Electronic Access Control System Door Survey
The site survey is perhaps the most important activity you engage in as security professional.You didn’t arrive at the location by accident, and you or your company most likely had to spend a considerable amount of money to create the opportunity that a site survey provides for you to offer your services.
Although electronic communication has changed radically the way we do business, it amazes me how effective personal meetings are to make things move. I have many contacts with whom I never met personally, but I find that for those I did meet, even if only briefly, an image and impression of that individual will flash before me whenever we speak on the telephone or in e-mail, and this will always tend to personalize the conversation and relax the atmosphere.
Making the correct first impression is pivotal in creating a lasting business relationship. Learn about your customer’s business. Always learn from your customer, each and every person we meet on this earth has something in God’s plan for us. When our hearts and minds are open to what people have to offer us, you may be surprised how easy it becomes to allow people to tell you exactly what they want, and allow your focus to remain on being a valuable service provider to them. Your knowledge in products and codes will display itself after you listen completely to what your customer wants.
BE ON TIME
A good start is to schedule the appointment in a professional way. Be sure you are clear about what time the survey will be, that both you and the client will be available at the predetermined time, and that you will be able to devote adequate time for both of you to deal with the issues at hand. Often, time will be at a premium, and working out these details is a great way to get acquainted with the client and learn to work together. I always try to be as flexible as possible, attempting to accomodate the client as much as possible. When I meet my customers, I often indicate my willingness to devote my entire attention to them by allowing them to see me turn off my phone. To take someone else’s call at that moment in time, in my opinion, would be extremely rude and be a clear sign to my customer that at least one person out there is somehow more important than them, and that is not how I would want to be treated.
Depending on the size of your company, you may have salesmen who make sales calls, you may send a senior technician, or you may wish to go yourself. Whether you are a hands-on type or a slick salesman type, whether you are in jeans or a $1000.00 Italian suit, you must be groomed. If you don’t know what I mean, call your mother. There are several theories regarding the most effective way to present yourself at the survey.
Whether they deserve it or not, salesmen enjoy a collective reputation of being incompetent, and only interested in making a sale. I’ve been involved in security for many years, and I have been selling high security for many years too. Many salesmen I’ve met have been salesmen for many types of products and services, and are much less capable than myself of conducting all aspects of a locksmith business. In this case, I would encourage you to dress well, but casually, because of the types of companies likely to be competing with you in an access control system survey. Dressing casually always allows you to move about freely in any area that you may visit during the survey, without looking like the cost of your services pays for a fancy suit.
You’ve got to use good judgement as to how you will present yourself at the meeting. In the corporate environment, a black blazer and neck tie is fine, but more and more often, casual attire will be entirely in keeping with the rest of the company’s staff. Proper attire shows that you have respect for yourself , and you have respect for your customer too. Good judgement with regard to the work environment where you expect to conduct your survey will assure that you will not be overdressed and help you feel like you are part of the staff.
I’ve driven away from too many appointments realizing what I forgot to check out, or what item I could have offered if I had only thought of it at the time.
Perhaps there are goods and services which you are fully capable of providing for which a demand exists. Make up a list ot the products and services you offer and review it prior to your appointment.
You can also develop a brochure or cover letter which can be left with the client, or mailed out to prospects. I wish I had a dollar for each time a customer has said, “I wish I knew that you did that. I just spent thousands of dollars on this system, and the company was a complete disappointment with their service”.
Conducting a methodical survey with a survey sheet is helpful. Methodically checking off items will impress the client that you are organized. As you are scrolling down your sheet, you can casually mention items on it and see how the client responds. Sometimes some important follow ups can be created in this way.
By working off the survey sheet, you are less likely to become distracted, and forget to check something out that you would otherwise have to go back to check, or worse.
By following your survey sheet, you will be making effective use of your time, and your client’s time, again setting up a healthy relationship, and fostering mutual respect. The survey sheet also shows that you are using a criteria and not making things up as you go along. I encourage questions from my client, so that I can quickly establish that I am an expert, that I am eager to help the client in any way I can. Additionally, your survey will become an effective tool for improving upon itself when you take notes that improve or elaborate on specific points in the survey that your customer brought to your attention.
CONTROL YOUR WORDS
While it is important to carry on a conversation with the client, you also must maintain control over your words. I find that my presentations are a mixure of some conversational remarks which I’ve used in the past which have had positive effect on my meetings and improvised remarks which I am trying out to add to my repertoire.
Vulgar or profane language is definitely not appropriate in business communications. Never risk offending your client with a careless remark. If they use profanity, allow yourself to remain at ease with them without lowering yourself to a level which deserves much less respect. Know and understand your customer, and remember that in God’s plan, everyone we meet in our lives has a purpose. Allow them to complete what they are saying and elaborate on their details, in order to more effectively offer intelligent, educated responses.
I never want to make a promise that I can’t keep. Listening to what a customer says is key to knowing exactly what it is they are expecting from you, and your opportunity to elaborate on exactly what you intend to provide at what cost. Point out any differences in expectations early in order to avoid miscommunication later.
Making too many comments about the premises, even if they are complimentary, unnerves some clients, because they may think that you are not concentrating on why you are there, or you are just a little too friendly for someone who is supposed to be a security professional. I like to say that my customers can never tell which way I would vote, because I am careful to listen to them and not offer advice when it is not called for. There is a fine line between feeling at ease with a customer and just being a little too friendly. Keep it professional, and allow the good nature of your customer to dictate the manner with which you talk about their premises.
Requiring the surveys to be written down so that they can be made part of the procedure and customer’s permanent files is the correct way to manage your business.
Authored by: Harold Fink, CRL CPS
Prepared and submitted by: Gina Fink