers, rep. firms, or integrators.

      To top it off, 50% of those who state they are independent security consultants really have no skills to do justice to a prospective client, but that may be a future article!

      Thanks for reading!