Ask the Experts: Security Integrator Government Market Success Secrets

SSI picked the brains of various experts from different subject matters on how to succeed in the government sector trade business.

Plying the security trade in the government sector can be a bruising experience. In fact, for many installing security contractors it simply is not a playground that suits their temperament. Patience, doggedness and ingenuity are all traits that companies need to possess in order to flourish amidst long sales cycles, complicated bid proposals, budgetary uncertainty and demanding compliance issues.

Prove your government market mettle, however, and agencies at local, state and federal level can account for a significant percentage of a company’s overall revenue. While video surveillance, access control and identity management systems are heavily sought by government end users, intrusion detection and fire protection systems are also major technology needs.

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Security Sales & Integration tapped several subject matter experts in the government sector to seek their advice on breaking into this unique vertical, as well as gain a clear understanding of current market conditions. To be brief, it may unsuitable for people who like only safe and familiar things, but you may experience a faster heart rate after recognizing your company is well-suited for this work.

You can’t go into it thinking I am going to make all this money selling to the federal government. They need to be very successful in their commercial business before they even think about it because they need to be able to buy well. — Lynne de Seve, founder and CEO of GSA Schedules Inc.

Those With Commercial Market Know-How Need Only Apply
Installing security contractors who are interested in exploring opportunities in the government space will first and foremost need to already have built a viable commercial portfolio.

“You can’t go into it thinking I am going to make all this money selling to the federal government,” says Lynne de Seve, founder and president of GSA Schedules Inc., a government contracting consulting firm. “They need to be very successful in their commercial business before they even think about it because they need to be able to buy well.”

The reason being, says de Seve, if you do not have well-established relationships with manufacturers or distributors to procure products at a good price, then it will be very hard to compete in an era of razor-thin profit margins. “It’s hard enough to compete in the marketplace anyway because of budget cuts and sequestrations. There is not as much work,” she says.

About the Author

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Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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