…And Reason Behind The Failure Of Private Security Companies
I was in Paris recently for holiday.
Being fully aware of the security situation in the city, I was a bit uneasy when visiting crowded tourist attractions.
I was particularly concerned with visiting outdoor tourist attractions.
When we visited the Eiffel Tower, I insisted we took photos and left.
However, when we visited enclosed areas like museums, I was relaxed because there were layers of security at those sites.
How to Articulate Value
So what is the connection between selling security and my Paris experience?
I felt safe in enclosed tourist sites because of the level of security that were at those locations.
Any smart person intending on committing an act of terror will know that it is easier to attack an open space than go through layers of security to enter a building.
Except if the individual had a specific reason for targeting a particular building.
The individuals running those enclosed tourist attractions know that people visited those sites because they felt safe in them.
So in a way, the security arrangement of those buildings is intrinsically linked to the willingness of people to visit those tourist attractions.
This means that the profitability of those businesses are also intrinsically linked to their security arrangements.
Security personnel: man the entrance and exit, ensure entrance fees are paid, patrol the premises and provide crowd control services.
Above all security personnel provide assurance to both visitors and stakeholders that the sites are safe.
How much is security worth to stakeholders of those tourist attractions?
Security is priceless to them.
How to Sell Private Security
How much is security worth to bars and nightclubs?
Nightclubs cannot open without security.
Their licenses are intrinsically linked to their security infrastructure.
Yet when private security firms go to sell security to nightclubs, they do not emphasise this fact, instead they focus on price.
In the first instance, any business that views price as their only point of differentiation is destined to fail.
This is the reason many security firms fail.
As a business, you can never be the cheapest.
If you don’t believe me ask the big four supermarkets.
They are all fighting to be the cheapest.
One by one they are all reporting their worst result in their history.
The bottom is always overcrowded!
What private security companies need to be selling is the value of their services: the feeling of safety…no one can place a price on that.
Effective marketing is about:
Is your message what you actually sell or what is stated in the client’s invoice?
It is not your security officers neither is it your CCTV or other security gadgets.
What your client buys from you is the feeling of being safe and the profitability that results from operating in a safe and secure business environment.
A security officer stood at the entrance of a retail store serves as a deterrent to shoplifters.
However, what the client is really paying for is not the deterrent but the result of the deterrent.
For example, as a result of the deterrent, the store shrinkage reduce by 10%, which means an additional 10% is added to the store profit margin.
This is what retail security and loss prevention companies should be selling to prospective clients.
The marketing message for retail security firms needs to be: ‘we help you increase your profit margin by 10%’.
This sort of marketing message is not only suitable for retail security.
It could be applied to corporate security, event security or even close protection.
The goal of your message is to place a quantifiable value on your service.
Many private security companies accept any type of security assignment as long as the client is willing to pay.
There is nothing wrong with the idea of a private security company accepting an assignment if it has the logistical capabilities.
The problem arises with the marketing of their services.
As a business, you cannot sell to everyone.
You do not have the resources to sell to everyone.
In fact not all prospects are able or willing to pay for your services.
This is the reason you need to segment your market and focus on a particular segment of the market.
The first step in the process of market segmentation, is for individual private security companies to choose an area of specialisation.
You cannot be all things to all people.
Choose a specific segment of the private security market and become the best in that sector.
Once you have decided on your marketing message: what really sell
Segmented your market: who you are going to sell to, the next step in the process is how to reach them.
Most private security companies are under the illusion that it has become easier and cheaper to reach prospects because of the internet and social media.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to reach prospects because of the saturation of the private security marketplace.
The advice marketing firms give private security companies is to post info on social media in order to brand themselves.
It does not occur to them that the people they are trying to reach might not be on social media.
Even if they were, they might not be present or active on every social media platform.
This is the reason it’s important you complete the first two steps (‘your message’, and ‘your market’) prior to starting the final step, ‘your media’.
You first need to know what you are actually selling and who you are selling to before deciding on the medium you are going to use to reach them.
To sell their services, private security companies need to understand that what they are really selling is peace of mind and business profitability.
The extent to which they are able to articulate the value of the peace of mind and the benefit associated to that is the extent to which they will be successful in selling their services.
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In this fiercely competitive private security business environment, the tiniest of things can make an enormous difference to your sales and profit margin.
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At the session I will help you develop framework for articulating the value of your services:
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