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Marketing: How are you putting your name out?

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  • gonzo1510
    replied
    I'm still relatively new to the business side of the industry but as far as getting my name out there, I put my company name on the rear windshield of my personal vehicle using those window decals and I also got free business cards from vistaprint. The cards are real plain jane (free) but they convey my info. I got an account from one of my customers from my armored car job who happens to sit on her church council. I mentioned that to her I had started my own service and that's when she told me that she would talk to the rest of the council for me. At first the church was going to hire off duty deputies for their annual carnival but we got it when they realized that they could get 2 armed guards for the cost of one off duty deputy. My guards told me that they ended up handing out plenty of my cards over the course of the weekend because people liked the way the guards were outfitted (Embroidered Polo shirt with jeans and Sam Browne) and the professional demeanor.

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  • NRM_Oz
    replied
    I recall a business owner who's sister was attacked in an armed hold up and as it hit the news it was 15 minutes away from my house. I drove to see the owner and handed him a get-well card for his sister and a bunch of flowers to take to her at the hospital. I included a business card and was thankful to hear that there were no fatalities.

    He later contacted me after 50 hard sell security companies all wanted him to sign up on a contract and alarm services and he said I was the only 1 who seemed to care about the human side of things and not the business side. He moved to a strip mall and we ended up getting the other businesses to sign up as well for 30% discount.

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  • SecTrainer
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr. Security View Post
    Good thing they didn't know that, huh....
    Serendipity, my good man, serendipity. Good fortune favors those who go forth and do battle, not those who stay at home.

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  • Mr. Security
    replied
    Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
    This kind of service isn't usually sold by cold calls anyway.....
    Good thing they didn't know that, huh....

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  • SecTrainer
    replied
    Is anyone using Google Adwords? These are the ads you see next to the search results in Google. Features include:

    1. Pay-per-click: In other words, you are paying only for people who have demonstrated interest of some sort (because they searched on the keywords you have chosen for your ad), and then actually come to your website. When you sign up (free), you go through a structured process of finding and selecting the most appropriate keywords, and then Google will give you a cost per click-through. Generally speaking, the more keywords you use, the more often your ad will appear and hence the higher the click-through price.

    As a word of advice, "more" is not necessarily "better" when it comes to keywords, whether metadata for your website or things like Adwords. You want a fairly tightly targeted person clicking on your Adword ad. If all you provide is security patrol services, you would use that phrase and maybe just a few variants for keywords. If you don't want people who are looking for executive security, security alarms, security badges, security systems, security cameras, etc., use the most specific phrase(s) that closely describe(s) your actual business. "Trolling" outside those waters will only cost you money because people will idly click on anything that "looks sort of interesting".

    As another word of advice, Google will not help you find misspellings as possible keywords, but you might want to think about using one or two. For instance, you might want to use "securty" as a keyword.

    If you have a trademarked service that you are actively promoting by other means (e.g. newspaper, radio, etc.), include that in your keyword list also. For instance, you create and trademark (always a good idea) a program you call "Gold Shield Service" - a package of services targeted to some market niche....you would obviously want this phrase in your Adwords list.

    2. Can be budgeted on a daily or monthly basis. Once your budget is reached (meaning you've had however many click-throughs your budget will pay for, such as 100), your ad no longer appears and you pay nothing further for that period.

    3. Can be (more or less) limited to local region or city. This is done both by looking at the search itself (e.g. "Security service Seattle") and/or by analysis of the searcher's IP address. For a local security or investigative service, this would be valuable even if it doesn't work perfectly, which it doesn't. However, it's pretty good. Use city or regional names ("the Northwest" - if applicable) in your keyword list, also...and in your ad itself to prevent people from outside your area from being interested.

    An ad might look like this:

    24-hour business/residential patrol
    Serving Chicago area for 18 years...
    http://www.action1security.com

    Then, of course, the final - and by no means small thing - is to have a very highly professional, welcoming, tasteful website that people find when they click on your ad. I'm sorry folks, but in my opinion a lot of security companies aren't doing a very good job in this department at all. The junk out there is shameful. As a start on this, let me recommend you resist the temptation to call yourself:

    1. Junkyard Dawg Security
    2. .38 Special Security...or .45 Caliber Security, either
    3. Dusk-to-Dawn Security
    4. Jeepers Peepers Investigations
    5. Take No Prisoners Patrol
    6. Eye-Spye Detectives
    7. The Night Riders

    ...or some of the other positively juvenile names for companies that you can find out there. Oh, and lose the theme song from Gunsmoke, Dragnet, Mission Impossible or Law & Order, too, as well as any "flashing lights", "rotating badge", etc. intro.

