By Paul C. Boucherle · October 20, 2016
The following article originally ran in Campus Safety’s sister publication Security Sales & Integration.
It sounds like it could be something out of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, featuring swashbuckling heroes on the high seas attempting to protect their vessels and treasure from the likes of sea monsters, mutinies and marauders. But this tale takes place today in real-time in every corner of the world: Security professionals fighting life-and-death battles, literally, to gain senior management support and adequate funding.
The strategies they use in that fight have one end game: To get the necessary budget resources to protect people, property and assets. Period! You may think it’s a no-brainer to execute the maneuvers necessary to reach that end game, right? Not so fast.
Job Well Done Might Mean a Tougher Sell
The hard truth in the physical security world is that the better the security directors are at their profession, the less visibility they create in the boardroom. Mitigating and eliminating risks means nothing bad happens, so convincing the board more funds are needed … well, you get the picture.
Essentially, most security practitioners are great security experts, but not so great at selling the ideas that gain budget commitment to mitigate risks. I know because I have taught security practitioner clients how to sell (and you thought I only trained installing security contractors and systems integrators). They now have selling skills, strategies and tools to reposition their value proposition in their companies. So for those we have not worked with what can you do starting tomorrow to build selling skills?
5 Keys to Unlocking Budgetary Treasure Chests
While security consulting is a passion I have had for 19 years, I have taken my security consulting clients to the dark side — sales training. I know, a bit strange for a security consultant; however, my second passion, besides the mysterious elements of security integration, is professional sales. I have done this in both my corporate and entrepreneurial careers, and frankly, it is how stuff gets done.
Here are five steps I know work pretty well that you can learn.
1. Always do your homework. Understand what makes your business tick. I know you understand security, but do you know the three key performance goals of the organization’s CEO or president this year? Do you know how your program can support these goals? Do you know how your systems integrators can help?
2. Ask the right business questions based on your homework. This should be as second nature as investigating, interviewing and finding truth is part of security professionals’ core competencies.
3. Use silence as a tool by actively listening to people when they answer questions. What words do they choose and how are they delivered? What does their body language say about what’s important to them and requested of you?
4. Figure out the departmental wins that support their goals and quantify them if possible. Some things can’t be measured, but that doesn’t mean they are not important.
5. Communicate with senior management in their language. The way they “hear” things can make all the difference if you can successfully speak the lingo, mate.
The moral of our tale? Those who help steer ship more effectively will get to reap the riches onboard, or else it’s time to walk the plank.
Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Convergence Channel” columnist.