LP Magazine

MAR-APR 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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discussing, how are you (the solution provider) going to help me (the LP customer) directly influence the top and/or bottom line of my P&L? With my company, this is done through regular reporting and continuously analyzed feedback. But it doesn't even have to be that complex. More and more, the LP customer just needs the ability to quantify and demonstrate how they helped to put a specific dollar amount, basis point, or other measurable back to the P&L. TUTTLE: The greatest value a provider can offer is to deliver security without compromise to design, operational efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Loss prevention shouldn't inhibit white-glove service. That's a major draw for our company and the products we provide. We offer a solution that speeds up authorized access while securing the products we protect, accomplishing all this without altering the design of the fixtures or the products being secured. Put another way, our solutions should protect the merchandise, save time, and reduce hassle that can impact the customer experience. BLAKE: It's hard for anyone to keep up-to-date with every aspect of our rapidly changing environment. Solution providers bring a wealth of information and as such can be a trusted source of information and advice. As experts in their specific field, they can help the retailer understand new technology and processes. Since many solution providers have added former loss prevention practitioners to their teams, their real-world experience coupled with their product knowledge can offer fresh perspectives to the retailer. I take great pride in the fact that our team is repeatedly approached by retailers for our opinion or insight on projects they're working on, even where there's no direct relationship to our products and services. What do you feel is the most common mistake that solution providers make when dealing with their customers? TUTTLE: Too often providers make the critical mistake of not listening to their customers. Every solution provider owes it to their customers to pay attention to his or her needs and respond accordingly, working together to design and implement the best and most effective solutions in ways that are meaningful and productive. This adds real value to both the customer and the solution provider and defines the meaning of true partnership. BLAKE: Without a doubt, it's failing to listen—both to what the customer is actually saying and to how they're saying it. When you walk into a meeting, positive that you already know what the retailer needs, you often fail to hear anything that is counter to your beliefs. When you have your own agenda that you're determined to get through, you blind yourself to signs that the customer has tuned you out. In both cases, the customer feels that they're being talked at, not collaborated with. There's no partnership. You've lost the opportunity to understand what the customer needs from you. Failing to listen to complaints can be even worse. It can be simple to fix an issue and even feel like you're the hero. But if you don't listen and try to understand the underlying cause, the relationship is at jeopardy. CUSTER: I think that fear of challenging the status-quo or traditional loss prevention values has somewhat impeded our industry's evolution for years. I have interacted with many solution providers that would rather downgrade or limit the potential of their offerings in order to appease customers that may sometimes seem to be very set in their ways. As this is being read, every solution provider sales team is probably yelling at me: "That's called making a sale. You give the customer what they want!" And of course, this is correct, in theory. But I feel it's also contingent upon solution providers to provide some thought leadership on where a customer might make some adjustments and not be afraid to share that with our LP partners—when appropriate. After all, we typically have access to the latest, greatest technological gadgets, and we arguably have more interaction with other retailers, LP teams, and vendors, to learn and share how others are evolving and adapting. So why not offer new insight or politely challenge aging methodologies? What qualities do you feel are the most important to look for in an individual when looking to build your sales team? BLAKE: Establishing partnerships with our customers has always been the primary focus of our business model. In fact, one of our corporate operating priorities for 2018 is customer intimacy—getting close to our customers through dialogue and interaction, listening to what they have to say, and learning how we can improve. I look for individuals who can directly contribute to this dynamic. We look for team members who can build relationships, not solely focus on the transactional side of sales. Experience working in or with retail is critical but not limited to just the loss prevention vertical since our loss prevention customers interact with all aspects of the business. It's important that our sales team is adding value, so the individual needs the ability to look at the big picture and provide industry insight. CUSTER: "Pleasant persistence" is always an excellent quality in a salesperson. That is the ability to stay on a lead without being overly annoying or coming off needy. But this is an obvious choice. I prefer to look for either real field LP or operations experience or, at the very least, a fundamental understanding of what it's like to work in the trenches of retail. This allows the salesperson to customize their message in order to demonstrate the practical application of our offerings to the potential client while staying empathetic to any roadblocks or pitfalls that that may be present. TUTTLE: I see three qualities as essential. A sales team must be informative, relatable, and approachable. Those three qualities are an unbeatable combination. continued from page 58 60 MARCH–APRIL 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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