Flight Training for Pilots of Converging Technology
While flying by the seat of your pants is not exactly the ideal way to run a business, there are several parallels that can be drawn in comparing piloting aircraft to steering security technology. Learn how aviating, navigating and communicating apply to both pursuits.
Guide Customers Onto Best Course
It is your job to navigate your customer’s migration path forward. You already know the security terrain, with its peaks and valleys of performance. You also know the legacy systems’ strengths and weaknesses, and specifically the points of probable failure. You just don’t know when they will fail— or do you? Statistics show the average hard drive will last about 3.4 years with a good tailwind and much less with a headwind (hostile environment). What are your customer’s expectations of your company when a key system component (DVR) fails? Typically it may be to quickly replace that DVR with another to get the system up. If that sounds familiar, you are not navigating your customer’s technology migration.
You may instead be on autopilot. Your customer will be tied to their existing analog video technology for another 3.4 years. I suggest you begin discussions about navigating a better technology path before that service call comes into your office tomorrow at 2 p.m. Having customers know what their next waypoint is, what it will cost, how it will improve quality and speed while allowing leverage of newer megapixel video technology is the right way to proactively navigate your business and your customers. It often allows you to carry more passengers on the journey, such as the IT team, operations and HR.
So what is your next step? Put a flight plan together with — as opposed to for — your customer. If you do it for them they aren’t vested in the journey. They have to participate in selecting the final destination and the stops along the way. Show them where the bad weather systems are, how to navigate around them and land them in a more desirable climes like Convergence Cay.
Communicate Necessary Changes
Begin your navigation flight plan by communicating with your entire squadron. While you might expect communication to be the responsibility of the sales team, why limit it to just them? Often sales teams focus on the next new target account or sale and don’t take much time for existing customers; it’s just the reality in today’s business. To fully engage your customers in the flight planning, think about your preflight communication checklist. Don’t have one? Then let me get you started.
Be innovative: DC-3s are cool, but the 787 Dreamliner is cooler! Think about having your team (technicians, service techs or customer service) sow the technology migration seeds in their normal course of working with your customers. It doesn’t cost a lot and is tactical and practical. There is nothing quite as powerful to a customer as the words that come out of the technical people’s mouths. Your technicians are the ones who will ensure the aircraft is flightworthy. Shouldn’t they be involved early in the flight planning?
Be proactive: Bad things often come to those who sit back and leave their business on autopilot. A little turbulence here and a change in the weather there … you get the picture. Use communication tactics subtly, frequently and effectively to always be migrating your customers not from a marketing or sales perspective, but with slow and consistent messages. Tactics are the small steps that enable your longer-term strategy, like having your technicians plant ideas early. Have a target goal to communication. How about having 50% of your best customers with a network technology migration proposal in hand, vested in and budgeted to be done in phases during the next 12 months?
3 Migration Business Benefits
A steady, methodical migration plan can help you protect your business three ways:
1. By constantly taking small steps to migrate your customer’s technology, their security systems will always be moving in a well thought-out flight plan. Good proactive customer communication will retain their business while growing yours.
2. Security budgets are tight for capital expenditures and often take an act of congress to get system replacement funds. Smaller steps with operational funds can get you there slower, but with less risk or senior management resistance.
3. Consider what would happen with a major catastrophic system failure to a strategic customer. To replace that system, they would typically go into the dreaded “procurement” mode, which often means the low price bidder will be parking their trucks in your customer’s parking lot. You may have lost that revenue stream for the next 3.4 years.
Aviate, navigate and communicate to provide a safer migration jo
urney for your company and your customer. Next month, I’ll share how a good pilot of a pilot program does his preflight checklist. Until then, keep your wings level and nose up from the horizon!
Paul Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is principal of Canfield, Ohio-based Matterhorn Consulting (matterhornconsulting.com). He has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience.
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