Reaching Your Goals

Reaching Your Goals

Successful security dealers are defined by best practices

Experience may be the best teacher, but it’s often possible to learn what works—and what doesn’t work—simply by looking at other companies in the industry. There are common threads that successful dealers share, and other threads that cause less successful dealers to unravel or completely come apart.

Two companies that are part of Monitronics’ dealer network serve as excellent examples of four best practices that will help fuel your success:

  • Development and devotion to a strategic vision.
  • An emphasis on top-notch customer service, no matter what the circumstance.
  • Active involvement in the communities they serve, proving their longterm commitment.
  • Support from a dealer network that works as an active partner in their business.

With 65 employees spread across four locations in Arizona, California and Colorado, Envision Security has built a business totally around successful doorto- door sales. By contrast, Texas-based Point Security—with 23 employees and offices in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston—has taken a different approach to its business with a multi-faceted strategy that emphasizes marketing and leverage of its existing customer base instead of a door-to-door approach.

Although they have different business models, both companies share some very important philosophies. For starters, each has relied largely on a specific guiding vision.

Be True to Your Path

Darryl Johnson, president and founder of Envision Security, has roots in the security industry that start at a customer’s front door. That was his first sales role, and he has built his business around understanding effective methods of door-to-door sales and communicating those practices to his employees.

Here’s the twist: None of the 50 sales people at Envision had a background in alarm industry sales before starting at the company. Johnson’s vision emphasizes the importance of consistency, professionalism and customer service. That’s why he wanted each rep to start with a clean slate, and then pick up good habits and successful sales practices from day one through a well-tuned training program.

There are two positives that come from that approach, he said. First, sales reps tend to be very loyal to the company for giving them a chance, and turnover is low. Second, it encourages consistency and efficiency, since every salesperson is trained with the same principles and techniques.

The vision of Point Security CEO Todd Fitch doesn’t involve door-to-door sales, although the company used that strategy from its inception in 2007 until late 2009. It was enough to keep Point Security in the industry, he said, but it eventually became clear that they were never going to be able to compete with established companies based on that model.

“We tried door-knocking for a while, but admittedly we just weren’t very good at it,” he said. “We couldn’t train people the right way. I have a lot of respect for companies who can, but that wasn’t us.”

With that in mind, he said, it became clear that there had to be a different direction.

“We looked at ourselves and decided that we were going to do it our way,” Fitch said. “We decided to think outside the box. We did some things hoping they would work or thinking they would work, and we caught a couple of breaks. It worked the way we wrote it up, and we started experiencing the growth and success that we’ve seen in the past few years.”

It was a bold move that started in late 2009 by relocating to Austin, Texas. “We had no ties to Texas, and we’d never even been down here,” he said. “But we knew Austin was a ‘techie’ town, and we knew that the technology coming out with apps and home automation was going to have appeal.”

For competitive reasons, Fitch holds his business strategy close to the vest. But, he freely admits that Point Security’s philosophy is “traditional marketing with a non-traditional twist. We focus a lot on our current customer database.”

He also agrees with Johnson that it’s important to value potential over experience when it comes to hiring employees.

The Customer is King

Johnson and Fitch each emphasize the tremendous value of customer service.

At Envision, Johnson said, it’s simple: Whatever the customer wants, the customer gets. There’s virtually no argument, no matter what the complaint or request might be.

“We try to take a no-hassle approach,” he said. “When a customer has a belief in their mind that they’ve been promised something, or that something’s not right, you’re not going to convince them that they’re wrong.” It makes for happier customers, less attrition, and more positive referrals. In fact, he said, 85 percent of the company’s accounts last at least five years.

A positive customer experience starts with the first contact, he said. Vehicles for sales reps are wrapped with the company’s brand and advertising. Reps are dressed consistently and immediately project a professional presence.

“When a rep comes up to the door and looks professional, it just adds more value for the customer,” Johnson said. “They’re going to be more comfortable doing business with you, from the first door-knock all the way to the end result. We want to provide a great customer experience right from the beginning.”

There’s no disagreement from Fitch. Point Security counts heavily on customer loyalty; in fact, he said, roughly 35 percent of the company’s new accounts come from referrals.

“No matter what, the customer’s right,” he said. “If your customer needs service, you’ll move mountains to take care of them.”

A company can avoid a potentially critical error by not underestimating the impact of customer relations, either through referrals or word of mouth – particularly when word of mouth isn’t positive.

“Word of mouth has always been the strongest advertising, and it always will be,” Fitch said. “A company has to understand their power of their existing customer base, whether it’s positive or negative. If you take care of your existing customers, they’ll take care of you. If you don’t, then your company will die a slow death.”

A Sense of Belonging

Another source of commonality for the two companies is community service. It’s a great way to not only enhance community awareness of security, but also as a differentiator. A fly-by-night company with no regard for reputation isn’t likely to want a high profile or get involved in the community.

At Point Security, Fitch said, “our reputation in the community is one of the things I’m proudest of.” As part of every sale, customers are asked if they have a special charity that they would like Point to make a donation to.

“Customers love the fact that we make a donation in their name,” Fitch said. “If they don’t have a specific charity, we recommend a charity that provides good homes for children in Texas who have come from bad situations.”

Johnson said that Envision uses community involvement as an extension of the professionalism it consistently seeks to project. For example, the Phoenix location has a high local profile, and traditionally holds two fundraising events each year: for breast cancer and for a local food bank.

“It’s not just about getting a bunch of accounts,” Johnson said. “We’re creating a presence in every community where we do business to show that we’re in it for the long term.”

Support from a Dealer Network

An active relationship with a reputable dealer network is also a best practice that Point Security and Envision both believe in. Both Johnson and Fitch say their participation in Monitronics’ dealer network contributes to their success.

“We’ve always had a great relationship with Monitronics,” Johnson said. “We’ve built a lot of our company on Monitronics principles, from how we pay our guys, to attrition standards and best practices. We’re excited about what’s going on with the company and its potential for growth.”

Fitch says that his company’s experience with Monitronics also has been beneficial. “In this business, relationships are everything,” he said. “Loyalty is king. I’m a relationshipdriven person, and I like the relationship we have with Moni.”

He added that there is no shortage of companies who would love to have Point Security as part of their network, but the decision to go with Monitronics was carefully thoughtout. “We sat down with everyone there and made the decision to optin,” he said. “If I have an issue, I know there’s a team that cares. They want you to succeed not only because it benefits them, but because they care about you as a business and as a person.”

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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