The Big Idea with Ron Davis
October , 2008
Pay for Quality, It's Worth It
Robert Few has learned an invaluable lesson early on and it’s one that every good businessperson truly understands: “You get what you pay for!” Whether it’s an installing company, a wholesale monitoring company, an integrator, or a combination of them all, this motto will always give you an edge in whatever you do.
If management pays (and obtains) people who work for the company at a lower-than-industry wage, correspondingly, you will likely get people who perform at lesser standards. If you pay the industry average, you will get what you pay for: an average worker doing average work. And if you pay at the upper end of the spectrum, you’ll get quality people who perform in a quality manner.
Now, it doesn’t always work that way, but for the most part it is a truism and one that we can all take to the bank. By paying for a quality person to join your company, you will assuredly notice the respect you get from your customer.
The same holds true with a product. Not only do you have to be known for running a quality business, but you also have to be known for doing quality installations and service work, and for providing the best products you can find for your customers.
In my “day job” I help alarm companies that want to sell their businesses. One of the biggest problems I encounter when helping these alarm dealers exit the industry is the wide variety of systems and panels they use, bragging to me on many occasions that they were always able to buy the least expensive systems (i.e. those that represent the best bargains). Then, a potential buyer looks at the company and wonders how they’re going to get enough parts and replacement panels for all of the different types of installations and equipment.
When Few talks about getting what you pay for, he means in every aspect of running a business. Since most of what we do is — directly or indirectly — a negotiation, it comes into play very strongly in almost every kind of negotiation. It’s not about getting the best deal financially; it’s about getting the best deal for all parties.
When both parties do a transaction and come away feeling good about it, you’ve got a win-win situation. When both parties walk away feeling uncomfortable, disquieted or resentful, you’ve got a bad situation. And when one of the two parties walks away feeling taken advantage of, it’s only a matter of time before it comes back full circle.
What does all of this mean? Very simply, money is the oil that keeps us running smoothly in both our business and personal lives. The way we allocate our financial resources almost always determines the quality of service we provide our customers, which in turn, allows us to be known as one of the best — or otherwise. This idea embodies a philosophy of business that is essential for success in this industry.
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 Int’l in the 1980s.