This said, a badly researched and/or incomplete physical security assessment can be bad for the prospect, should they fail to accurately determine the real threats they are up against. In the same vein, a poor assessment can lead a VAR to recommend the wrong products and services, resulting in an unsatisfied client who doesn’t make repeat purchases, badmouths the VAR to their associates, and potentially sues the VAR should a breach occur after the physical security solution has been installed and signed off.
To forestall the bad and enhance chances of the good, here are 7 questions that VARs should be asking prospects to answer, when they are compiling their physical security assessment. Hint: If possible, take an active role in the assessment, to ensure that it is being done properly. You may even be able to have your VAR hired to do it on the prospect’s behalf; thus beginning the paid sales relationship.
What are the major threats that you are concerned about?
Prospects usually have a reason for wanting to assess their facility’s physical security. It could be fears about burglaries, potential weather damage, dishonest employees, or a host of other reasons. A physician cannot diagnose an illness without hearing the patient’s symptoms; a VAR cannot address a client’s security concerns without first knowing what they are. Be sure to find out. (You can also check local police and weather records, to assess what their neighborhood’s actual threats are.)
What have you done to address these threats to date?
This is not just a conversational gambit: Knowing what a prospect has done to address their physical security concerns to date will tell you how serious they are. Have they actually bothered to add better lights, access control systems, and CCTV cameras in the past? If so, then they are knowledgeable prospects who may just be looking for a modernized facility, and thus won’t need to be convinced of the benefits of a physical security system. If the prospect has done nothing to date, and have doors that can be opened with a screwdriver shoved into the door jamb, then a VAR may have to spend time educating them about basic security first.
Where are the most vulnerable parts of your facility?
Your prospects may have areas of their facility that stand out as vulnerable in their minds. Chances are that they are right, so listen to and note down their concerns – then do a through audit yourself to find gaps that the client is not aware of.
What kind of access control and CCTV system do you want?
In some cases, prospects will have very clear ideas about the physical security upgrades they are looking for. Ask about these upgrade ideas, and be sure to incorporate these suggestions as much as possible in the final physical security plan. This will show the prospect that they are being listened to and taken seriously; a proof that can strengthen the VAR-client relationship.
Are you going to hire staff to run these systems?
There is no point selling a prospect on a manned physical security system, only to then learn that they don’t have the budget to staff it. Find out from the outset what they are looking for when it comes to manned or unmanned options, and deliver them.
When do you need the project done by?
Getting a firm deadline from a client helps a VAR plan their installation schedule. It also commits the client more fully to the sale; especially if they sign off on the deadline on paper.
What is your budget?
Before a VAR puts together a physical security plan for a client and suggests products for them to purchase, they need to know how much a prospect intends to spend – and not spend. Finding out the budget also helps a VAR determine how serious a prospect actually is: If they ask for an access control system worthy of the Pentagon and then say they only have $800 to spend, the VAR might want to look elsewhere for sales.