The customer’s realization that they need a physical security policy to guard their premises against manmade and natural threats – such as crime and dangerous weather – is the first step in addressing their physical security needs.
Researching and prioritizing their perceived and actual physical security needs into an actual policy is the second step.
Doing something to turn this policy into action is the third – and this is commonly where VARs are called in to help. Specifically, a VAR tends to be asked to look at a customer’s physical security policy – which may or may not be detailed – and propose technological and process solutions to turn its broad goals into achievable actions.
To do this effectively, a VAR needs to be very careful about verifying what the customer is really asking for, their preferred deadlines, the real budget that they have to work with, and their willingness to trade off some benefits for others. This last point is extremely important, because it is a very rare customer who is willing to invest all the money required to realize and implement all of their physical security policy goals fully.
First things first. Before proceeding to develop solutions based on a customer’s physical security policy, a VAR should sit down with the customer’s decision-maker and go over the policy in detail.
The VAR needs to do this face-to-face to verify what a customer’s actual priorities are when the financial chips are down – because budget is always an issue – and to get a personal handle on how serious the customer is about implementing a physical security policy. The last thing a VAR can afford to do is spend time developing a detailed physical security product quotation for a customer, only find out that the customer isn’t serious about doing the work after all.
Hint: Try to find out what priorities the customer is most willing to pay for, and how much they want to pay per priority. This will provide guidance as to what technology options a VAR should and shouldn’t recommend.
Next, develop at least two options per priority. For instance, if a customer wants access control, suggest and cost out both a card-based and biometric-based access control system for them to consider. Be prepared to provide the pros and cons of both; in print and in person.
Where possible, try to select options in such a way that they can be integrated into a larger system. For the customer, having an end-to-end physical security solution where all the parts work with others is a real bonus. It means that the CCTV cameras can be used to manage the access control systems, and the alarm system can be connected to email to automatically alert the customer of problems when their staff is off-premises.
Once a VAR has developed their physical security implementation quotation, they should check it against the client’s policy one last time. The goal here is to ensure that both documents line up, to enhance the customer’s likelihood of accepting the quotation. It also refreshes the VAR’s memory of the original policy, which can be an asset when they are in serious deal-closing discussions with the customer.
Finally, the customer’s physical security policy should be reviewed one last time when the project has been completed, to make sure that all major priorities have been met.
Doing so provides the VAR with a degree of protection from customer complaints: They can prove that the policy’s goals were indeed translated into actions.
The VAR can also use this refresher to remind the customer that they have indeed received the solution they were looking for, and that the VAR is happy to do more paid projects for them in the future.