Getting your client to listen

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Getting your client to listen

Protective service often boils down to identifying a danger and doing something about it, or, as has often been said “See something, tell someone, do something.” Can surveillance be detected? Can a threat be assessed or realized? When a risk is identified, it is then up to the operative to make the protectee aware of the risk, and of the need to take appropriate action. If the protectee will not listen, then what is the point of being there? If you are not listened to on one occasion, you will be ignored on other occasions, in reference to restaurants, cities, destinations, driving, schedules, drivers, personnel, inclement flying conditions, threat situations, and all else.

The difference between calling yourself a bodyguard and actually being an effective professional is whether you can persuade the client that something is wrong and to take appropriate action. Will you or can you say to a driver “You will NOT drive this car. Sir, I am NOT willing to let the driver handle this vehicle.” Will you or can you say to a driver “Slow down, or stop the car and I will drive.” Be aware the client may well say “Get out yourself, you’re fired.” If that be the case, then go, as you have outlived your usefulness.

Your main obligation as a protective agent is to assert yourself in a situation you believe to be a danger to the protectee. If a bodyguard is a former government agent or law enforcement agent with protective service experience, then they should have the confidence of that experience to navigate these treacherous interpersonal waters. For those who have not had protective service experience, or whose experience is a week’s course with a poorly chosen training company, and who cannot read the situation and assert themselves, the end result can be catastrophic. Think of the case of Princess Diana. How many cases are there of which we are not aware?

Can YOU say to a client? “Sir (or Ma’am), we are getting into a situation that is dangerous, and you need to stop and listen to me before we go any further. I am tasked with the prevention of serious injury and death, and you are paying me to give you this advice, and to get you to follow it.”

If a client is not willing to adhere to your professional advice, then there really is no point in your being there. And if you are the client, and you are not willing to listen to your protective agent, you are either wasting a lot of money for show or you are putting your life — and possibly the lives of those around you — at risk.

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