For the third year running, DMP put together a strong day of business, sales, technology and networking for dozens of dealers at the manufacturer’s Owners Forum, held April 1 at the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas the day before ISC West. Going around the room at the outset, an estimated 80 attendees (both dealers and DMP associates) identified themselves and collectively their industry experience added up to nearly 1,500 years. It was quite an impressive group.
Hosted by DMP Executive Director of Marketing Mark Hillenburg, the event featured three main presentations along with an address from company President Rick Britton and a mind-reader/comedian providing intermittent entertainment. I was present for all but one of the sessions (due to SSI’s Hall of Fame and SAMMYs event obligations) and detail some of the takeaways here.
Britton spent some time talking about DMP’s new CellComC and CellComCZ fully supervised alarm communicators, which operate over CDMA networks and present a solution to update existing customers’ panels or takeovers. The product can extend the life and expand the capabilities of older panels by adding the power of advanced, digital cellular communication allowing for Virtual Keypad App control including viewing up to six cameras. CellComCZ allows dealers to add Z-wave control and increase RMR without having to remove existing panels.
Bob Harris, principal of the Attrition Busters and also a member of the SSI Editorial Advisory Board, spoke passionately and captivatingly on how the security alarm industry should not fear entry of the telcos and cablecos but instead rejoice about how much opportunity it out there. “This is absolutely the best time to be in the alarm industry,” he said. “Don’t buy into the belief that the monitoring bubble is about to burst.”
Harris identified four common mistakes security companies are making today: 1) walking past RMP (recurring monthly profit, rather than recurring monthly revenue); 2) no sales or customer service training (every employee should be part of your sales team); 3) devaluing service/company by competing on price; and 4) failing to deliver on the value proposition (have to offer “sizzle”).
Here are a few other pearls Harris shared . . . creating “sticky” customers entails combining personal service with an emotional connection – people, service and relationships make all the difference . . . the cable companies and telephone companies are coming (are here!), so be proactive rather than reactive . . . concentrate on more than products, service, technology, response time, brand name and price in making your value proposition (anyone can claim such things) . . . base your value proposition on painstaking professionalism and relationships.
In the next session, Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ, expounded upon concepts served up in his book, “Hiring for Attitude.” Hillenburg informed me that Britton routinely has DMP managers read certain sales and business books that are then discussed as a group and, in many cases, ideas from them that make sense for the company are implemented. Such was the case with Murphy’s writings. His presentation was very insightful and thought-provoking.
Murphy grabbed attention with some compelling statistics. They included that 46% of all new hires fail within 18 months, and only 19% end up being unequivocal successes. In nearly nine of 10 cases, the reason for failure was due to things other than technical competence. Murphy pointed out how American businesses have spent more than 100 years becoming expert at hiring based on skills, but attitude has been overlooked and has consequently become a glaring point of failure. Hence, the key today is to hire based on both skills and attitude, with more focus on the latter since skills are more easily taught than attitude.
He identified positive attitudinal qualities as including caring, persistence and objectivity. HR personnel and those evaluating job applicants should realize that, according to Murphy, most common interview questions (e.g. strengths, weaknesses) are a waste of time. Instead he recommended using more strategic and open-ended questions following the format of, “Could you tell me about a time when . . .” He said be mindful not to lead candidates and to get them talking as much as possible during the interview. Murphy said an hour-long interview need not be more than six questions. He added to look for self-directed learners eager to find solutions and answers on their own, and also to look for those who take well to being coached