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  • Marketing: How are you putting your name out?

    I'm interested in knowing how various companies are putting their name out. How are you getting your company name into the minds of prospective clients? What kind of marketing materials are you using, what marketing vectors are you using, and what kind of return are you getting on those investments?

    I've heard good things and bad things about yellow pages ads, and am wondering if they're effective. While they grab the people flipping the phone book, they may just be dialing alphabetically.

    How many of you are getting more "ya got secuirty jarbs? When can I be hired!?" than you are potential client calls?

    I have my own ideas about marketing, and would like to see what others believe works, and what actually works for them. If something works, why do you think it works?
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

  • #2
    I prefer making cold calls on potential clients. It isn't easy, but here's why I prefer it over the yellow pages: Cut-throat competition has a difficult time trying to get company information out of me by pretending to be a customer.

    The downside is that I am some-what limited in my exposure. Still, I like the control it gives me over who I want to do business with, and over my competitors.
    Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
      I've heard good things and bad things about yellow pages ads, and am wondering if they're effective. While they grab the people flipping the phone book, they may just be dialing alphabetically.
      N.A., IMO, it's good to have a one line listing in the Yellow Pages, but most potential clients looking there for a provider have a short term emergency and are not currently using a security contractor. That was even true 20 years ago, before the internet.

      Selling security services is often a matter of timing. If you call a prospect on the third morning in a row that he found his officer sleeping and the contractor has not fixed the problem, you have a new contract.

      Networking is quite important. Join the local chapter of ASIS, BOMA, Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, etc. and you will find prospects.

      Also mail compaigns..real mail, not email. I spent a bunch of time with email marketing with no success. If, however, you don't call that morning, but he has a brochure on his desk, you still might have a new contract.
      Richard Dickinson
      Dickinson Security Management Group, LLC
      DSMG Provides a Variety of Software Products and Consulting Services to the Contract Security Industry
      www.hrdickinson.com

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      • #4
        Interesting topic. I do not own a security service - I'm a Security Management Consultant. I do not do any cold calling, send letters. or print advertising - as such.

        I have my website, write articles for publication, and get work by referrals from other consultants. So far, about 80% of my business comes from my website.

        I suggest contacting magazines and submitting articles relating directly to your business. For example I write security and loss prevention related articles for retail publications. I gear my writing for that specific industry. I tend to stear away from security publications as that is 'preaching to the choir' and will not generate business for you.

        I also speak before groups that are directly related to my business. Much of that work is pro-bono, such a the local Chamber of Commerce. That type of speaking engagement leads directly to paid speaking gigs.
        Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
        Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

        Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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        • #5
          You need to identify the market that you wish to pursue say guard duties (static, alarm and response plus say night patrols as well). I would target small business parks, small strip malls (I am learning the yank terms) and isolated business etc. When I was targeting LP stores for consulting for my business I would go into a mall and search for stores I knew were familiar to me and do some reasearch and you may find some have 4 stores in a region but that is 4 premises for you to look at.

          Do a search on Guerilla Marketing and you will be shocked at the free stuff you can do and it is all legal too (like a friend with a catering business sends brochures when he pays his bills by cheque (check) with a 10% discount. The flyer goes to someone having a party or wedding and wants a discount. Another area is community service where in say an elementary school you help the stranger danger program and then work with the school to help them for some free advertising with the school news letter or website.

          Another incident was in response to an armed hold up. I lived 15 minutes from the store who hit the news again for the 4th time in 3 years. I visited the owner with a get well card for his wife who was shoved and injured in the robbery. He informed me that 50 security companies had harassed him all morning and he was worried more about his wife than the business. It was my genunine concerns for his wife rather than the hard sell like the 49 others company idiots that got me his interest and I later found he had 39 other sites around the state that he owned too.

          Either way make sure you have a neat little media package ready to go - nice flyers, nice business cards, folders and that you look the part and not like some bum using a cocktail napkin as a business card (it does happen).
          "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

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          • #6
            Here's an idea: Provide your officers with their own business cards, such as many police departments do. Of course, your company name figures prominently on the card, as well as the phone number and address. Officers give these out whenever they make a <positive> citizen contact, saying, "If there's anything further I can do for you, here is my card."

            Makes them look very professional, will probably surprise the citizen, and gets your name into the hands of people who already have a positive impression of your company. You never know who they are, who their husband/wife is, etc., etc.

            Very nice cards can be purchased quite inexpensively (and if you have a really high-quality color printer you can create your own with cheap software), so there's no reason for them to be cheesy-looking.
            "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

