As a new business owner have you ever wondered how do you reach your client base? As an executive protection agent and security consultant you must find a way to sell safety in a way that a business executive understands. I recently went to a close protection conference in which I spent most of my time networking and taking notes. I listened to the experts and learned also that while I was listening and learning, active listening is a huge part of the business. Active listening does not necessarily mean use your ears. You can listen through body language and the speaker's behavior. This will make you truly understand the speaker's message. So here are 10 ways to reach your client.
1. Find the right person and make your case. The right person is not necessarily the C-suite executives but those that assist the executives. C-suite executives reached the C-suite for a reason. They are too busy to have discussions with everybody so they hire employees for that reason. So you must find the right employee. Consider finding a person that deals with third party vendors. That's where you want to be. You want to be a third party vendor.
2. Time is not always your friend. Things take time including decisions. In the military they have a saying, "Hurry up and wait." Remember your timeline will move at your prospective client's pace. So don't get discouraged and don't be pushy. You want the client to be happy about their decision so let them have the time to make a valuable and informed decision.
3. Don't use scare tactics to make them buy your services. It's easy to tell someone it's a scary world and that they need protection. The truth is, the media makes it a scary world by showing all the scary news. You could show articles on kidnappings, murder, and theft but the truth is thousands of people live their life never being a victim. A scare tactic could either turn off the client or the client laughs at you because they know the reality. So show them the value of your business without scaring them.
4. Use Data to explain why your company is the best fit. Show Examples and use numbers. Don't tell them necessarily what your services cost but rather what value you can use to better define their numbers. For example, the Zhang Study published in 2015 discusses if a sudden death or illness of an executive to a company happens there is a negative effect on stock prices and returns. Illness alone can lead to gaps in productivity. Just the time allowed for a driver can increase productivity.
5. The never ending debate on hard skills versus soft skills. I heard it best said recently, "Be a diplomat not a door kicker." When dealing with a C-suite executive they don't care how good of shot you are, how many black belts you have, etc. What they do care about is if you'll fit into the company culture. Can you blend in?
6. Know that you or your company will never be on display. The job is not about your company. The job is about the client and the services and value you provide to their company. There is no need for arrogance in the job.
7. Make your mission statement coincide with the client's vision statement. That is part of fitting into their culture. In the day and age of the agile business model a person must adapt to the needs of the business.
8. It's okay to be told No. Don't be the used car salesman trying so hard to make a sale that the no pushes you to be pushy. It will turn off the client. Politely and respectfully thank them and let them know if they need anything they can contact you. Sometimes no means they need time to think about it. Sometimes it means no and that's okay. That's part of business.
9. Dress like the company. If you truly want to blend in and immerse yourself in the company culture you must dress consistent with the company's standards. Sometimes it's a business suit and sometimes it's a more casual environment. Know the difference and blend in.
10. Lastly, don't lose sight of your role as executive protection or consultant. Every company is different. Their lifestyle is not your lifestyle. Be the quiet professional. If you lose sight of your role and you try to become someone that you're really not it can tarnish your image and it can tarnish the reputation of your client or likely your former client.
Good luck with you business and I hope it grows with much success.
Semper Tutum Semper Vigilanti