When Reality is unrealistic

I am a huge proponent of the social media vehicle of launching your business brand, your name and your services.  I have also advised that if you are going to use the big 4, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube it is vital to stay relevant and connect with others in order to present yourself as qualified in the industry or as an expert.  In as much as social media can catapult you into the stratosphere amongst your peers, it can also be your downfall.  My social media presence has allowed me to do exactly what I intended.  I have connected with many professionals as well as aspiring individuals seeking guidance in this industry.  I have also been able to connect with other communities that I would have probably never been a blip on their radar.

One of the upsides of my presence is that many professionals who I have had some impact on their careers have brought attention to questionable behavior that I have blogged about.  Today one of them [I will leave anonymous] texted me a website to review and give my perspective.  I went to the company Site  and did a thorough review.  What I saw is 2 guys trying to make their mark in the industry.  From the tabs I can see that they are honestly trying to portray themselves as professionals.  I am not going to use today’s blog to ridicule nor degrade their efforts but it is an educational perspective how you should do certain things.

When you get to the page there is a tab “Top Notch Video.  When you click the tab you come to a page that has 2 pictures of the key personnel of the company; Mr. Palmer and Mr. Murray standing face to face displaying weapons.  Lesson 1, lose the guns especially when your site professes a non-confrontational perspective.  Under the “Understand” section in their Certification tab they say:

If you the client ever sees a confrontation, the bodyguard has failed his first responsibility.  It will be our responsibility to locate these problems first and get you as the client out of danger.  Very few individuals truly know what this means, and often think of the profession as one of physical skills: martial arts, weapons expertise, survival driving, etc.  That’s all great in the movies … but in real life that’s not the case.  Our number one skill is excellent observation skills, if our team members do not have that, then they need to be in another profession because they will be putting you as the client in harms way and that is not what a Protection Agent’s responsibility should be.”

Displaying weapons on your site is an aggressive posture, so lose the guns it contradicts your beliefs.  I then played the video the first Promo video of what they say is the Top Notch Reality show.  Rather than dissect the promo video second by second I will just make a blanket statement to encompass the entire 1:50 video.  Professional is what professional does.  Using urban vernacular will surely limit your client base it takes more energy and effort trying to explain what you didn’t mean than it does to say what you really meant the first time.  Once again, lose the weapons.

I gathered myself and after some thought I watched the second video that appears to be an Interview of an music industry artist named Fenom.  Before we get started I have to admit that I looked at this video from 2 perspectives. 1-as an actual client interview that he agreed to be taped and 2-a staged interview where all parties were scripted to paticipate.  That being said, there is much to be gleaned from either perspective.  Okay, let me start by saying this, ALWAYS remember the name of your potential client [see 00:45] when Murray hesitantly calls the client Mr. FReenom and not Feenom, causing the artist to shift in his chair. [yea I watch everything].

Mr. Feenom confirms Eric Konohia’s theory that many of the artists hire their friends which is a huge mistake on many levels.  For the sake of the video, this is good because they are “dealing” with an educated client from a certain level.  He recognizes he needs professionalism and his friends are not dependable.  Lesson: Educate the client once you know what the client knows or doesn’t know about protection.  Great job Mr. Feenom, or is it Freenom, but he pitched a beach ball over the plate for them with that one.   After Mr. Feenom finishes his part on the buddyguard Mr. Palmer loses me for a minute with the “Protocol”.  Lesson: Explain to the client that your specialist will handle themselves professionally and not engage into frivolous banter during the detail.  They are trained to deal with the task at hand not befriending the client.  Mr. Freenom explains that he is going to acknowledge the specialists and keep it moving.  Many clients do show their appreciation that way and that is fine. Lesson:Don’t allow yourself to get comfortable and come out of character.

Ahhh there it is, Mr. Feenom wants a cool atmosphere and doesn’t want people feeling tense when they come near him. Lesson: Your posture can ruin a client’s event quickly.  As my Dean of Pledges used to say and it still holds true in this craft, “Relax but don’t be LAX”.  At the 5 minute mark Mr. Palmer starts really talking the Craft and asks the client how he would feel being in a VIP room [basically a secured location] that the team has control over access rather than a static unsecured, uncontrollable location that Palmer calls “a tight spot. Lesson: When you have an opportunity to explain what we really do, do it.  Don’t gloss over terminology.  Explain to them slowly and carefully.  Good job here because Mr. Feenom says, “I don’t know security.”  Another beach ball that you can hit home by really explaining your wares.

