The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Hot Prospects May Be Closer Than You Think
Idea of the Month
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month's great idea comes from Johnny Hudson, manager, ADI (Raleigh, N.C.)
Hudson's Great Idea:
Take the call list of your existing customers and start prospecting them for alarm systems and additional services.
The last time I saw Johnny Hudson he was a "kid" in his late 20s full of vim and vigor, but he carried it off well. Not just a great professional, he was a wonderful guy to sit around and socialize with. Hudson eventually married and, as I understand it, he made the lady a very happy person.
It was about that time in the mid-1980s our paths went in different directions. Having not seen each other very often, we finally got a chance to reacquaint at a recent seminar hosted by the North Carolina Electronic Security Association (NCESA).
It was great getting a chance to catch up with him; nowadays he's a manager with ADI and has more than 100 people reporting to him. When I asked Hudson to share a great idea for this column his reply kind of blew me away - it took us back to the basics of the industry. I bet it has been forgotten by 90 percent of the alarm dealers out there.
Obviously, dealers will want to pursue an idea like Hudson's very cautiously and with great professionalism. But once started it can open new doors to referrals and sales that are almost unbelievable and unstoppable.
I remember doing this back in the 1970s; people couldn't believe how many leads were just sitting there to be had. In those days, all we did was pick up a phone and let the referral source know they were on our customer call list and we simply explained what to do in the event of an emergency.
We concluded the conversation by asking, "Is there anything we can do to help you with your security needs today?" It was amazing how many people responded with a positive "yes," not to mention how many appointments we made and how many systems were sold as a result.
This also brings up another issue that perhaps has greater importance that I'd like to share. Hudson has been around the industry for at least 30 years and maybe even longer. He really has forgotten more than most of us will ever know. In addition to being a personable guy, he was also a master salesman.
Yet at the North Carolina meeting I attended, despite interacting with many people, I never heard anyone come up to him and ask, "Johnny, what can I do to increase business right now?" I suspect Hudson would have shared his great idea with anyone who may have bothered to ask him.
How many other great ideas for prospecting and for growth are there that we need to be thinking about? Does the Internet offer us any opportunities that we might have overlooked as recently as a couple of years ago? Does the do-it-yourself market open up any opportunities? How about the medical alarm business? How about emulating some of the sales practices of the "summer programs"?
These are thought-provoking questions. I don't really have all of the answers for them, but I do know that with the changes that are taking place in the industry, Hudson is right on target with getting back to some of the basics.
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.