    As a second step, avoid the use of any "inside baseball" type of security/detective lingo from your website. Some websites are written in such a style that you can just see Sam Spade talking out of the side of his mouth, cigarette hanging down, shoulder holster and all. Chances are, unless the client happens to be looking for the Maltese Falcon, they won't call this guy.

    As a third step, either keep your website simple and straightforward, consisting of a few pages clearly defining your company, its mission and services, or else if you want to get fancy hire someone who knows how fancy websites should work.

    Fourth, avoid "tough guy" graphics/pics, patrol cars with lights flashing, officers in full military garb sporting sniper rifles or cuffing some pathetic subject, or what-have-you. Why? Because that's not what clients want. What they are looking to purchase is an environment of security and peace - not one with SWAT teams running amok.

    Some of the websites I visit, the officers pictured are glaring at you out of the page, trying hard to look tough, but actually ending up looking simply comical, or else like some kind of a psychopath that I'd be afraid to have on my property. If your own officers aren't particularly photogenic (now...be honest!) don't use 'em in pictures on your website. And avoid graphics that other sites have used, too. I've run across the same pics (e.g., two guys alertly discussing something at a monitor console) more than once.

    Finally, those sites that claim they "do everything" (and there are sites that use that precise terminology or "we do it all") just make me laugh - and then cry. These sites usually sport long lists of things they can do ranging from alarm response to special events to stationary guards to strike services to zebra-mounted patrol. Really? Funny, checking one of the company databases such as Hoover's often shows that they've been in business for about 12 minutes and have 7 employees with annual sales of 16 cents.

    Well, being a professional myself I know exactly what it takes to "do it all", and what I'm looking at on these sites, they ain't got what it takes, or anything near that. Oh, they might be willing to sign any contract calling for any type of service, but that's hardly the same thing. My guess is that site visitors know this as well, and don't believe it any more than I do. They just quietly move on to a service that brags less... and does what they do better.

    You're better off doing one thing and doing it VERY well..and very carefully adding one new service at a time (if that is your growth strategy) while always maintaining the quality of what you already do.

    That's it for now! More later.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 10-26-2007, 02:53 PM.

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  • SecTrainer
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr. Security View Post
    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.
    This kind of service isn't usually sold by cold calls anyway, so you have no realistic expectations of making a sale just by walking in the door...you're just stopping by to make their acquaintance. It's an "awareness" call, not a "sales" call - little more than a brief social visit. If they happen to be in need of services at that very moment, they'll probably tell you.

    And, since you can hardly "fail" while you're making an "awareness call", there should be no reluctance about doing them. You're not worried about hearing "no" because you're not asking them to buy anything. What you want to leave them with is nothing more or less than that you seem to be a pleasant, competent person, (right or wrong, they'll assume your company is the same) and information about the services you offer.

    HINT: It's been sort of touched on here, but you can start with businesses that offer a service or product that you yourself can use in your own business. Studies have shown that many "B2B" or business-to-business relationships start off with the sales going one way, and end up with sales going the other way as well. There are lots of both obvious and subtle reasons this happens.

    One of these is that as a consumer of another company's products or services, you create something that is very powerful...i.e. a sense of "obligation to reciprocate" on the part of the other guy.

    Read almost any of the literature on persuasion and you'll discover that creating the "obligation to reciprocate" is extremely powerful, not only socially, but in business and other relationships as well. It amounts to an itch that must be scratched and it is a universal force that exerts tremendous influence between individuals, between organizations and even between nations. "Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours"..."one hand washes the other"..."tit for tat"...they all say the same thing. When someone helps us in some way, we feel the need to help them as well.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 10-26-2007, 02:34 AM.

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  • integrator97
    replied
    Good job man. After 10 years I still like to say "we're a non-profit. It's not that we're not for profit...."

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  • NRM_Oz
    replied
    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.

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  • Mr. Security
    replied
    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.

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  • NRM_Oz
    replied
    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.

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  • ACP01
    replied
    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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  • Mr. Security
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • NRM_Oz
    replied
    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.

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  • hrdickinson
    replied
    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!!

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  • integrator97
    replied
    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.

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