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The golden egg

There is no question that the allure of the security industry is a strong one.

Passionate techno-geeks, police wannabes, committed entrepreneurs — there is a real mix of people who say they are in the “alarm business.” There is one thing that we are all after: RMR — Recurring Monthly Revenue — the brass ring of the industry.


October 5, 2011
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The only way to get that is to install security systems. And there lies a good part of the problem, since you are competing with everyone else in that same small, narrow space.

If you’ve decided to install two doors, one motion detector, fully wireless with a touch screen GUI, then congratulations — stand in line and make your pitch. What you need is a way to differentiate your company from everyone else’s. How are you going to do that? Eventually, the potential client will find someone to install that security system for no money down and for less money every month than you were going to charge. If your value proposition is price, you will not be dealing from a position of strength.

Years ago, when we were starting up, every single security alarm company was selling the same product, and giving out the same piece of literature. We decided at that point to use a different manufacturer because we felt that it would allow us to differentiate ourselves from all of our competitors. It worked. If you get five quotes and one is different, that has some impact. At the time, it was risky but I like to say we made a shrewd business decision.

How about if you throw the rules away and make recommendations on what you know the client should have installed, rather than them dictating the system design to you? How about controlling the sale and establishing yourself as the expert! The big difference between an alarm system and a security system is those value-added detectors you have specified, detectors that will provide life and property detection — the kind of value-added service that means that a client never wants to cancel their monitoring service with you. That is how you establish expertise, build trust and make your reputation spread. Just remember that you need to be able to walk the walk.

I know that there are many companies and industry experts out there who want to get their hands on your recurring revenue. How can you focus on installing and specifying jobs, and how rich will you be?

There are some excellent (well, very few but that is another article) third-party stations that will treat your clients properly, that will treat you properly and that will let you bring your “A” game every time that you go to sell your services.

Remember — that chunk of annuity is the most valuable asset that your business has. 

Ivan Spector is president of Sentinel Alarm in Montreal and a member of the Central Station Alarm Association’s board of directors. He can be reached at ispector@sentinelalarm.com