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  • Getting Started

    It’s time for me to get cracking. I have the skills, the training, the experience and the licence. I have my business model, my fee schedule and some of the best men and women you could wish for on my ‘on-call’ EP team. What I don’t have are clients.

    Can the wise heads in the forum give me some tips on how to get my EP business out there, get in front of potential clients and close the deal? Any and all advice, tips, lessons and referrals much appreciated.

  • #2
    I would contact other EP companies from outside your immediate area of service, for one thing, and offer to subcontract with them when they need services in your area (and vice versa, of course). It can be a lot less trouble for them to hand off to you, with your expertise in your geographic service area and its terrain, roads, emergency services, etc., than to try to provide protection in an area with which they are not familiar. Or, you could "embed" one of your EPAs into their team to provide the local expertise while the protectee is visiting your area.

    Second, of course, I would create very sophisticated, no-hype marketing materials to be sent to executives in your area. Emphasize your understanding of the need for discretion and maintaining an unobtrusive, low profile. Also, emphasize the service aspects. Downplay the military, SWAT type crap.

    Third, I would market to security managers in your area. They are often charged with protecting the executives of the companies they work for but do not have the resources or training to do so. Here, emphasize rapid availability, reasonable cost, expertise, and the benefit to the SM of being relieved of a task he is probably not equipped to handle.

    Ditto, security consultants.

    Fourth, I would market to attorneys, concentrating on those who specialize in taxes, estate planning and corporate law. They themselves might be clients, of course, but more importantly, they frequently rub shoulders with business execs and celebs and are sometimes asked who to recommend.

    Fifth, market to private investigative firms, who are often asked for such services but either do not have the manpower or are not equipped to provide them.

    Sixth, attend every professional conference possible. Think about some that might not be directly pertinent to EP, such as a conference on building fire systems. Not only will these widen your knowledge base, all conferences provide at least some opportunity for personal networking.

    Seventh, look for announcements in the movie and entertainment trade press regarding movie shoots, concerts, etc., that might be coming to your area. Hopefully, there will be mention of the studio, organizers, etc. Shoot them your material.

    Eighth, develop a list of business and charity event planners, and market to them.

    SUGGESTION #1: Have you thought about developing some female EPAs and providing services to the wives, girlfriends, children of executives? Do that, and you'll have a reason to market those services directly to executives themselves. They will generally feel better about entrusting their females to an EP team that includes at least one female.

    SUGGESTION #2: You really MUST have a highly sophisticated appearing Website. Nate Corbier on this board can help you with this bigtime and specializes in such sites. It doesn't have to be a complicated or large site - perhaps five or six main pages. On this Web site, we should see no badges, guns or characatures of men talking into their sleeves. The "about us" section should have more to do with your education and training in business than about your military experience. It should emphasize your intel and planning skills rather than your ability to shinny up a rope with an assault rifle between your teeth.

    One thing that I would mention ONCE, and very low in your list of assets, is emergency medical training. We know how important this is, but think about what it conjures up in the mind of your prospects. Your customers aren't hiring you so that they can be saved in the event that you fail to keep them from getting shot. It's like a safe-driving school advertising that they have a 24-hour fleet of wreckers available.

    SUGGESTION #3: Once you have your Web presence, you can make use of services like Adsense (Google) and SEO methods (search engine optimization) to raise the prominence of your site.

    SUGGESTION #4: Again, once you have a Web presence, make sure one thing you include is a library of relevant articles and a blog that are relevant to your business. Note that "relevance" is relative (no pun intended). In other words, every article or blog entry does not have to pertain DIRECTLY to EP. As a very simple example, you might write an article telling people how to put together an emergency kit for their home or car, or what they can do in different kinds of emergencies. I'd also think about an RSS feed showing current weather and road conditions in your area, and a calendar of major events in the area. The message there is subtle, but won't be lost on viewers and will also draw visitors to your site.

    Hope this gives you some ideas!
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 12-10-2007, 03:15 AM.
    "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


    • #3
      Drew - best of luck - it could take you 100 calls to get a maybe from just 1. For me it happened to be a prominent gay party event (no I was not dancing) that opened up the doors with an exclusive business and event work for many private functions and corporate deals). All because I treated 1 group as human beings (their money was the same as mine) and I was treated very well with buffet dinners and repeat offers for work.

      Be prepared to have bread-and-butter work as no EP work is full time - it may be a serious of contracts but 99% is not a guaranteed income. People are going to go for the cheapest and then ask why they should pay you more ? They are going to see EP as glorified gorillas in suits when they can get 10 security guards for the price of 3 EP agents (just theorising here). I would be research every industry in your area.

      Another tip - hit them for AGM's where upset shareholders will voice their displeasure at issues - think of Exxon ......... and say no more. I started there and had a day contract for the CEO of 1 manufacturing firm who led us to other smaller contracts for his guest speaking roles. Enjoy the bumpy ride
      "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


      • #4

        SecTrainer and NRM. Thanks for the prompt and comprehensive advice. All great ideas and some of which I'm already working on so great to get confirmation.


        • #5
          This will be the main thread about this. I have closed a few others with no replies.

          As to websites: Hi! As SecTrainer said, EP firm websites (Especially in a Commonwealth Country) should not look like the American Military or Secret Service has invaded AussieLand.

          Its a caricature of the industry, and those "in the know" will go, "Sweet! More marketing material from clueless people!" Then laugh at it, and throw it away. Actually, they won't throw it away. They'll show it to their trusted friend who is their primary EP/PI or security services provider.

          Of the various firms I consult for, all of them have a stack of marketing material that their clients have given them, warning them that "this other guard firm showed up here today." That's loyalty, right there, folks.

          As to marketing material: We do provide complete brand management and marketing packages, building off each other. I do believe my printer ships to Australia. (hint hint)

          There is nothing weirder than getting a flyer, a post card, or a business card that looks one way, then going to a website that looks completely different. Are you on the right website? What happened? Amateurs.

          Another big thing I would recommend is getting on the list of sub-contractors who do not have a presence in your area. National firms need people everywhere, and its cost-effective to hire you than to hire a full time employee who rarely 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


          • #6
            Here's a previous thread on this topic which may help you:
            Discussions of guard services business management, from liability to employee relations, contracts, client relations and more...

            Also. here's a link to a group of individuals who may be able to help you. Even though you are not a member, I think you will find them to be very willing to talk to you and help.
            Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
            Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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


            • #7
              This is where marketing helps: I graduated from Executive Security International in 95. Most of the work I do is uniformed because it's a tuff industry to get in. EP is only a very small portion of the security industry, few people can afford large details or even want to pay for a lone agent. It's all about net working.

              "Security is the last to come and the first to go"$$$$$


              • #8
                When I set up my firm in 1998 (still keep it running on the side) I decided - NO SECURITY GUARD JOBS as there was no use chasing $2.90 / hr profit jobs to compete with some firms when I could find top tier jobs and make it $29.00 / hr profit for uniform work (long story but basically I employed only 15+ years veterans of active military service were utilised). Going back to my Economics days "the law of diminishing returns" refers to the bigger the input (more staff) the lower the return and this happens with companies with 1,000 staff as their are more chances of screw ups.

                Yes a web site and professional name is going to scream (this person is serious) as is walking in and speaking with potential clients in simple language (some people speak as if they are briefing the pentagon) so the client understands WHY you can be of great service to them. NO HOTMAIL or FREE email accounts (think about it) and if you have a slick marketing pack - use it to your advantage with a professionalism all the way.

                Lastly your presentation helps alot. Invest in your interview suit (I would suggest minimum $500.00 US on a quality suit that is tailored for YOU) as the client's contract could be worth 7 figures and on every visit you need to look sharp as you reflect on their business.
                "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu