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Matching Security to the Business Model – The Security Advisor by Adam Taylor

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The following is an exclusive excerpt from the new book by Adam Taylor, “The Security Advisor,” available now.

You know your client, but you also know that you’re going to have to integrate your security solutions into the client’s organization and its business model. This can only be done if you understand what the organization’s strategic plan is. 

Taking that strategic plan to the next step and integrating it into the business model of the organization seems complicated, but it really isn’t. You already know how to quantify risks, know how to communicate your relevant points, and now it’s time to tie it back to your strategic plan.  

But to have that confidence and client respect, some things are non-negotiable. This starts with your approach and the degree to which you apply your knowledge of the client’s business and life. 

I can tell you with absolute certainty that clients expect that. They expect you to understand who they are, what they do, and what they need to do.  

Let me explain.  

If you are a Security Advisor to a large or medium-sized business, you are expected to have a baseline knowledge of what that company does. 

Conduct your research and prepare. If it’s oil and gas, where does your client have work? Are they a driller, producer, or developer? Do they work in chemicals or plastics? Is the client working on being the number one LNG producer in the world? If so, why is that important? 

If you don’t understand why your client is building an LNG terminal in a far-flung war zone, then you won’t get the bigger picture. And grasping the bigger picture is what your client surely cares about. It’s important to demonstrate your client knowledge upfront to gain access and remain there.  

If you are advising on security to smaller firms, research the client business, but don’t spend a lot of time learning about one another. 

The smaller companies don’t expect that and often don’t have the personal time or space to reciprocate. Leaders at smaller firms are especially overburdened and wear many hats. They are focused on a breach, access to new markets, and product deliverables. They have a lot of competition and need you to help them get the job done. 

With that said, even the smaller firms expect you to have some knowledge of their product, service, and deliverables. They will also expect you to understand their marketplace. Believe me. This is exactly what the leaders of those firms expect. It’s what they think about, day and night.  

If you’re providing security to individuals, you need to understand other people just like them. 

For example, an investment banker in need of your service may have a different set of concerns than a high-profile celebrity in need of protection. Your personal pitch to them and management of the security plan is crucial.

business model  

Establish Credibility 

To retain access to your client it is imperative to establish credibility upfront. A Security Advisor must present himself in a way that cannot be ignored. Anything less than that and you will run the risk of getting passed up. 

You can build this client’s attentiveness through a multitude of methods, but you will need to do some combination of the following actions to ensure success.

Reference Referrals

Gain referrals from people who know the client or have worked successfully with the client in the past. If this is possible, the reference of referrals goes a long way in bridging access. Relationships matter

Principals who have had a productive relationship with their protectors in the past, know and have a baseline understanding of what you do. They know they aren’t the expert; you are. But if you can reference referrals from professional contacts, or, if a previous client of a similar character can be the referral, you’re halfway there in solidifying professional credibility.  

Don’t Hide Your Investment in Client Research

Demonstrate to the client how you understand their business, their demands, and industry-specific goals. This shows that you have awareness and have done your research prior to meeting them. It also shows that you are curious about the things that matter to them.  

Mention Recent Security Events

Doing so solidifies to the client you understand the security landscape that is unique to them. These are “trigger events” that serve as catalysts for change. Start with personal security events if you can discern them and then bridge into broader industry-specific events. 

  • Personal events: This could be an event within the client’s personal world like an active shooter or even an insurgency overseas that has impacted their project. 
  • Industry events: This could be an event that is broader, and more industry-specific: Public threats against tech company executives are on the rise, or ______________ firms have been unable to work within ____________ country due to instability and security… “But here is how I can help.”  

Your client will often be the biggest pushback when it comes to placing a security objective to the organization’s business model. 

But don’t stress just yet because it’s easy to integrate security when you identify how integrated security directly impacts the level of risk the organization is facing. 

When you present your security plans, you have the perfect opportunity to show risk reduction across the organization by showing that your services positively affect your client and organizational market share.  

When you’re formulating your plan to integrate it into the business model, keep looping back to tie it into the value you bring to the organization. What potential is there for loss, what is the impact on the bottom line? What are the risks to employees?  

In almost all situations, you can typically identify both positive and inherently negative risks. Negative risks can be avoided, mitigated, and avoided again, but positive risks need to be seen as opportunities for your client and the organization

These positive risks can include increased international travel or more public appearance. Regardless, when navigated successfully, they increase profit share, and positive risks speak to your client’s own needs to work the bottom line. 

As you speak to this need and execute the plan, play to a limited time frame, and use your time wisely. Because as you continue to speak from a place of authority and implement strategies from a business, not a security perspective, you will answer the questions your client cares most about, and in turn, they will understand the importance of your plans.  

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