Sales in the electronic security distribution industry

security camera on wall of office building, security system concept
security camera on wall of office building, security system concept

By Eckard Gerber, Sensor Security Systems

The security industry is one of the largest in the world. It is technologically driven and, at the same time, not completely dependent on the economy i.e. a better economy drives smarter products and solutions, while a slower economy promotes crime and demands at least the basic surveillance and control solutions. The demand is always there and the requirement will never disappear.

Eckard Gerber, Sensor Security Systems.

Besides the driving power of distributors, it has become essential for the security sales force to educate themselves on products, providing complete solutions, and most importantly, building sustainable relationships.

Sales success in our industry comes down to two factors, namely your organisational support and the individual sales consultant’s ability to form sustainable business relationships.

Organisational support

For a sales consultant to be successful in his/her personal capacity, they require the support and successful operations of the organisation. A poorly run business will almost definitely ruin the sales consultant’s reputation, thus negatively impacting the consultant’s future in the industry.

Some of the most important factors impacting an organisation’s success are:

Competitive pricing: Besides many important factors and abilities, price is still one of the key decision makers. It is of utmost importance for the organisation to perform adequate market research and apply the results to its strategies. Buying power, active negotiation and sound logistics form part of a company’s ability to provide competitive pricing.

Stock holding / availability: Having competitive pricing means nothing without a healthy and accurate stock holding. This forms part of a process that can make or break a company. The majority of security products are imported from all over the world with Asia and Europe being two of the larger contributors. Thus a key factor to the entire process is exchange rate driven and the rate of technological evolution. Having exactly the right stock at the right time and having enough of it proves to be a science on its own. This is a critical process that is key to the success of a company.

Investment and education of the organisational team: Success can only be obtained by employees educated adequately in their tasks; the entire business operation depends on it. Apart from the essential technical function, the sales team needs to be actively involved in constant product, feature, solution and marketing/sales training.

Currently we are experiencing product line evolution in periods as short as three months. To be competitive and successful you need to be completely up-to-date on products nearing their end-of-life and up-to-date on their replacements. Another very important part of a successful sales force that often gets overlooked is the support teams comprising administration and warehousing.

Individual sales consultant

Make it personal. It is up to you to gain the client’s interest, respect and ultimately a sustainable business relationship that serves both parties. Following a company’s or sales manager’s script is similar to selling ice-cream in the winter; the odds are one or two will buy from you because they wanted something and you were available by chance. You cannot fully express your belief, passion and confidence in your product or solution if you are not comfortably and confidently yourself.

The most important task of the sales consultant is to build sustainable relationships based on trust and respect.

Trust entails various aspects of business ranging from being able to advise on the absolute correct solutions to confidence in your after-sales support. For your client to gain trust in your ability, it is key to have above average product and requirement knowledge. Telling your client that you will get back to him on every other question asked is a great way to lose all your credibility. You should be the expert in your products.

Your client also requires a number of additional services, ranging from up-to-date product and sales training, telephonic and onsite sales and technical support to even assisting him/her closing a deal with the end user.

Respect for your client, irrespective of his monthly spend should always be your foundation during all aspects of the relationship. Sell confidence and respect in yourself rather than an ever changing product bound to price. Sell the service you can deliver to your client. The ability to communicate effectively to all people on all levels and instantly picking up on body language, positive or negative to keep the meeting/discussion/training effective and not to waste your client’s time are factors that set you apart from your competition.

Advice for interested students

The future of this industry is based on education, research and application. The majority of surveillance products are IP based and depending on the solution are becoming more and more dependent on advanced network infrastructure. All significant further developments are also only based on IP products. This offers a great industry opportunity for IT students studying networking or even software developers with the great demand for cross platform integration of VMS.

For more information contact Sensor Security Systems, +27 (0)11 314 9419,,

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