The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Seeing Through Their Eyes Builds Trust With Customers
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 Art Romero, a graphic designer and advertising professional.
Romero’s great idea: Communicate to your customers that whatever it is they want out of you,
it will be your job to try and give it to them, starting with a relationship and ending with always keeping your word.
Art Romero is a Renaissance Man, a throwback to the days when all advertising started with one idea. This was usually the work of the brightest person in an agency (think Don Draper!) and everybody else scurried to fill in the blanks, thus making an advertising campaign out of a formulated idea that developed “legs.”
Advertising and promotional campaigns can be an especially difficult undertaking for a small alarm business, but guys like Romero can change that. He’s not really a security professional, but rather an advertising guy who thinks like an alarm dealer. He can visualize the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur, and in doing so develop a method of presenting ideas to the customers and potential customers alike.
Today’s alarm dealers are not so much focused on the alarm portion of what they sell, but rather on a wide array of lifestyle products and services (think lighting controls, HVAC, mobile apps, etc.). If you’re going to upsell the customer with products and services beyond an alarm system, you need to start thinking like the cable providers, telecoms and all the other outliers trying to get into this industry.
You also have to think of new ways to communicate with the new kind of customer you’ll be pursuing. That brings up the issue of trust. Your customers need to be made aware that you know what you’re talking about. They need to know that even if you’re not sure, you will get them the answers. They need to know your pricing will always be fair and you will always be there to help them when a question arises. Of course, all of this emanates from Romero’s great idea about communicating with your customers.
You might wonder how you can communicate with dozens, maybe hundreds or even thousands of customers. With a small client base, you could really just call to develop a one-on-one synergy with them. But once you start getting into larger numbers of customers, you have to start communicating more diligently: E-mail, electronic newsletters and an occasional gift (think coffee mug or something else that lets them know you’re thinking about them).
Touch Points That Matter
If you’re a larger organization, the salesperson who is in charge of that relationship must take over the physical handling of the customer. It will pay huge dividends in the future in the form of referrals, add-ons and goodwill. And it’s in this area that Romero excels. He knows how to communicate with people. He was the force behind some of the great products and ad campaigns for Radionics, which is where I first met him. I don’t think there was a company around that was better at building one-on-one relationships. Bosch must’ve thought so also, they eventually bought the company.
What Romero did for Radionics was reinforce visually, with graphical imagery, how the company was truly customer-centric. Nowadays he also does it for our company, Davis Mergers and Acquisitions. How do you find your own Art Romero? Actually, he’s not all that hard to find; we list him on our Web site, graybeards.com, or visit Art's site, imaginist.com.
Perhaps you’d like a slightly different perspective. Here’s an idea: Instead of deleting all of your junk E-mail, glance through some of them that look like they might be interesting. It just might spark an idea of your own. Talk to people. Check the local junior college or university, advertising clubs, almost anywhere you can start the process of finding someone who can put together a communications program between you and your customers. Start somewhere, but as my old mentor, W. Clement Stone used to say, do it now!
Ron Davis is a SSI Hall of Fame inductee and President of Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group Inc. Also known as The Graybeards, the company is active in acquisitions and mergers exclusively in the alarm business.