Building Strong Relationships

If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?

This month’s great idea is from ROD GARNER, president of Mountain Alarm in Ogden, Utah, and one of the industry’s real pros — an icon who has been in the industry for several decades.


“The best idea I have involves building relationships. In our company, we set ourselves apart by the relationships we have with our customers, our lenders and our vendors — everyone with whom we try and build a relationship. We practice the golden rule, building our company’s success on relationships, friendships and honesty. In other words, we treat everyone we come in contact with as we would like to be treated!”

Is Rod Garner’s idea really the golden rule? Hardly. It’s the gold rule, because it always comes back to you in ways that you might not expect. Mel Mahler, president of ADS Security in Nashville, Tenn., and one of my good friends in the industry, told me how he empowers every employee to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy, and he always supports the decision made by the ADS representative. In other words, he puts his money where his mouth is.

Garner’s idea, which extends to vendors, banking relationships, employees and customers, is so strong and so powerful that most people just take it for granted, never fully realizing the power that lies within it.

Let’s assume you need a widget from ABC Manufacturing Co. and there is only one available. You have always treated ABC as your most important vendor. Your competitor down the street has always treated ABC as, well, nothing more than a vendor.

Whom do you think gets the widget? Now let’s say you have just taken an irate and unhappy customer and said the magic words of customer service: “You’re absolutely right. What can we do to make up for this oversight?”

You’ll find that people are taken aback by the response and the candor. Prepare yourself for when the customer doesn’t have an adequate answer and asks for your suggestion. Offer a reasonable remedy, and then thank them for pointing out the problem and helping you resolve it. You might be surprised at the number of referrals you receive.

And lastly, don’t forget the people who help you with your company’s finances. We often treat lenders as vendors and don’t really make them part of our business.

Next time you have a managerial problem and it doesn’t involve finances, call your lender/banker and say the following: “Mr. Banker, I know you helped me with the financial side of our business, but since I respect your opinion in so many other areas, I would like to ask you … ”

You will see what happens the next time you need to increase your line or you need a favor. They’ll be bending over backwards to help you, because they know that you consider them more than just “the banker.”

Of equal importance to your business, and certainly on a par with keeping bankers and customers happy, is the idea that law enforcement agencies— particularly police and fire departments we communicate with through our central stations — are kept in the loop of “doing unto others.”

It seems more and more news stories on TV or in the newspapers are about run-ins that have not gone well with law and fire officials. Whether or not the fault lies with the people involved with the agencies, it seems as though, in addition to the hard work of dedicated officers of all law enforcement agencies, any recognition and support from local businesses, particularly security companies, would be most welcome.

What can you do to further the relationships between your company and all of the agencies that it interrelates with?

Thank you, Rod Garner, for sharing your one “really great idea.” It’s an important message and a lesson easily learned by all of us. Try it! You’ll not only like it, but you’ll love the results you get!

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About the Author

Ron Davis

Ron Davis is the founder and president of Davis Mergers & Acquisitions Group, Inc., a firm that specializes in acquisitions and mergers. He has more than 40 years of industry experience.

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