Integrate to Go From Good to Great

Today you can make a compelling case – and more dollars – convincing customers about the added benefits of an integrated solution. Learn creative ways to blend together security systems for a greater whole, and how to make the sales pitch.

One of the unfortunate side effects of human nature is tunnel vision. In our effort to do well at one task or another, we get so focused we fail to see other opportunities around or even right in front of us. As sales and technical professionals in an incredibly varied industry like security, there’s no real reason we shouldn’t be able to pull together multiple technologies and principles to increase our offerings, and therefore value, to our customer.

How do you approach a sales opportunity? Do you see a video surveillance customer? Do you see an access control customer? Do you let that customer decide what you are going to sell them? Or do you see a business owner or manager with multiple problems that you can help them solve, regardless of the particular product or technology required?

Increasing your value through integration is a skill worth learning. Whether it’s understanding the technology, searching out different applications or simply modifying your sales approach, opening your eyes to new opportunities and coming up with creative solutions to solve your clients’ problems is paramount to staying ahead in these tight economic conditions.

Look Through Your Customers’ Eyes

Despite advances in electronic security systems being able to “talk” to each other, a majority of sales are predicated on a client seeking or interested in a single type of system — be it intrusion, fire, access control, video, etc. They know they have a problem (vandalism, break-in, internal theft) and they think they know what can fix it. They know they need a few cameras or they need access control.

They call you with that very request, and you happily comply, providing just what they said they needed.

Here’s the problem: Your customer is also suffering from the same tunnel vision discussed at the outset of this article. They see one problem, and the need to fix it. They don’t have time to look at the big picture. That’s where you can step in and help.

In order to offer that assistance, however, you need to be able to see your customer’s business as they do. You need to see the forest for the trees that they may be too close to or otherwise too engaged to recognize. Sure, you can go in focused on selling a single solution to solve a single problem. But going in with that narrow a vision will leave a lot of opportunities — and money — on the table.

Do your homework and understand your customer’s entire business and needs.

Build Bridges With Stakeholders

Another way for salespeople to miss out on opportunities is to align themselves with only one department. In our case, that’s usually security.

This is a dangerous policy, according to Paul Boucherle, owner of Matterhorn Consulting and a recognized expert in selling security and integration solutions. “The successful salesperson will build ‘convergence bridges’ between various departments within a company,” he says.

With the continuing adoption of IP-based systems and devices residing on the network, the IT department often takes more control and it may not always have a close relationship with security.

The need for bridges doesn’t always only apply to the security-IT relationship, however. In many companies a procurement division will have final say on a purchase, and for large capital projects, the CFO will have something to say.

“It is the ability to develop a macro view of a company while dealing at a micro level,” adds Boucherle. This will produce the most opportunity for integrated upselling. Being able to have a dialog with upper management and presenting yourself as a business partner and not simply an equipment salesperson will open up doors that will, in turn, open up opportunities.

The bottom line in all this: If you go in as a CCTV salesperson that’s all you will sell. If you want to sell multiple solutions, solve your customer’s multiple problems.

Understand Technology Options

Once you establish yourself as the solution provider for your customer, it’s time to take a look at the many technological options available for building a completely converged solution.

Let’s construct a test case around a commercial manufacturing plant. Starting with the basics, we would consider an intrusion/alarm system, video security and access control, at a minimum.

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