A recent ESA
poll asked, “What do you think is the biggest challenge the electronic security and life safety industry faces today?”
The results, unsurprisingly, in my opinion, were:
- Workforce Shortages 48%
- False Dispatches 9%
- Supply Chain Issues 27%
- Inflation Costs 16%
To be fair, there were only 56 votes, although I suspect the results would be similar with a larger pool. Our industry has been suffering a shortage of technicians for many years. Although now we see workforce shortages across the board.
I work with security industry sales leaders and their teams and I see this critical shortage daily. A lack of technicians is terrible. A lack of salespeople means those technicians would not have work. Consequently, security sales positions are increasingly filled by people new to the industry and, very often, entirely new to sales.
Workforce Shortages Force Companies to Hire the Inexperienced
When companies hire inexperienced salespeople, they must find ways to make the situation work quickly. Few security dealers can afford to support sales reps who are not producing; even an experienced sales rep needs some time to fill their pipeline and generate steady sales.
Our industry has been working hard to create technical training opportunities for all, but most salespeople are trained by the company for whom they work. They are taught what systems and products their company offers, how to design a system for each area they serve (intrusion, fire, video, etc.), and what bidding software or spreadsheets are used to create proposals. In most companies, this is handled by the sales leader with assistance from additional employees, including other sales reps, taking them away from their own sales.
Even with all the necessary training, no one is being taught essential selling skills
, whether they are new or experienced reps. Instead, many are trained to sell packages to their customers, regardless of what may best serve the customer’s needs, so the dealer can get their reps in the field and turn in contracts quickly.
QuickStart New Employees with Proven Training Programs
We do a disservice to our customers and our sales reps when we fail to provide them with the skills necessary to do their job and support the customer properly. I urge dealers to include selling skills as a part of the training process. Training doesn’t have to be provided in-house, nor does it need to happen in the first two months of hire, but once system product and design training are complete, make sure your sales reps are professional salespeople, not order takers. You will see the difference in your bottom line, the satisfaction of your customers, the self-confidence of your sales team members, and their longevity in employment with you.
See Audrey Pierson – Security Sales Master Course