Taking a Consultive Approach Post COVID–19

Lots of security technologies are offered today in response to COVID-19, however, do they address the bigger picture of risk mitigation from a business outcome perspective?

Taking a Consultive Approach Post COVID–19

COVID-19 changed our world in 2020 and probably well into the future. But as dark as this event is, there is a silver lining. We got a serious wakeup call. What did we learn from this event? How will we work with our customers to best protect them, their customers and associates more effectively?

Does one size fit all solutions? Do we know all the facts yet on how to effectively protect everyone’s health? Will there be new stakeholders involved in the decision and procurement processes? What will be the metrics of success for improved safety and security investments? Are compliance issues going to continue to change? What risks are incurred by not taking reasonable precautions? Welcome to the world of security business consulting!

The silver lining? Stepping back and reassessing your go-to-market selling strategy. I earned my stripes in the national accounts security selling arena with “Big Blue” for 18 years, coupled with 23 years as a security business consultant. Let me share some experiences. There are eight steps to taking a more consultative selling approach post COVID-19. This will be a two-part series; four golden nuggets this month and four next month.

Taking a more consultative approach to specific client and facility challenges will help you start the right dialogues, avoid knee-jerk reactions and position your recommendations as more practical, tactical and strategic for realistic business outcomes during a pandemic. I know a tall order, but you can do it! Adopt the “VMPMSAUE” process … you know I love acronyms.

Lots of security technologies are offered today in response to COVID-19, however, do they address the bigger picture of risk mitigation from a business outcome perspective? A consultative approach suggests looking at the BIG picture of cost/benefit ratio and how it fits a phased integration path.

Your customers’ senior management teams need logical solution paths to allocate funds for sustainable complete solutions. Force-fitting a technology into different facility and company needs is wrong. Take a more methodical approach that considers many of the elements a security consultant considers. So, what the heck does VMPMSAUE mean? These first four steps take a more consultative approach:

Visitor Management (VM)

It is the difference between being proactive vs. reactive to customers, associates, suppliers and visitors to a facility. In the past, VM was typically handled with a sign-in sheet, driver’s license check, then security advising your host you have arrived. The first issue is that this approach is based on self-declaration if IDs are not checked. The second issue is that entering facilities just got a lot more complicated with more serious consequences. Elevated temperature, facemask policies, questionnaires regarding recent activities or travel and secondary screening policies all come to mind.

Help them safely and proactively plan for visitors by automating and validating the process rather than relying on inefficient and ineffective methods that are labor intensive. There should be a variety of customer stakeholders involved in this dialogue, each having concerns that need addressed. The key question is, “Can we easily integrate the VM solution into a more frictionless path with better security and throughput?” Each facility will have unique architectural, business model challenges and throughput requirements. Be technology-flexible around their business outcome needs.

Parking Management (PM)

Taking a more serious look at how different categories of visitors arrive at a facility and where they park is crucial to security best practices. In today’s world, it is even more important when considering the threat level they may represent to people in your facility. Employees are known to you, typically have scheduled hours of work, will follow procedures more readily and are concerned about co-workers.

Provide secure parking areas with strong access control measures integrating gate and biometric controls where possible and practical. Suppliers are a higher risk but are typically known based on their frequency of visits. Re-evaluate the narrowest path of entry to the facility. Automate entry access control policies (elevated temp and/or mask) with minimum manned security or expensive, limited functionality technology.

Survey Assets (SA)

Seasoned consultants evaluate the existing security technology assets for their condition, functionality, communication capabilities and reliability before offering phased security recommendations. While some elements may not be modern, they may still be functional for several years. What part those assets will play in the overall solution will depend on new high-risk priority mitigation strategies and their part in supporting them.

Upgrade Entrances (UE)

Focus on current access control system capabilities and the ability to integrate newer, more effective reader technologies with elevated temperature, mask detection and biometric options to increase the functionality while optimizing current investments. This approach is flexible, practical and cost effective. It provides greater coverage while minimizing complete redesign of traffic flows.

This solution is typically a simple technical addition while dramatically improving validated entries. Consider turnstile entrance controls as well which allow manned security or operational people to address secondary screening and policy issues. Integrated biometric multifunction readers coupled with entrance controls are both affordable and practical, especially with unattended lobbies.

Take a big picture point of view in the consulting approach. The more these elements can be seamlessly integrated, the more effective the outcome will be for everyone. Next month GIARPTET, the last four steps.

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About the Author


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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