The Silvertrac Extra: A Blog & Podcast for the Security Guard Industry

084: 4 Ways to Stand Out and Win More Commercial Contracts

Dec 7, 2015 4:03:03 PM / by Chris Anderson

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Commercial contracts are among the most coveted in the security industry. Not only can they usually pay more, they tend to represent fewer headaches. With a multi-housing or HOA account, there are hundreds of people who might have a complaint at any time, and your officers have to wear a variety of hats depending on the circumstances.

With a commercial contract, the number of people you have to please is much lower, and officer responsibility is limited more towards guarding valuable assets and protecting against liability. Since these accounts are so coveted, they tend to attract some of the fiercest competition. 

Whenever we ask potential customers about their target market, we always seem to hear about the desire to go after commercial accounts, so we decided to present our list of the four best tips for making your proposal stand out to a potential commercial contract.

Have A Plan For Slip, Trip, And Fall Cases 

The average cost of a slip, trip, and fall accident is $22,000, and Johnny has had a former client that spent over a quarter of a million defending against these cases in 2014 alone.

Given those costs, preventing these cases is going to be a high priority for just about any significant commercial customer you take on. Presenting an active plan and showing them that you can be a knowledgeable partner in preventing these accidents will give customers a concrete example of how you can add value.

When you’re submitting the proposal or doing an initial property walk, take the time to mention how your officers can look out for issues such as

  • Spills on walking surfaces
  • Ice, rain, or snow
  • Loose mats or rugs
  • Boxes and containers
  • Poorly lit areas
  • Uneven surfaces or raised curbs

Just showing that you have a plan in place, such as regular checks for these issues or a handbook in place that tells officers how to identify and handle these situations, will be a big point in your favor.

Coordinate With The On-Site Team To Become Part Of The Vendor Network

Every commercial property is going to have a number of other on-site vendors, including

  • Landscapers
  • Elevator service
  • Parking lot sweepers
  • Electricians
  • Maintenance teams

In fact, your officers might end up spending a lot more time interacting with these teams than they do with the property manager, who won’t always be on-site. We’ve already talked about the benefits of working with the maintenance team, and those same benefits apply to all the other vendors. Showing the property manager how you can make his or her life easier in areas unrelated to security will be a big selling point.

Not only that, these landscapers, electricians, and sweepers probably work with a number of other commercial properties, and impressing them can be a good way to win some valuable referrals.

Have A Plan To Address Panhandling And Loitering  

Just about any business that operates in a metropolitan area is going to have issues with panhandlers or other loiterers on the sidewalk outside their place of business. These are usually a minor concern, but can become very problematic if they’re not addressed professionally and proactively.

We have much more detailed advice for dealing with loiterers in Episode 26, but it boils down to this: Be prepared. Make sure your officers know how to collect the necessary information, professionally ask someone to leave the area, deal with a hostile or belligerent person, and follow a chain of escalation so that they’re not constantly calling the police. 

What this plan demonstrates to the customer is that you understand their issues and concerns. Especially if you haven’t worked commercial accounts before and are looking to break into that market, you want to be able to assure them that you are prepared to handle the unique demands of their business.

Add Value To Tenants 

In many cases, the cost of security services gets passed on to the tenants of a commercial property, and they might have a say in the approval of any new services you want to add 

Little things like walking employees to their cars in a dark or dangerous area, watching employee vehicles, or standing by during cash counts demonstrates your commitment to customer service.

Don’t just deliver these services, make sure you document them so that the events can’t be misconstrued and so there’s evidence of the work you’re doing.

“Make sure to report, show them that you’re going the extra mile,” I tell Johnny. “That’s really, really important.”

In the end, it’s all about showing that you’re prepared to handle their problems and committed to delivering value. For more information on these subjects, check out the following resources:

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Chris Anderson

Written by Chris Anderson

Chris is the Founder of Silvertrac Software and has been working in the security industry for more than 25 years. He enjoys working with our clients everyday to help them grow their businesses and really enjoy what they are doing.

Chris currently lives and works in Seal Beach, CA.

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