Most people talk about the need to protect against concerns instead of asking for security, says columnist Michael Santarcangelo. (scyther5/iStock via Getty Images)

When we say “cyber,” people hear “spider” and want to kill it, preferably with fire. Just because people realize that, like spiders, cybersecurity is helpful doesn’t mean they understand security or want to be around it. Most people still look to avoid security.

Think about it: Does anyone in your organization buy security?

We seek connection with the business, which means people actively coming to us with their problems, asking for our help. Once you accept and embrace sales as the key to success in security, you see the need to shift away from selling cyber and security.

Our role is to help people make better decisions in their context.

Maybe you’ve come across the adage that people buy the hole, not the drill. It’s a reminder to focus on benefits over features. Better is understanding why someone wants the hole.

Applied, this suggests that people buy protection — not security. We can help people make better decisions by figuring out what they need to protect and why.

We’re experiencing a positive shift in the way we buy and sell solutions in the security industry with “more sizzle and less steakhouse.” Relationships still matter, but folks are focusing faster on the problems we need to solve and how to do it.

That signals an opportunity for how we sell security inside our organizations, but only if we take action to move beyond quoting adages and slick slogans.

Ready to try it?

Start by asking: “What problem are you trying to solve?”

Resist the urge to accept the first answer and move on. Stay with the conversation until you understand the challenge and can describe the successful outcome. When they agree, you’re on the right path.

Listen to their language, paying attention to their words when they talk about security. Most people talk about the need to protect against concerns instead of asking for security. Learning from and matching their language builds their confidence in our ability to help them.

Once you understand the problem to solve, sell them the outcome they want — just don’t call it security or cyber.

That’s how we connect security with the business.