The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Follow Up and Follow the RMR Money
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month's BIG IDEA comes from Roy Brachfeld, N.A.S. Security Systems
"Consistent follow-up is the key to building a strong customer-centric business."
OY BRACHFELD IS AN IMPOSING GUY, both in stature and in brainpower. He’s also a heck of a likable guy. Brachfeld is the president of N.A.S. Security Systems in Middletown, N.Y., which is located in the southeast corner of the state. Brachfield operates in two states, New York and over the border in New Jersey, and you could say N.A.S. is a significant regional player. He’s been in the industry for more than 30 years, and his story is a real rags-to-riches journey from being a one-man do-it-all entrepreneur to running a multistate business operation.
COMMUNICATE TO CEMENT YOUR CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
I asked Brachfeld what’s the best piece of advice he could give to somebody in the security industry? He responded immediately and broke down the answer into two parts — the advice he would give a newcomer, and the advice he would give to somebody who’s been in the business for a period of time. His great idea for the industry newbie was that “consistent follow-up is the key to building a strong customer-centric business.”
I couldn’t help but think of this tidbit after Brachfeld followed up by returning my call, as he had promised he would do, the next day. Unfortunately, he was dealing with Hurricane Irma, which was bearing down on the vacation home that Brachfeld and his family own in Florida. I’m not sure, but I have a strong suspicion that if I were dealing with that kind of crisis situation, the last thing I would be doing is returning a call from somebody who’s writing an article. Not Brachfeld.
When the N.A.S. president makes a commitment, he keeps it. And I have seen him do this over and over again and when you think about it, it seems that it plays a significant part of the success that Brachfeld has enjoyed in building his businesses. I don’t think it is an anomaly that he is successful, but rather, his consistency in following up on everything that he commits to seems to be one of the hallmarks of really successful people. Other industry people have made it their own successful habit to train their staffs, employees, customers and friends to anticipate good response from everybody connected with Brachfeld. So it’s certainly no accident that he is successful, but rather can be considered the natural positive results from a quality habit.
FIND A WAY TO EARN RECURRING REVENUE EVERYWHERE
Brachfeld’s second piece of advice, addressing the more seasoned security pro, was to “make sure that everything you do has an RMR component”; i.e. not just monitoring, but service, testing and inspection, and more. On just about anything that you bill for, see if you can turn it into something that has an RMR element attached to it.
This is doubly important when you go to sell your business, because we are seeing more and more potential buyers agreeing to “blend” all of the RMR categories into a single purchase price, which is usually higher than each of the components taken separately.
We have seen pure-play fire companies, companies having patrol service, those that have service contracts, etc., include the revenues from those activities under an RMR category. Then when it comes time to sell, the seller will “blend” all the RMR revenues into one number. Of course, the seller identifies to the potential buyer the fact that the RMR has been mixed with traditional monitoring revenue. It can’t hurt, could help, and certainly helps to build up the value of your continuing monthly revenue.
I’ll add something else that should be equally obvious regarding important habits — if you want to be successful, emulate successful people. Develop their habits, particularly in running a business. I always go back to the mantra of the dean of personal motivation, award-winning author and public speaker Earl Nightingale. His secret to success? Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile, predetermined idea — if you think about it consistently, it will happen. If you’re thinking about building your RMR, your subconscious will eventually take over and feed you some great insights as to what you can do. All you have to do is try it to prove it to yourself. By the way, and also no accident, Brachfeld’s company has purchased a significant number of companies over the years, which, of course, builds up RMR. Indeed, success usually happens to people who think about it most of the time.
Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International in the 1980s.