Security integrators are always on the lookout for good products. Cheap and good preferably. Something new. Something that will give them a perceived edge in the market for 5 minutes. Nothing wrong in that really.
This problem however, goes a lot deeper than 307 $ v 347 of the same.
The problem in general is that most integrators are not focusing enough attention to the question on how they themselves provide value to their customers.
A skillful security integrator will ensure, right from the start of a project, that the focus is on obtaining security functionality that overlaps the business functionality of his client. Eg. getting to the root cause of the problem whilst focusing on building a full understanding of the clients business, needs and economic drivers.
If this is done properly, the result should be an improvement his clients business functions. If a little more effort is put in, actual numbers of savings and risk reduction will ensure a good continued dialogue.
There are no tricks to becoming a clients preferred security provider. Just lots of hard graft getting to understand their bussiness before moving onto a solution that can add real value. Every client has unique threats and risks that can impact the business. As our job is to find the balance of a solution that can help our client grow, we must also fully understand his level of risk acceptance. If we then do our job properly, the value that we provide will hopefully be an incentive to increase this investment.
Again, focus on the the client. Focus on his business. Not our product. Small or big businesses. It does not matter. The name of the game is the same.
If this is done correctly, the customer will never argue individual line items. And if they against all experience still do.....ask them which internet provider will take responsibity of the security function during their 48 hour repair/return time.!? If there is still a discussion, then walk away, just like Marty said. You have met a client without a security problem.
Sadly, this subject goes deeper stilll.
As only 10-20% of a true solution is about product, how does this subject really keep being an issue? It does, because our industry is still nowhere near a stage of being mature. Many customers still see their local security contractors as the "electrical contractor", installing kit only and not really being a partner in times of need. More often than not they are right in doing so.
Look at the facts and figures. How big are our clients losses in all segments worldwide due to security related issues (banking, transport, retail etc). How big is our industry. It is so small in fact, that it is embarassing in comparisson to our clients yearly losses. Why does it not grow more rapidly then, when there is a definite wish to increase bottom line and improve flow? Because - our industry does not provide enought value.....Because our model of business is not built around the business of our clients in the way that, say the IT industry is. We still want to install kit when others are taking responsibility for the flow of the entire enterprise. Come on Gents!
The precense of "price/product" integrators are sadly part in preventing our business from maturing and gaining a higher stature. (If you want to be the electrical sub contractor, please, no offense, we need you too.)
Bottom line? It is time for security integrators around the world to step up to the plate, take more responsibility in their involvement and in their solutions.
If you provide real value, build trust, 24/7 service and demonstrate your integrity by taking a holistic solution approach, the discussion of profit margins will fade. Stop worrying about the manufacturing industry's need for volume driven solutions. Be the turnkey provider that takes responsibility from inside your clients domain!
You will never be more profitable.- together with your client!
So, next time a client asks you: - Why should I pay you more money? , it really is time to look yourself in the in the mirror. It will tell you that you are in this for the wrong reasons and that you have been found wanting in the one area that your customer really cares about. His business and how to improve it. Security is a win-win game. Now go make some money!