4 Steps That Will Land You New Security Customers

When you go back to old customers, use these steps to best prepare yourself to secure new business.

I know you’ve been wondering — how do you gain new customers, grow your business and fill your coffers with gold? They actually made a successful movie franchise about it – “Back to the Future.” Well, it’s more like “Back to the Customer”; let me explain.

To attract new customers you should go back to your old customers. Those customers that are loyal, you have a strong relationship with and will help you if you ask. Pick those customers that carry some weight within their vertical market segment. You can identify them if they are opinion leaders, active with their industry associations and are respected by their peers.

But you can’t simply show up emptyhanded when you want to learn more about their business. It doesn’t show respect. How do you prepare for that? There are steps to help you get it done.

Step 1: Do your homework.

Invest a good hour or two to educate yourself on their business, industry and company for analyzing current trends. Review trade journals, visit trade association Web sites and learn if they are active in volunteer leadership in their industry as well as the community.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? Wrong. It is an investment of your time to yield a dividend of new business growth.

You would be amazed how many salespeople and even business owners miss this critical step. Asking questions you should know the answers to is a great way to waste your customer’s valuable time. They won’t appreciate it. After you do your homework, summarize in one or two short paragraphs what your initial understanding of your potentially key ally’s company is today. At this point you are ready and respectful enough to go to step 2.

Asking well thought-out questions enables your customers to talk about two things they love to talk about: themselves and their business! Employ the 90/10 rule every time. They talk 90% of the time and you listen 90% of the time.

Step 2: Ask business questions, not security questions, about their business and their industry.

This step is a bit trickier to master, so keep it simple to start; it will get easier the more you practice. Resist the urge – and it will happen, trust me – to talk about the security business you do with them. You already know this, and it will limit your learning of their business if you go down this path.

Asking well thought-out questions enables your customers to talk about two things they love to talk about: themselves and their business! Let them engage in this. Employ the 90/10 rule every time. They talk 90% of the time and you listen 90% of the time. The only way I know how to really learn is to really listen.

Oh, you do get to talk 10% of the time … to ask another business-related question. When you begin to understand their company from a business point of view, you can begin to understand how to apply new security products and services in new, meaningful ways.

Warning! Do not shift gears from a business conversation into, “I want to sell you more security technology” in the same meeting. Take time to digest what they shared before you go to your solution bag of tricks.

Step 3: Now you can start talking services.

Once you have a better understanding of their business operations, challenges and opportunities for improvement, you can validate what your services do to enable their business goals. You can also bring new ideas to improve their operations based on what they shared in your previous meetings.

This is the “secret sauce” to gaining new customers, both within existing customers and within their industry vertical market. It will take about four-six months, so don’t get impatient. Use pilot programs to do “proof of concept” on a small scale to introduce new security services and technologies that are focused on delivering “business” solutions. If they deliver the expected results, you are ready for step 4.

Step 4: Expand and conquer.

Birds of a feather flock together. Leverage newfound understanding of your loyal customer’s business and applications of new technologies to ask them for their assistance. If you have done a good job, this is the easy part. Ask them for an introduction to other target accounts in that vertical market you serve. Be specific. Know who you want to engage.

It’s important to share with them your business plans for growth in that vertical market or community. While I help many of my clients with their marketing efforts, the truth is “word of mouth” is the most cost-effective and efficient way to gain new customers – period.

So rev up your DeLorean to 88 mph and go back to the future of your business growth by remembering who your greatest resources are: your existing customers!


Read Next: What Security as a Service Can Do for You


About the Author

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Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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