At the 5:45 mark-terminology.  We advance the site, crooks “case” an area.  Lesson: Educate the client on what we do.  Use the right terminology.  Palmer explains the importance of placement and having egress options.  Good Job, however I would have taken the opportunity to delve into this a little more.  I am going to leave the entire exchange “if it’s a bullet” alone because there are other non lethal reasons that may cause you to move a client.  I will say this, the more you over emphasize vernacular like ride or die you tend to portray yourselves more negatively than professionally.  How about this, “Sir, if any situation dictates that we need to evacuate you, you can trust that your safety is the first of our concerns.”  That’s ride or die in corporate jargon.  No matter if he is a hip hop artist, he will get it too.

6:47 Mr Murray makes the cardinal mistake.  NEVER make promises that are NOT reasonable.  There are times when someone will approach your protectee to speak to them and it is unreasonable to say that they won’t or they can’t.  Lesson: In as much as possible you’d like to know of all meetings for the day or event but we all know that assistants will bend the rules of engagement.  When that happens you have to flow with it and MAKE it happen.  Bottom line.  Mr. Murray may have just lost this client when he tells Mr. Feenom that they are in and out with clubs.  The last time I checked, aren’t clubs a huge part of an artist getting out to his fans?  Maybe, I’m wrong but a few minutes ago your partner just said you would get him a VIP section and you contradicted him by saying “in and out”.  It sounds more like “ride and fly” and not ride or die.  Lesson: If Mr. Murray was trying to explain arrivals and departures and being static on the arrival/apron, he missed his opportunity to explain the craft.  At 7:26 Murray wrongly says that they go to the event 24 hours before to “Scout” out the event.  Ok, one of them Cases the joint and the other scouts it. Lesson:Use properly terminology and be consistent.  As a side note and inside joke here, we deal with this on a daily basis.  Mark has a dossier of MTMS terms, abbreviations and acronyms that he uses in the MTMS course that I have to explain.  As I write the blogs I introduce them consistent to the known industry terminology.

And at the 8:00 mark Mr, Freenom T’s up the beach ball for them and asks what separates them from anyone else.  Oh My God!  This is it, this is the time that I hope for because I can explain the difference between BPI Security and ANY company out there.  Mr. Murray decides to answer and uses security guards as his competitor.  There are security guards that have given their lives.  YIKES!  Where is this Oath?  Isn’t Executive Protection a part of the security industry?  Yes it is.  So, let me get this straight; anyone that has a halls and walls post on my detail is securing things and not part of the overall protective package?  Huh?  And at the 9:09 point Mr. Palmer’s facial expression says, “Let me help my man out here, cause we are sinking.”  He jumps in with authority and then loses me with “Ground” security.  You mean to tell me that I missed and issue of ASIS Security management magazine when they started a new security platform called “Ground security”.  I need to take a week off and get back in the books.  Mr Palmer speaks of the protocol and now I think he really means, if this happens we do this and there is a reason why- Thats what we refer to as Mindset.  You can not wargame every single scenario but regardless of the scenario, Mindset takes over to minimize it to least common denominator in order to respond.

What Mr. Murray says at the 10:51 point should have been what he said to the client when he had his audience.  Mr Feenom is either an educated client or he was prepped to say the right things because he lays it out in a nutshell, he wants proactive protection.  A team that can see that red behavior etc..  Ok, unless jargon has changed, “Bringing the noise” meant we are about to take matters on a physical level, yet you say you’re non confrontational. Lesson: De escalating a situation is not brining the noise, it is calming the noise.  The video basically ends with some rhymes to explain that they are exactly what Mr. Feenom is looking for.

Ok that is enough.  My review of this was not to ridicule Top Notch Personal Security, Mr. Palmer or Mr. Murray.  But this was a perfect opportunity to show that when you have that meeting with a client that you need to be READY, concise and cogent.   It is apparent that they are familiar with this client base and his needs.  If this is their market, that is fine, but there is still a manner in which that initial meet should be made regardless of whether it is with a music industry artist, Fortune 5 executive, or at risk individual [MTMS term ARI].  The other factor here is that you only have one time to make a first impression and I think these gentleman meant well but missed the opportuntiy to excel.  The other lesson is that social media is a double edged sword.  Remember that!

I am dedicated to helping anyone that wants help even if it mean putting them in touch with the right person.  Just last week I got an unsolicitated email from LinkedIn from a specialist that is traveling to a country in Europe that I linked up with a colleague that specializes in that specific region.  I blog from my soap box everyday not to tear down but to build up.

Mr. Murray and Mr. Palmer, I am here if you need any assistance.

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