Turn to New Profits

Dealers, integrators can turn to security entrances for more money

As a security integrator, you’re used to having a predictable revenue model selling security hardware and software to end users. Your portfolio likely contains products such as door hardware, access control systems, card access readers and software, video surveillance cameras, VMS software, and many other technologies to help your customers deploy a complete security solution.

While selling these technologies may provide a predictable, recurring revenue opportunity, take a moment to think about the volume that you need to sell to meet, let alone exceed, your sales targets. If you’re looking to sell millions of dollars in security products, your team needs to work overtime to get the margins your CEO demands.

This is especially true in today’s competitive environment where manufacturers are too often locked in a race to the bottom with respect to pricing. Cameras and card readers sell for just a few hundred dollars and competition continues to push that figure ever lower. This is a new and frustrating reality for the integrator community. With decreasing profit margins, account managers face increasing pressure to sell higher volumes than ever before. Aren’t there alternatives to this challenging future?


Security entrances are often overlooked by security integrators as an access control solution despite their ability to solve the multiple risks presented by unauthorized entry—theft of property or data, workplace violence, bad PR, to name just a few—while simultaneously offering end-users a greater ROI from such a purchase. Security entrances help businesses control who can enter and exit a building, and they decrease the threat of tailgating, which has become a top security challenge as recognized by the C-Suite. The market for security entrances is also growing with the same vigor as the overall security industry. According to the IHS 2015 survey

“The Market for Pedestrian Entrance Control Equipment,” the total market size in the Americas for all types of security entrance products (from 3-arm turnstiles to security revolving doors and mantrap portals) grew from $123 million in 2012 to $159 million in 2014, or an average of 14 percent per year. The report predicts the entrance market will continue such strong grow into the early 2020’s. The good news is that unlike cameras and card readers, the margins on security entrances continue to be healthy and stable.

Selling security entrances provides the opportunity for integrators to build a strong relationship with customers and produce additional new revenue in the future. By asking the right questions and understanding exactly the solution required, account managers can potentially sell hundreds of thousands of dollars in product to a single, existing client by leveraging their current “trusted advisor” relationship.


One of the biggest obstacles we see today is that most integrators aren’t familiar enough about security entrances and the positive impact they can provide to the customer. Hence, they are unable to ask the right questions to power good, meaningful discussions. The best sales process for the integrator begins by first gaining a solid understanding about the different types of security entrances and their effectiveness related to tailgating mitigation. The significant difference in performance is measured in terms of tailgating prevention, upfront costs, annual expenditures, managing throughput, available metrics, guard force reduction, ROI and other important factors.

Once you’re acquainted with the impacts of the different types of security entrances, you can effectively identify the end user’s pain points rather than bringing a preconceived notion of what they might need. Even when end users know they need some type of security entrance, they may not be familiar with the different types of products available, and they won’t accurately communicate their needs. Everyone uses the word “turnstile,” but turnstile means many different things—that’s where you come in.

Asking the right questions can “disrupt” all assumptions and get the customer thinking about what they truly want to accomplish. These questions enable you and your sales force to find the best solution for the customer and, in the end, maximize your revenues.

After accomplishing a thorough discovery, account managers should get a clearer picture of the end user’s application by asking for a walkthrough at the project site. Think of this as an opportunity to see and evaluate what type of security is currently at each entrance. Is it manned by a security guard or is there a card reader? Are they trying to measure tailgating occurrences? Do they currently have a security entrance? How is it performing alongside any needed staff and technology in terms of reducing risk of penetration? These are all crucial questions to ask that help you form a recommendation that results in the right solution for the end user.


What might such a recommendation look like? You begin by integrating the access control system with five or six optical turnstiles to provide a physical barrier at a manned entrance. Perhaps you discover there is a data center or sensitive area that only a few people need access to and it currently has only a swinging door—you recommend an unmanned security mantrap portal to prevent any chance of tailgating. Another possibility could be employee parking garages leading directly into side entrances of buildings where several security revolving doors can take the place of security guards.

If your account representative were to successfully make the entire sale described above, it would result in a minimum of $400,000 in revenue. When you consider how many surveillance cameras you need to sell to match that amount, security entrances are certainly worth considering, especially given their potential in long-term ROI for the end user, deepening your end user relationships, and gaining future business.

We typically see end users increasing the number of entrances they purchase as their security needs change and grow. There are several reasons for this, but usually the customer will bring up new security pain points they have at other buildings once they see how their first security entrance project is functioning. This creates an opportunity to show them how they can secure other locations, which can lead to multiple sales over many years.

By establishing solid, pro-active relationships with new and existing customers, integrators have enormous upsell potential to increase revenue without the need to expand to new prospects. A key decision remains before getting into this business: do you rely on the manufacturer to provide installation and service on the products, or invest in technical training and get your own staff certified to grow the business? Both methods can be successful strategies provided you partner with an innovative, proactive manufacturer that can provide a true partnership for your future growth.

For all the reasons stated above, integrating security entrances into your business model will help you more easily meet your sales targets, while building additional trust relationships, keeping your customers happy, and increasing your profit margins.


This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Security Today.

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