Working Efficiently in a Tough Economy

IS THE GLASS half-empty or half full? Is this a recession or a market correction? We’ve hit on a common theme among these well-known integrators—the perception of a recession, real or not—is causing users to keep spending to a minimum. SD&I went...

Bozeman: We just have to be more aggressive than we’ve been in the past. When things are good, it’s human nature to take things for granted; you don’t have to be quite as disciplined or quite as tough. It goes without saying, only the strong survive. The current environment means we have to be disciplined, work hard and experience some pain in order to succeed. The strong will survive and the smart will adapt.

Boethel: At Siemens, we consistently focus on longer-term, strategic growth opportunities and continue to invest in the development of our people.

Rot: Differentiate yourself from your competition. Focus on the customer and their business needs. Offer products and services that positively impact the customer’s bottom line. Take the time to understand the custome’s business and customize your security solution to best fit their operations and security requirements. Being a true security provider is more than just securing buildings, it is becoming a true business partner to the customer.

What’s your biggest tip or two in getting sales folks to look for new business? 

Egan: Stop driving around aimlessly all day to find random leads. Get familiar with navigating the Internet and then make the phone your best friend. Your finger can dial much faster than your feet can walk or car can drive. Do prospecting activities that you have never done before. Step outside your comfort zone. The novelty of these activities will energize you and offset the negative feelings resulting from the most recent rejection.

Guay: Getting in front of prospective customers with problems is the key to growth. Listening to customers will provide us with the problems and working with them to create new plans will be the solution.  Since more spending is not the answer, creative thinking and strategies will be the future. Listening is key.

Bozeman: Change the compensation program. That’s it. Compensation pushes performance. New areas and venues need to be explored and we have to give our sales people new incentives to tackle these challenges.

Boethel: Demonstrating an ROI for security spending is key. Help your customers show the value of what they bring to their organization and how security not only can align with the business objective, but can also positively impact the bottom line.

Rot: ACT accordingly. Be Aggressive in your goals; Confident in your abilities; and Tenacious in your commitment. Customers need the help of top tier service providers who can add value to their business operations. Identify how you can help the customer make their security investment more productive. Develop your message, strategy and ACT on it. Do not sit and wait for the phone to ring.  Get out and meet with customers to understand their needs. If you don’t, someone else will.

Deborah O’Mara is the editor of Security Dealer & Integrator magazine, reaching  some 25,000 installers.


What We Learned
Perception of what’s happening in the marketplace is negatively affecting sales. Decision makers are reluctant to make an equipment and specification purchase, even though the need has been established. Focus on the value of the system over time (total cost of ownership versus an antiquated one) as well as the ability to upgrade and scale up as necessary (possible with a network and other systems) as key selling points.


Customer Service First
It still costs more to generate new accounts rather than to keep your current ones, no matter the state of the economy. Be sure your existing customers are happy and follow up with them regularly through telephone, e-mail or face to face. These customers are also a good source for potential upgrades and qualified referrals for new business.