Keep it consistent

Some years back, well after BPI was extablished and doing well, we were consistently subcontracting under Vance.  Vance clients knew that most of the work done by Vance was subcontracted to Vance’s service providers.  The trust and respect that goes along with allowing another company or specialist represent you front and center with your client is huge.  In doing so there is an unwritten rule that must be adhered to on the detail.

Whomever is on the detail must, should and shall represent themselves as working for the prime.  What that means is that if you own the company named ABC Protection and I sub you to do a detail for client DEF, when you are on site you can NOT represent ABC Protection in any way.  You always indicate that you work for BPI Security.  That also means you can not hand out business cards with ABC Protection on it or any other materials that confuse the situation.  At one point I was introduced to most of the Vance east coast and local clients as their field manager.  What they did to authenticate that was had Vance business cards made with my name and title on it.  So when I met with clients or went to details to further client relations I handed out Vance cards.  I made it clear to all of my specialists that they should, under no circumstances, relay that they are working for BPI Security.

One of the many things aspiring and established specialists do is have cards made.  If you fall under the category I spoke about last week, whereby you form a catchy name and fly under that name unregistered, keep those cards in your pocket.  Save those for the Friday evening happy hours to impress your friends, but NEVER hand them out to a client you plan to engage or to a client in which you are subbing under.  There is a non-compete factor that is associated with this that I won’t broach in this but it is an underlying reason for not handing them out.

The suggestion I have to those of you that feel you have to have business cards, have them made with your name, cell number and the title protection specialist on it.  That is, if you are a protection specialist.  If you haven’t gone through training putting that on your card is falsely representing yourself.  Note: many jurisdictions articulate what has to be on a protection specialist’s business card.  Handing out a card that does not meet those requirements could lead to sanctions.  To be honest, a clean card with your name, number and email address on it is sufficient to begin with and the plain appearance has a mystique to it.  What you don’t want to do is have those cards that we have all seen, that are glossy in appearance and look like a cardboard version of a picture.  Pick out a nice linen stock a standard business font and run with it.

I have to agree with the premise that it is unprofessional when someone asks for your number to ask for a piece of paper and pen to write it down, however I do realize that there is a cost associated with having cards made.  My suggestion is that you at least wait until you can get a good set made.

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