            "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

            "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

            "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

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            • #7
              There are many ways to get your name out there. Having well-marked vehicles driving around is one way, just make sure you wash them and fix any dings your guys put in them right away. Dirty cars with crumpled fenders don't reflect well on your company.
              Train your patrol officers to watch for opportunities. Look for unsecured businesses and call the owner or police; assist people with flat tires, dead batteries, etc.
              One night on patrol in Bloomington, MN I saw an unlocked gate at a property next to one of ours. I never saw the gate open before. I called the PD, who checked the yard, and secured the gate. I left a note for the business owner on a patrol report along with the cops card.
              A few months later, the owner of the business called our company because he fired someone and wanted us to patrol his property for 2 weeks. He said that he pulled out my report and called us. He didn't call anyone else for bids.
              A year after that, he had a break-in and had a bunch of copper stolen from another business he owned. He called us again, and we got a permanent account, 4 hits a night. Not bad for taking 30 minutes off my route.
              If you provide alarm response, buy a cop a cup of coffee and ask him which businesses have a lot of false alarms. Many business owners don't realize that they can hire a security service to respond rather than paying the cops $250 or more for false alarms.
              We tried having patrol officers drop fliers at businesses that looked like they would use patrol services, but that didn't work. We dropped several hundred and didn't get one lead.
              Last edited by Badge714; 10-08-2007, 08:34 PM.
              "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by NRM_Oz View Post
                small strip malls (I am learning the yank terms)
                Man, yankees think of everything. Whole malls (even if they are small) dedicated to that. I've always had to go to seedy downtown areas, or drive from one to another.
                sigpic
                Rocket Science
                Making everything else look simple, since 1958.


                http://my.opera.com/integrator/blog/
                One Man's Opinion

                The Future. It isn't what it used to be.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by integrator97 View Post
                  Man, yankees think of everything. Whole malls (even if they are small) dedicated to that. I've always had to go to seedy downtown areas, or drive from one to another.
                  FYI, After living in NJ for 30 years, I first heard the term when I moved to rural Alabama 10 years ago. Now that I live in Houston, that term defines the landscape!!
                  Richard Dickinson
                  Dickinson Security Management Group, LLC
                  DSMG Provides a Variety of Software Products and Consulting Services to the Contract Security Industry
                  www.hrdickinson.com

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                  • #10
                    Just prior to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney I grabbed one of my best teams and kitted up in full uniform. It cost me $350 US for the operation but I had us pair off and walk the main street of a busy suburb near the Olympic Park. We were offering night patrol services for less than a cup of coffee for the whole street only.

                    We showed new clients what our uniforms looked like, spoke with the local police station and passed on our information for their records and approached 1200 business from eateries to stores to accounting firms to chemists (drug stores). With 750 businesses on our books I was over the moon as at $3.00 a site ($5.00 for bigger ones) we had a large number of clients in the one suburb. I then used 2 brothers who lived 1 street away for 2 x 3 hour shifts plus alarm responses. They were paid for 10 hours but had to file all paperwork before the end of shift so ended up being paid 2 hours for nothing. Simple economics says if you have 10 different clients 30 miles apart it is going to cost you more in fuel than if they were all within a 2 mile radius.

                    Alarm call outs were charged at $50 US (close to it) and these boys were given $10.00 US bonus each to respond plus any o/t they earned. On rest nights they used their sons to help out and we NEVER had 1 complaint except for a competitor offering to do it for $1.00 a night so we let him take those companies who left (not realising their contract had them pay out the balance of their 12 week contracts). We ended up without losing anyone but after the 12 weeks found it would not be viable to continue with these services beyond our short contracts.
                    "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

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                    • #11
                      Landed one

                      I have been after a prospective client for several months now and it finally paid off - They retained my services.

                      Cold calls are a challenge, but you feel good when it works out. The hard part is to balance the contacts so that the potential client appreciates your interest, but not to the point were you become a pest. Patience, patience, and more patience.

                      PS - This year marks the 1st for being profitable.
                      Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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                      • #12
                        Most of my business comes from word of mouth.
                        When I started out I observed, OK spied on a supposedly covert security operation then went to the client and told them things that weren't supposed to be known. This was supposed to be a

                        The client allowed me to handle a few of their operations and they liked my secrecy.
                        Most of my business is short to miedium terms.
                        It has worked so well I haven't been around in a few months!

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                        • #13
                          Congrats Mr Sec - it took me about 2 years to earn an income for me that was worthy of the hours I was doing - even when I worked o/seas too.

                          I have just had a friend use an idea to set his business up in a new area. FREE security assessment of your premises. It took 30 minutes of his time per client and he got 1 in 2 success rate. Granted he did not tell them everything but he not only got the RA's but also a patrol contract from them.
                          "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NRM_Oz View Post
                            Congrats Mr Sec - it took me about 2 years to earn an income for me that was worthy of the hours I was doing - even when I worked o/seas too....
                            Thank you Sir. When I started my business, I made some newbie mistakes like ordering an inventory of safety & security signs instead of ordering them when a client wanted one. That's why it took a little while to turn a profit.
                            Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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                            • #15
                              I printed boxes of flyers at home which looked like crap - to be blunt and found a company who did 10,000 color flyers in a 8" x 6" size for $500 US and I got their security contract for 12 months for the equivalent in free printing. Nice big sign stated "THESE PREMISES ARE PROTECTED BY ............." as customers walked in and I got work out of that signage alone.

                              Whilst I was charging $7.00 US a night for 3 patrols for some sites other companies were doing it for $2 - 3 US. I either competed or showed I could out fox them which I did with verified patrol times using a cordless wand. I cut my prices down to $35.00 US a week and picked up neighbouring clients so made it smarter to patrol 10 sites within a street rather than 2 or 3.
                              "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

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