DOUBLE YOUR BUSINESS IN 3 STEPS
STEP 3: SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BEST PRACTICES
Now that you’ve gotten your brand and marketing in order, it time to focus on just one thing – selling! While sales can be a big case of trial and error, there are many fundamentals that you need to nail down which will give you a significant edge in a competitive and, to some extent, a commoditized marketplace.
KEEPING TRACK OF CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS
CRM: If you are not already using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, it’s time you consider using one if you want to consistently work on growing your business. With the CRM you can store all of your clients’ information in one place, easily update and share with other team members, get instant metrics on where in the funnel each potential client is, among other things. There are countless simple and inexpensive systems you can choose from. Here are just a few to consider:
FIRST SALES MEETING
Do your homework: One of the most important things you can do before meeting your prospective client is learn as much as you can about them (approximate number of employees, working hours, current security company they use, if any, nature of products or services they offer etc). Understanding their business better will help you be more aware of the common security issues they might face everyday. You should also familiarize yourself with the area around their location including any crime statistics which you can find at sites like the following:
In additional to doing your homework about the potential client, make sure to practice your pitch and know what you’re going to say about your company.
Make a great first impression: It goes without saying that you should dress for success for this very important meeting. Think about how you want your client to perceive you and wear clothing appropriate to that look, keeping in mind that your first impression can affect your paycheck!
Also, make sure to bring high-quality business cards and/or brochures or other material that you can leave behind with the prospective client. In addition, bring a quality notepad where you can write down any important details you discuss.
Discuss their needs first: Your first meeting isn’t usually the place to do a hard sales pitch in hopes of closing the potential client on the spot. It is, however, a place to try to build trust and confidence in the prospects mind and learn more about their needs so that you can put together a stellar proposal. Pay particular attention to what they are looking for, ask questions, and take notes – even if you don’t need them – it makes you look like you value their opinion and are focused on what they’re saying.
Selling yourself: Once you have a better grasp on their needs, show them how you will exceed their expectations, citing what makes your company stand out and how you can provide better value compared to your competition. Some differentiating factors might include:
- Qualifications / education
- Relevant information about owners / management
- Years of experience
- Value added services (such as reporting provided by ODIN app)
- Caliber of personnel (such as former / retired law enforcement personnel)
- Specific training you provide your personnel
- Screening process for your employees
- Professional references
Remember to focus on their needs while feeling out their level of interest and budget. As you wrap up the meeting, make sure to determine your next steps with them regarding presenting your proposal.
The proposal process might look very different from one potential client to another – and will primarily be based upon their size. The larger clients will have a relatively cut-and-dry contract solicitation and bidding process whereas there might be no process whatsoever for a small local retailer, for example. Regardless of the size of the business, you would want to make sure to cover more than enough detail in the proposal to convince them that you are right choice while also disclosing the basic terms and conditions that are important to you.
While we can’t go into every detail of writing a proposal here, below is the basic information that every proposal should include:
- Information about your company (also include all the important information from the “Selling Yourself” section above in a very condensed format)
- Scope of work / packages available (vehicle patrol, foot patrol, monitoring services, armed / unarmed personnel, uniforms etc)
- Fees and payment terms
- Your typical length of contract as well as termination process
- Any testimonials and references
Although time-consuming, tailoring your proposal to the property and the prospective clients specific security concerns will take you a long way. Showcase any research you might have done about the property or assignment in general such as crime stats for the area and other specific recommendations based on your experience.
Remember that while pricing is an important factor, it is the value added services, your professionalism and trustworthiness, expertise in the type of services they need and other “soft” factors such as these that really closes a deal!
I sincerely hope this was helpful to you. Wishing you all the best from everyone here at ODIN.
As a reminder, if you haven’t already taken ODIN was a spin, I ask you to give us a try by signing-up for a free trial. ODIN is an intuitive and low-cost scheduling and incident reporting system for security personnel on-the-go
ODIN has 2 components:
A Mobile App (iOS and Android) for the security personnel where they can:
– View their shifts (and locations) that they are assigned to
– Check in at the location when they arrive and check out when they leave
– Record any incidents with the ability to add description as well as pictures
A simple and intuitive Management Console where the manager can:
– See the location of all the security personnel who are on duty
– Manage employees and add client locations
– Create schedules for the security personnel (which they can access from their app)
– Review case notes and create reports for clients