Why the Security Integrator is the Right Solution
By: Jon Polly | Aug 05, 2020
We live in a world where everyone wants to hit the easy button, and generally, the cheap button. During COVID-19, pictures of home improvement stores being overrun were normal. Online retailers marked record months. Today, the world has moved to ordering everything online and has embraced the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mentality. Even commercial and industrial companies are doing more in-house work and cutting traditional trades in an effort to control quality and save money. Those companies that do purchase from vendors today seem to have very little loyalty to any one vendor. Many are contracting with non-traditional security vendors to provide integration services because it seems easier or it is cheaper. This trend is being seen across all verticals. Business used to be about the relationship, but in many cases those relationships are ending as employees change roles or companies with increasing frequency.
In the current climate, how do Security Integrators retain business and grow client relationships when many of them seem to be finding new solutions? The keys to growth in this changing market are: Knowledge, Support, Forward Thinking, and Professionalism.
The Security Integrator is the expert as an installer and as a brand. The Integrator knows how to troubleshoot a panel if something is going wrong without spending 4 hours searching the internet for answers. Integrators know how the system should be installed per the current National Fire Protection Code Life Safety Code (NFPA 101), the National Electrical Code (NEC / NFPA 70), the International Building Code (IBC), and others. Integrators know what the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is and how they require systems to function. It is the Security Integrator’s knowledge of the codes, manufacturer’s recommendations, and best practices that make the systems intrinsically safe upon installation. The DIY manual may not cover this information in sufficient detail to ensure a functional system that is intrinsically safe. Many companies also bring in other trades to try to fill the role of the Security Integrator. Ever seen another trade try to install a camera and video management system (VMS)? It happens daily, and the client suffers because the other trade seemed like the easy button, but it lacked the knowledge needed to install the system properly. Maybe they hung a camera, but did they adjust backlighting, Wide Dynamic Range (WDR), or calibrate the analytics appropriately? The Security Integrator can.
The easy button is fast. DIY installs can be cheap. But what happens after they are installed and something goes wrong? A chat function from the manufacturer website probably will not solve the problem. The Security Integrator offers support solutions. While many clients, from residential to Fortune 100 are interested in a support agreement, there are many ways to do this. Some integrators offer only Time & Materials (T&M) while others offer a support package. Both have value. A support agreement gives the client a sense of security that help is just a phone call away. That security creates loyalty that will grow your business. The client needs to know that the integrator is there to support them. The difference between many integrators is how well they support the client after the install. Sell the client on your support. Deliver on your commitment. They will trade the easy button for your ongoing support.
The security market is changing rapidly and dramatically. Old solutions are no longer serving the current and future market challenges. Organizations must embrace the concept of thinking ahead to survive the market change. These changes include technologies such as Cloud, cyber-security, Internet Protocol (IP), Internet of Things (IoT), Analytics, and the list goes on. Why are companies moving to the easy button, the DIY solution, or in-house solutions? The answer is because they haven’t found a vendor to meet their need. The Security Integrators that will make an impact are the forward-thinking solution providers. In a world where consumers line up around the block to buy the newest smart phone, it’s obvious that these same consumers will be going into their businesses or homes and want the same growth. When they do not find it with a current integrator, they either find another integrator or decide they can do-it-themselves. It is time to embrace the paradigm shifts that have merged traditional security and the IT world. Remind the client that their system is due for a refresh before it fails. It gives them a “new security smart phone” and brings the integrator new and recurring business.
No matter what vertical the client is in, how the brand is presented speaks more than the words that are actually said. We’ve all been there – the last call was an attic and you are covered in insulation and sweat. Do you show up to the next client with your shirt un-tucked and looking disheveled? Many installers do. How is that a professional representation of your brand? You are there to positively represent your company’s brand. Even if you are not there as a sales person, you are there to sell. Clients need to see you as a competent professional. Build a relationship with a client to learn more about what they want or need. Your professionalism can bring your company another sell. Refrain from giving your opinion on politics, religion, or anything else that could be controversial. No one wants to debate with a vendor. I have seen many clients be ready to buy whatever is on the truck, and the wrong thing was said and all conversation ended. Professionalism speaks about the individual as much as the company. Be attentive to the client. Listen, do not interrupt, and be courteous. Since many clients are known only on a professional basis, remember that cigarettes and vapes may not be tolerated and should be left in the truck, as should all profanity. If you need to step away, step away. It is professional to acknowledge the client and say you will be right back.
Clients today, across all verticals, have hit the easy button. It makes the integrator’s job harder, but with potentially bigger rewards. The client is unique. The client is us. They deserve to be reminded that the integrator is knowledgeable. The integrator is there to support them. The integrator is there to take them to the future. The integrator is professional above everyone else. Sell them on it, and then deliver on it.