With so many opportunities available to those of us in the electronic security business it can become a challenge to focus on the niche that best serves our clients and consequently provides the growth and profitability that drives the overall health of our companies.
Those of us who have been around the block know that it is very difficult if not impossible to be all things to all people. One of the most valuable traits a business leader can have is understanding not only the company’s strengths, but also understanding its weaknesses compared to the competition in the marketplace.
Know your niche
Positioning your company in a niche that allows your services to stand out compared to your competition will ensure happy customer referrals which any professional will tell you are the most efficient way to grow profitably.
Can one company be the best at video surveillance, residential security, high-rise life safety, central station monitoring, emergency notification, enterprise access control, audiovisual, physical security managed services, nurse call and the various other peripheral services, supplies and software that we may have customer demand for?
The answer is of course no, yet so many security professionals step past their core competencies when asked by a customer to do so or when business gets slow and desperation sets in. A true professional knows when to say ‘no’ to a customer who has expectations that the dealer cannot meet.
Of course some diversification is a smart move but how many offerings can your company successfully deploy and maintain? Is your company in a position to have the required certifications prior to any deployment in the field? Do you have adequate inventory to guarantee prompt professional service? Is your sales team up to speed on the feature sets of the product line? Will your back office team be administratively efficient with multiple offerings?
It is interesting and some would say disturbing to note that when a security provider does step over the line and attempts to deploy systems he or she has no business deploying, the one who gets hurt the most is the customer. The problem with an angry or disappointed customer is that we all pay—the industry as a whole—for the customer’s bad experience and this is truly a shame.
I recently attended an IT convention and one of the comments I heard was that that security dealers are basically untrained and unprofessional. Obviously this is a generalization that I believe isn’t accurate but some of this perception that physical security dealers and integrators are not up to speed is in reality self-imposed.
We can all do better and we all need to do better. Commit yourself and your company to being the best at what you do, even if this limits your offerings. Get the highest level of training and certification available. Make sure your sales people truly understand the feature sets and the customer benefits offered by your preferred solution.
Following these simple suggestions will dramatically improve your chances of having a happy customer which in turn leads to solid, qualified referrals and profitable growth.
Bill Bozeman is the CEO and president of PSA Security Network, the world’s largest electronic security cooperative, representing security systems integrators. For more information, visit www.buypsa.com.