Be an expert of your city

The Problem:

Most security professionals are not subject matter experts in the city they work in. Aside from the normal book answers of knowing multiple routes to and from locations A,B,C ect and knowing where the local hospitals are located most do not give much thought to being an expert in their city.

Being knowledgeable isn’t an added value, it should be what Security Professional strives to be. As a Professional you should always be able to identify at a minimum 3 locations for the following:

We all have access to Google, smart phone apps and other search tools at our finger tips, but if a clients asks you for a recommendation it gives a poor impression if your first response is “I don’t know but let me look that up for you” As a Professional that is a back up response and should not be the first response that you give.

When becoming knowledgeable about your city it is important to understand that places that you might dine at, shop at or activities you may do are probably not going to be the same as your client.

When becoming knowledgeable about your city it is important to understand that places that you might dine at, shop at or activities you may do are probably not going to be the same as your client.

When a client asks for a recommendation for a restaurant they most likely do not want to dine at the local Red Lobster or Steak Corral. It is always important to know of a few popular and award winning restaurants in your area. Become familiar with well know chiefs, and food awards such as the Michelin Star and the James Beard Award. By doing some modest research based on awards and chef names you can find restaurants in your area that meet the high expectations that your client may have. When being asked for a recommendation you can also add that the restaurant was an award winner, this will demonstrate your dedication to knowledge and excellence.

Most Security Professionals I know do not shop at Louis Vuitton, Prada or any other of the number of high-end boutiques such as these on a regular basis. These shops are however where 99% of the time exactly what your client would be looking for. Become familiar with high-end brand names and that will help you find those shopping locations that you would want to recommend to your clients.

When it comes to activities this can range from Broadway shows, nightclubs, cigar bars, or any other activity you could imagine. Applying the same understanding that we do for dining and shopping it should be easy to identify a few activities in your city. Every city is different and unique so try to focus on what is special in your city.

The Situation and the Solution:

When I first opened my security company in 2009, I had just moved to Las Vegas from Southern California. I thought I knew the Las Vegas however I quickly realized I did not know as much as I thought.

In order to become an expert in my city I did as much research as I could via the internet, and tourist guides however the best thing I could do was get my suit on advance locations one at a time.

I told each venue that I had a client coming into town and I was advancing their venue as a possible location that they may visit. By doing this I got their full attention and full support answering all my questions and even giving me more information then I didn’t know to ask about. While working with the local venue management I was able to visit and view restaurants, hotel rooms suits, various shows, and nightclubs.

I also identified key areas for high-end boutiques and became an expert of the locations of specific brands. As an example a client said she wanted to go to Hermes to purchase a handbag. Without looking anything up, I was able to tell her exactly where 2 different Hermes boutiques where located and gave her the option of which one to visit.

The Outcome:

This process cost me nothing other then my own personal time, which I considered to be an investment for the future. This is an ongoing process because events, venue management, styles, and fads always change, what you visit today might not be the same in 1 year or even in 30 days.

Because I knew I needed to identify key locations I have been able to successfully make valued recommendations to my clients, many of whom I continue to do business with today.

Key Points and Lessons Learned:

  1. Identify 3 recommendations for Dining, Shopping and Activities that you can recommend immediately upon request
  2. Advancing locations prior to visits helps build relationships with the venue.