The only thing harder than winning good security contracts is winning good contracts without being the lowest bidding price.
When you do win one of those solid accounts, it can be a major boost to company morale and the bottom line.
In the last 4 years she's won more than 125 profitable contracts and expanded the business considerably.
Take a dive into the interview notes below to learn how Erica has used technology, networking, and referrals to expand their business.
Our Interview with Erica Grabowski of Reliance Security (Las Vegas)
(The notes below have been abbreviated based on the original interview)
Johnny: Welcome Erica! Can you give us a quick intro to who you are, what you do and how you got into the security industry?
Erica: Perfect. Thank you so much. I integrated into the private security sector approximately four years ago when I started with Reliance Security.
My background is organizational security and management, so I focused on campus security, guard management, physical elements of security. And that's why I really became a believer in the accountability and streamlining guard management so we could provide metrics for our clients.
So when I was a member of ASIS, which I still am today, they worked with me through the graduation process. During that time I met an associate that introduced me to Reliance Security.
One of the reasons I took the position with Reliance was because they had Silvertrac. They said, "Hey, we have this program we call "RelianceTrac", and we're not using it very well. We think you'd be able to help us get more out of it."
So I did a lot of the research. You, Chris, and the rest of the team all helped me to work with it. And that was how it all started, and we went from may be using 10% of the features to now I think we use it at 90%+ of it's capacity.
Getting Into Business Development
Johnny: You guys are power users for sure! We get a lot of questions around prospecting and running the sales organization, so can you speak a little bit to how you got into business development?
Erica: So my primary objective in college was to go a thousand percent with the security director role. I did Homeland Security and counterterrorism. But business development and sales is just in my nature. I knew that if you had an idea, a project, or you wanted to persuade someone to do something you had to know how to sell it.
When you believe in something I think that is the biggest difference. Reliancetrac is what I believe in.. In contract security it's any company, placing any guard.
But those who provide the metrics, provide real-time integrated technology, those are the companies that really stand out. I wholeheartedly believe in the use of technology and "virtual guard management".
When you understand the full capacity of Silvertrac and what it can do for your company and for your client, it's easy to sell.
Overall I just say that we're best for those who look for a stronger return on their investment.
Johnny: How do those early-stage conversations go, and how you position Reliance, yourself and the service as a whole to win the contract?
Erica: Absolutely...When I meet with my clients I sit right in their chair and I load up the Silvertrac and I show them examples of what we have. I give them a test drive. Once they see all the different filters, options, user profiles, they say something like, "Wow, this is what I want. I want to know where my security company is, who my guards are, and what they've done."
Once they see how we manage our team, it becomes a battle of their budget. We can only go so low. A lot of them will actually take down the amount of security hours and coverage they have Reliance on site.
How to Win a Contract When You're Not the Lowest Bid
Johnny: How do you guys win a private security bid when you're not the lowest?
Erica: We really emphasize transparency and accountability overall.
That is the difference when you are explaining the benefit that a client could receive from your services.
The reality is, there are men and women in their guard force who are negligent and aren't doing their job. You have to have a system in place that manages the fundamentals like who the officer is, what time they arrived, where they go, and whether they do their patrols.
Clients love that we offer daily activity reports with photos because it's like enhanced CCTV all over the property.
I like to call it reporting forensics because if there is an issue you can go back and determine where they were.
"Our client's invest a lot, so they'll pay more knowing that they have all those metrics to prove the value of the security service."