How Security Integrators Can Guide Clients Toward Optimal Access Control Solutions
Making a sale is one thing; building long-term clients is an entirely different challenge.
Electronic access control has become the security solution of choice for commercial facilities around the world. Its growing popularity has resulted in an unprecedented number of options to enhance security, which can have the unfortunate side effect of making clients feel overwhelmed by the selection process.
As a result, it’s more important than ever for security consultants to function as trusted advisers who can help their clients successfully navigate the difficult process of finding the right products for their specific needs. Your expertise can play a critical role in helping customers understand the many factors that they need to consider, including facility age, credential management platform and protocols, budget and long-term security strategy.
However, it’s important to remember that anyone can sell products, but if you want to build the trust necessary to cultivate long-term clients, your primary goal should always be to provide the best solutions for their needs.
Communication is Key
Communication will play a crucial role throughout this process. You will need to identify the customer’s long-term goals as well as any special considerations or limitations. Some clients may know what they want, and it will be your responsibility to point out any discrepancies between what they want versus what is actually needed.
A security crisis is often the catalyst that prompts clients to install or upgrade their access control system. Many people’s first reaction is to try and solve the problem quickly. However, before rushing into a decision, it is important to get the right people together for a planning meeting to develop a practical solution that aligns with their building, their budget, how the system will be used and by whom.
Another issue that must be considered during planning — and your clients may not have thought of — is the demands access control will place on bandwidth and internal networks, so it makes good business sense to involve the IT department early. Taking a collaborative approach will allow you to confirm that the IT infrastructure is up-to-date and all products will be equipped to work in the future.
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“I’ve seen the best success when a company’s security and IT leaders are involved from the beginning. They set the tone for working together and jointly developing a solution,” says Erik Larsen, National Integrator Account Manager at Allegion. “When security understands the IT infrastructure – and, how, for example, the addition of locks or cameras impacts the network – and, on the other side, when IT understands the liability and reputation risks of not having the proper security solution in place, that’s when they can move forward implementing the right solution.”
Start With a Plan
During the planning meeting, it is important to discuss the issues that most impact which solution will be selected, including:
- The access control system’s anticipated use and its overall intent
- The necessary policies and procedures for access control
- How the implementation of access control fits into the company’s overall security plan
- The barriers and limitations to implementation
During the planning phase, you may find yourself asking questions your client has never considered before. Your guidance can help lead them toward a solution that works for them and one they feel confident using. Here are some examples of what to discuss early on to ensure the most optimal outcome:
- What are your current lockdown procedures?
- How long does it take to lock down?
- Do you practice lockdown?
- How many users will your system have?
- Do your users have varying security levels?
- Do you have a crisis management plan?
- Who manages your security?
- How do people move through the building on a daily basis?
- How do people move through the building after hours and/or on weekends?
- What are your goals for electronic access control solution?
Because today’s systems frequently extend access control into parking garages, warehouses, storage units and other areas, planning must also take into account the potential needs of the system outside the main building. Expanding the security perimeter can provide even greater security, management and convenience, but it requires careful evaluation and credential planning.
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