Four Predictions for Selling in the Security Industry

Four Predictions for Selling in the Security Industry
Electronic Security Association — June 26, 2024

The process of business-to-business buying and selling has changed more in the last 15 to 20 years than it did in the previous 500 years. Since the advent of the printing press until the common use of the Internet, customers have received information from salespeople. However, for the last 15 – 20 years, customers have been researching, designing, and price-checking online. Irresistible search engines and social media have made it easy, quick, and free to access a plethora of information. Whether the information is inferior to the information a salesperson delivers has become irrelevant.  

This one change – the primary source of information coming from technology rather than salespeople – has disrupted the craft of selling. The fundamentals might be the same, but the details of execution are different.  

And the changes are continuing. For salespeople willing to adapt, the ceiling is limitless. For those set in their ways, the floor might not be as kind as it’s been in the past.  

How can salespeople prepare? Below are four predictions of selling in the security industry in the next several years. Within each prediction are thoughts for adapting to and succeeding because of each change. 


1.Nobody will prospect. If one didn’t prospect 20 years ago, they’d fail within a few months. Today, prospecting doesn’t matter for average performers – they’ll continue to be average if they don’t make those calls, send those emails or knock on those doors. However, they won’t be great.  

As more Generation Z salespeople replace Baby Boomer and Generation X salespeople, prospecting will continue to decrease until a very small percentage of sales professionals will make any calls. More than 95% of outbound touches will be performed by marketing departments and automated software products. And this is exactly why you should prospect in the future, but to succeed, it must be done differently.  

Thoughts to consider:  

  • Since very few people will be making in-person outbound calls and visits, customers will not be as quick to turn away cold calls. Ideas like mailing personal letters and stopping by with content will become acceptable.  
  • The goals of prospecting must change. The primary goals are no longer about scheduling appointments or closing sales. Today and moving forward, the primary goals of prospecting should be about becoming perceived as a subject matter expert and gathering information about the account. By gathering information, content can become more customized on the next call, which will lead to a deeper perception of expertise. This level of expertise will encourage the customers to call you before doing their online research. 


2. Interpersonal skills will be terrible. I’m not one to complain about today being worse than yesterday. I love progress and believe that we live in a much better world than we did when I was younger. However, if there is one thing that has declined drastically, it’s interpersonal skills. And this decline will continue into the next several years.  

Thoughts to consider: 

  • Simple gestures like remembering milestones and writing thank you letters were standard when I started my sales career. Everyone did them. Today, virtually no one performs these acts, which will make something like a simple thank you letter differentiate you from everyone else.  
  • Create a list of three interpersonal skills that you can improve upon and develop a plan to work on them. Some examples might be remembering names, punctuality, asking questions, listening, etc.


3. Artificial Intelligence will replace some sales jobs and will provide others with more opportunities to succeed. I heard a speaker recently state: “You won’t lose your job to AI, but you might lose your job to someone else who knows AI.” While I think that perspective is responsible and, for the most part, correct, I also believe that many simple sales roles are vulnerable to being eliminated by AI.  

Conversely, selling complex solutions into complex environments will provide an opportunity for salespeople to be more successful than they’ve ever been.  

Thoughts to consider: 

  • Learn basic AI tools to become more efficient. Some basic tools like ChatGPT and Copilot can provide content for emails, presentation decks, and LinkedIn posts, saving hours per week. I am not suggesting blindly using these templates but allow the tools to get you started and then tailor the final piece. 
  • Differentiate yourself by not being artificial. Everyone has noticed an overwhelming number of emails that have been generated by AI dropping into our inboxes. While these emails are annoying, they are creating an elevated value in authentic communication. Your personal touch will go much further in the future than it did a few years ago. 
  • You can’t be authentic to everyone, so target the right accounts and prospects. Create a finite list of accounts. Get deep into these accounts. Let your competition stay shallow by sending untailored messages to their thousands of prospects. 


4. Great salespeople will be good marketers. As customers continue to use technology to gather information, they will be even more resistant to meeting with salespeople. To get an audience with potential customers, salespeople will have to create an attractive brand for themselves. Customers will not meet with salespeople unless they’re well-known as being subject matter experts. If a salesperson is not a well-known SME, they’ll be relegated to competing on price later in the process. 

Thoughts to consider: 

  • Focus on one or a few vertical markets. As security technology evolves, customers are becoming more interested in a salesperson’s knowledge of their specific industry than their knowledge of access control or video. It’s impossible to become known as an expert in many markets, so focus on one or a few that you are selling. 
  • Speak at as many industry events as possible. There is no other act that presents an image of expertise than speaking in public.  
  • Use social media to teach your audience, not to promote yourself. Consequently, you’ll be promoting yourself in the right way. 

In conclusion, there are some threats in our future, but for those willing to adapt and devote time to becoming better at their craft, there are vastly more opportunities.