It’s easier to sell a person something he wants than to scare him into buying protection from something he wants to avoid. That’s particularly applicable when it comes to selling payments security.

With a constant stream of statistics highlighting the damages businesses face from data breaches and security incidents, it’s easy to fall into the trap of selling security from a purely defensive standpoint. However, if ISOs and vendors work together, they can boost their sales of security services through better strategy.

ISOs should sell security from a position of strength, instead of relying upon fear. Often, ISOs and vendors have played on customers’ fear of attack to persuade them to buy security products. That approach can be counterproductive as businesses are more likely to view security as a one-off purchase that solves all issues. Instead, customers should treat security as an ongoing process and commitment.

Security products frequently offer far more to a business than security alone. For example, many also offer network monitoring, administration facilities, connection failover and business compliance functions. Selling security as part of a larger IT package makes it easier to focus on the benefits — not just the fear-factor — of an ISO's offerings. It also promotes security as part of a managed service that creates a recurring revenue stream.

ISOs should use a vendor’s expertise to enhance their understanding of how products and services work. Too often, the relationship between vendor and ISO is short-lived. Once a sales agreement has been reached, communications can dwindle. However, vendors can offer ISOs in-depth knowledge and practical understanding of the product that their own sales force would take time to accumulate. That can make the difference between a converted sale and a lost sale.

Vendors are often willing to invest significant resources in passing on expertise to ISOs if it will lead to increased sales. Some provide training, staff development, consultation and marketing support to help with marketing and sales. Ultimately, ISOs who work closely with vendors have a better chance of successfully selling security products.

Taking a long-term, strategic approach to security reaps rewards. It takes time to acquire the knowledge and resources, which is why ISOs should invest now for long-term gain.

When ISOs take on a managed service it takes time to build and deploy the required infrastructure. It can take weeks or months to have the resource in place to deliver a satisfactory experience for end-users. The process can disrupt the end-user, so streamlining becomes a priority.

However, if ISOs develop relationships and are willing to invest resources, more often than not, vendors provide interim infrastructure and support while ISOs develop their own. That might add costs for ISOs in the short term, but long term it will enable them to offer better service.

If ISOs look to the long term, while promoting the whole package and all the business benefits it encompasses, they can sell security products effectively. By taking a positive, proactive approach ISOs, increase sales and develop long-term relationships.

Simon Gamble is co-founder and president, North America, of Mako Networks, a network management company that specializes in Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance.