Understand Four Business Realties To Unlock Your Electronic Access Control Sales

March 2, 2012
Key control, compliance with government regulations, safety and shrinkage are the four issues affecting your customers as they upgrade their access control.

There is good news for the access control industry: it is forecast for steady growth in 2012.  According to a new report from Global Industry Analysts, the global electronic access control systems market is to reach $14.7 billion by 2017.

The financial pinch is seen to potentially play in the industry’s favor, with increases in thefts, break-ins, shoplifting and the like putting greater importance on access and security systems.

While bright, the picture needs to be balanced, especially if you don’t know what your sales landscape looks like. Considerable economic insecurity remains and the U.S. debt continues to increase; unemployment is high and for businesses, there are still regulatory and compliance hoops to jump through, among other risks. 

To unlock your upside potential, you need to identify your prospects’ pain. The key is to understand and address four real business issues many operators face – and know how to probe those areas with related questions to ultimately grow your business. 

1. Key Control

Your issues training begins with informing your prospects that they need to grab their brass keys…. and throw them away.

Something feels safe about holding a ring of brass keys.  Its heft can give your prospects a sense of control over who can enter their businesses and where they’re allowed to go. 

The question is: How can master keys be suitably controlled? Even under the most deliberately managed key control protocol, loopholes exist, such as loaning of keys between personnel; too many and lost and stolen keys; excessive key levels; ineffective return procedures; and lack of personnel to service cylinders and keys.

Moreover, there is the cost and time incurred to maintain and change mechanical keys and locks.

Electronic access control reduces risk because it eliminates the need to mechanically re-key buildings, saving time and money.  An electronic system is easy to change instantly to eliminate vulnerability, and to reduce risk and liability.

When discussing key control, ask your prospects these questions:

1. How many keys total are in circulation?

2. How many different keys are in circulation?

3. Is there 100 percent certainty of unauthorized key usage?

4. If someone loses his or her keys, what controls are in place to ensure

workplace safety?

5.  Does the key control system consider changes in personnel?

6.  With multiple facilities, what is the strategy for the overall organization and for each individual site?

7.  Who is responsible for keys in the organization?

2. Compliance

It’s no news that businesses are required follow certain specifications, policies or standards of law.  Government and regulatory agencies have tremendous power over those found to have ignored laws or mandates and doing so could lead to fines, as well lost revenue -- even business closure.  

Make sure that your understanding of how regulatory compliance affects your prospects is clearly documented. Depending on what kind of business your prospects are in, there’s a good chance they’ll need to abide by one or more of the following:

  • The Health Information Portability and Privacy Act (HIPPA)
  • The Payment Card Industry Standard (PCI)
  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Security equipment manufactures aren’t immune.  The National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) says that makers of automated access control equipment or devices must assure in writing that their systems will meet certain standards.

When discussing electronic access control with prospects, be sure to cover the following compliance questions.  Some or all could apply:

1. Do you know about the compliance rules/regulations governing your customer’s business/industry?

2. Does the prospect maintain employee medical information?

3. Do they store confidential or personal customer information?

4. Do they collect credit card information?

5. Are they a publically-traded company?

3. Safety

No one disputes the importance of managing safety and minimizing risk on the job. Protecting employees and customers from undue hazards is an obligation most businesses take seriously.  Loss of life or injury can be catastrophic to any organization, and could result in costly litigation and settlements. 

Some numbers from Marsh Risk Consulting paint a picture. The average workers’ comp medical cost per lost-time claim has increased 7 percent in the last four years.  Just as telling, a business with $100,000 in workers’ comp losses and a 5 percent profit margin needs to generate $2 million in sales to overcome its workers’ compensation claims.  These days, that’s a tall order.

Setting standards is where companies struggle with safety issues, and working with employees to comply with safety regulations.  Electronic access control plays a role in a host of possible safety scenarios including after-hours employees; terminated employees, training/certification requirements; and hazardous areas and public safety.

Here are the questions that should be part of any safety discussion:

1. Does the building have electronic access control to minimize intruders from gaining access?

2. Does the customer stockpile/use hazardous materials?

3. Are there sophisticated, safety mechanisms in place to protect electronic records and files?

 4. Does the company have electronic access control installed in rooms/areas containing confidential information?

5. If the customer utilizes potentially dangerous mechanical equipment, is  electronic access control used to protect the untrained from gaining access?

4.  Shrinkage

Your prospects may call it inventory shrinkage, or shrink for short. Large amounts of shrink cuts into profits – making a big difference in the amount of margin or profit a retailer can retain – and typically leads to higher customer costs.  

Shrink happens through employee theft, shoplifting or administrative error and vendor fraud.  It’s bad news however it happens, and it is getting worse.

Global shrink cost retailers $119 billion last year, according to the Global Retail Theft Barometer, an annual study by the Centre for Retail Research.  In North America alone, the cost of this shrinkage was $45 billion, representing 1.5 percent of retail sales.

What’s startling is that employees, and not customers, are the primary source of shrink.  Loss categories that contribute to shrink include cash, product, intellectual property, equipment, tools, computers and supplies.

An average company that invests in an electronic access control system throughout their facility can substantially reduce shrink from internal theft by 50 percent or more. Key areas of deployment include product inventory rooms, materials and supply locations and back doors of the facility.

These queries about levels of theft should be part of every access control conversation.

1. What types of products might employees steal from your organization?

2. How can the general public steal from you?

3. Are all your valuable assets sufficiently protected?

4. Are your more mundane office supplies adequately secured?

While the issues may seem evergreen, asking the right set of questions is where your opportunity lies.  Prospects are looking for information and for answers, maybe in areas they are not even aware of.  Make these questions your own to broaden and enhance your sales discussions this year.

John LaFond is Director of Sales - Commercial Access Group, Linear LLC. Linear LLC is a pioneer in engineered radio frequency (RF) products and is a major supplier of wireless residential security systems, access control, intercoms, garage door operators, gate operators, short- and long-range radio remote controls, and personal emergency reporting systems. For more information, contact Linear LLC, 1950 Camino Vida Roble, Suite 150, Carlsbad, CA 92008, 760.438.7000 or www.linearcorp.com.