This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of SD&I magazine
A significant portion of today's security market is focused on physical security at the local level because of the increased risk experienced by large corporations. For defense contractors, government facilities and other high-risk targets the need for quality, multi-layered, outdoor perimeter protection is growing by leaps and bounds. But the worldwide economic downturn made it more difficult than ever to find the necessary funds to make security on this scale happen. For this reason, systems integrators must be more inventive and resourceful in their engineering practices as well as their tactics for selling outdoor perimeter security to high-risk clients.
“The 21st Century brings with it a constant risk of terrorist attacks, large-scale illegal immigration, increased crime and violent anti-government protests as a result of international and local issues,” said Hagai Katz, senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development, Senstar, Ontario, Can.
Perimeter security factors and sales tactics
The first rule of thumb in selling outdoor perimeter protection is that the buyer expects the salesman to overcome his or her objections. The buyer often needs to be educated and reassured why such an expenditure is necessary.
Today, terrorism is high on the list of risks that large corporations and government facilities face. Some of the most obvious targets include airports, seaports, shore lines and large sporting events. Government officials and corporate security directors are concerned about the use of dirty bombs as well as nuclear-related catastrophes, be it due to natural or man-made events.
“The security community is all too often trying to cope with the last catastrophe, rather than working to prevent the risk,” Katz said.
Katz cites one example as airport perimeters, due to high investment passenger screening as well as other potential issues. Other potential targets include chemical manufacturing plants and storage facilities, prisons, oil and gas assets, military facilities, national borders, pipelines and rail facilities. Criminal threats also are an important consideration on a local basis.
Another objection that prospective buyers often use is money.
“The economic conditions right now have slowed the growth of full, multi-level perimeter systems,” said Louis Katona, president of VidCorp Security Systems Inc., Houston. “The private industry can’t afford the elaborate systems that the government can. The finance option is popular for start-up companies. During the building construction phase the larger systems can be written into the construction load.”
Whether the buyer can swing such a loan will depend on many factors such as the number of years that the prospective buyer has been in business, the type of business they are in and the type of system that they need, said Katona.
Another option is the use of a lease purchase agreement.
“In some countries we encourage the client to lease rather than buy,” explained Katz.
Systems integrators look at a number of other sales ploys when attempting to overcome the monetary objections of prospective buyers, he confirmed.
“The most important thing is to have a range of product solutions and to tailor the system to the customer's needs and requirements,” Katz continued. “This way, he gets exactly what he needs and at an affordable price. Some customers can choose a low-cost solution with minimal degradation in operational capability.”
One way to reduce costs is to create longer detection zones using fiber optic-based sensors, which, in essence, uses less detection zones, saving money. Another possibility is to build what Katz calls a staged solution where only part of the overall protective strategy is implemented at any one time. The client then has the option to add additional layers of protection as time allows.
“Senstar can reuse parts of an existing infrastructure through upgrades and integration to existing legacy security elements,” said Katz. “This is achieved through rich integration tools, such as API/SDK, hardware adaptors, dry contacts and others.”