How To Conduct An Effective Site Survey

Be prepared to recommend repairs and upgrades. You may have originally gone out to survey for a rekey, and come home with a purchase order for a whole lot more.

Although much business is now conducted by means of email and telephone, there really is no substitute for the on-site security survey, a/k/a the walkthrough.

The walkthrough requires an investment of your time, so you must decide if the potential for a sale is high enough to justify this expense, and sometimes you simply may not have the time. Generally, an in-person presentation is far more effective than a telephone call, email or letter. Also your being on-site indicates to your customer that you share their sense of urgency. Typically, security is a time sensitive matter.

Properly screening the client’s call-in is important so that you can make a positive first impression. The initial phone call is the best way to determine such key facts as:

Is the caller is an existing account?

Is the client is making a casual enquiry or intend to schedule an installation promptly?

Is the client seeking something you can provide?

Is the client within your service area?

Answers can be determined quickly if you the right employee handling the phones. Otherwise, you may be burning gas and daylight responding to improperly screened calls, or missing jobs because the call is dropped or incorrect information was obtained.

If you advertise and market your business, you can calculate how much it actually costs you to make that phone ring. Then you can calculate how many calls result in a sale; and how much you actually netting per call. Hint: this should be a positive number.

Mishandling the phones is an excellent way to throw away money and shut the door to future business.

In my own experiences I’ve had clients ask me for my cell number because they refuse to call the shop’s landline and have to suffer through the gauntlet of dummies they have to navigate only to ultimately not get a response anyway.

My customers hate inefficiency and they crave accountability and will wait for me to respond, since they trust me and know I will get back to them. When I do respond, I will have answers. Many readers share similar relationships with their valued customers. The value should be a two-way proposition.

After some initial screening, in-person site visits are valuable for several reasons:

You are best able to assess the area in which the site is located. A risk assessment will reflect how close the site is to roads, whether the site is fenced, gated, how well lit it is, and the general demographics of the neighborhood. If the premises is on a heavily trafficked street, there may be a threat to children or patients leaving the facility, and there exists a real danger of someone getting run over or wandering off.

When conducting a site survey, keep in mind the purposes of the systems you are there to recommend:

  • To provide Security, generally construed to refer to preventing unauthorized access, and
  • To ensure Safety (Life Safety), generally construed to refer to ensuring free egress from the premises in an emergency situation.

Movement within sensitive areas within the facility or through perimeter doors may need to be controlled. It may be a computer room, or pharmacy. It could be a door to a hospital ward.

The addition of electronic locking devices and control systems will provide other benefits to the client.

Electronic systems are reliable. Many carry five-year or lifetime warranties. Few mechanical locks offer that kind of warranty.

Electronic locking systems permit remote and automated locking and unlocking as well as remote monitoring of the opening and the locking device. These features are not available with mechanical locks.

To make the most productive use of your time, it usually is beneficial to have an established procedure. If you are answering the phone or performing a survey, consider having a script, form or worksheet so you can begin the process by getting the customer’s name phone number and physical address. That’s the minimum you require to move the ball down the field.


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