The security guard industry is extremely competitive. Any proposal you make to a potential customer will likely have to compete with a handful of similar proposals. That’s why having a unique and engaging sales pitch has become so important. The industry has changed a great deal in recent years, but many companies have not changed their pitch in a meaningful way.
Pre-Tech Security Industry
I got into the private security industry in the early ‘90s, and things were quite a bit different back then. First of all, there was less competition, and profit margins were much higher. Without the transparency brought about by the internet and incident reporting software, customers didn’t have as much insight into how security companies actually functioned.
Pitching to customers became largely about appearances: crisp, clean uniforms and impressive looking patrol vehicles. On top of that, the executives would emphasize their credentials and experience.
Pretty soon, these nice margins and the high growth of the industry attracted a lot of competition, and prices plummeted. Many companies started cutting corners, not having adequate guard management or putting inexperienced or unqualified guards in the field.
“They didn’t have the technology at the time to do all the research and background checks,” I told Johnny on today’s episode. “It took time, so you could give a temporary permit, but chances are it could be a bad employee.”
Client Demand Changes
With companies not having great background checks, paying low wages, and cutting corners in training and management, the security industry started to get a bad reputation. Guards would show up late, leave early, and be seen eating or even sleeping in their cars when they were supposed to be on patrol.
Mandatory background checks helped somewhat, but the problem didn’t go away. Clients demanded better tools and accountability. Companies began to computerize their Daily Activity Reports (DARs) and fax or e-mail them to clients, making communication somewhat more efficient, but that was just a small step.
Companies also began using simple accountability tools such as the Detex clock, which was basically an early version of a guard tour system that could verify guards were hitting their required checkpoints on schedule.
“Now they start selling on accountability, ‘Hey, we’re using a Detex clock, we can prove that our officers are actually going to be there, and we can back it up with the background checks’,” said Johnny.
Companies would quickly go over accountability tools such as Detex or, after that, GPS, and then go immediately to price. Despite improving technology, the industry remained a race to the bottom.
Technology Changes The Pitch
So many of the qualities security companies emphasize in their proposals today are just boilerplate language that everyone uses. Talking about experienced management, guard accountability, etc. just encourages clients who’ve seen those words over and over again to flip to the back page and check the price.
Most basic security guard software out there today might help your operations and be competitive but it doesn’t necessarily make you any different in the client’s eyes. Companies that bury that technology in the middle of their pitch won’t have much success in differentiating their service.
What Silvertrac’s guard management software does is allow you to make the technology one of the centerpieces of your pitch as you show customers how it not just improves accountability, but also saves the client time and money. By showing them how you can help them better resolve parking issues, optimize customer service, and decrease resident complaints, you transform yourself from a vendor to a partner.
Guard management software has dramatically overhauled the capabilities of security companies. With real-time reporting, precise data, and improved communication, companies can go beyond mere accountability and really go above and beyond to deliver value to clients. Companies that can get that message across in their proposals stand a much better chance of landing new accounts.