The Roots of Our Success

Marking SSI‘s 30th anniversary, I’m reminded as our industry matures I sometimes lose sight that some of the newer entrants to the electronic security trade were not around in the time before wholesale change came to the traditional “burglar alarm” business.

Remember when a homeowner or business owner made that initial phone call? You visited them at night, provided them with an estimate and received a deposit. Then it was over to the local independent distributor to purchase the hardware and wire. You installed the system and actually got paid for it without the need to leverage the account or sell it.

For monitoring, we would install a tape dialer that would call the authorities directly. Then, digital dialers and central stations came into full swing and we were actually introduced to a higher level of service that generated additional revenue and profits for our business.

Customer Service in the Crosshairs
Throughout the past three decades we have seen a lot of transformation to the industry. Advancements in technology, evolving market niches and new players from outside the industry have made entry into this business a bit different.

We have gone from selling systems for $2,500 or more to offering them at no cost at all. We had some major brands come and go and others that have stuck around. Some of these brands taught us that alarm systems were really security systems. Systems can be sold instead of bought, and you can sell many more systems and get a lot more money for them if you communicate well and sell smart.

While the free system is being offered by some companies, few still seem to have success with this platform. It seems for the most part that free is not enough anymore; yet some independent dealers still focus on competing at this level. Others have taken a variety of different approaches and are experiencing some growth and better stability than ever before, despite the economic challenges at hand.

These select and focused dealers have realized that consumers want relationships that bring them value-added services and convenience. They understand their clients want relationships with organizations that have depth. This doesn’t mean your company has to be large in size with great overhead. It simply means you need depth in regard to your services and product offerings.

Prospects Do Shine on the Horizon
In this ever-changing and challenging world the successful, well-positioned “alarm dealer” is no longer just an alarm dealer. What the thriving installation professional has to become to remain successful is a full service information and communications solutions provider.

I believe we have embarked on a period that presents some of the most significant, positive changes that this industry has ever experienced. The opportunities presented by the variety of central station services through the use of the Internet, GSM radio, video and remote managed services are just coming to the surface.

Equally important, these vehicles and services need to be looked upon not only for providing reactive security monitoring, but proactive security and lifestyle management. This all pertains to residential as well as commercial clients. Information is king and people want to not only feel in control, they want to be in control. Many of these services save our clients money in other areas of their lives. We are all in positions to present and sell services that will bring us new profit centers, while helping our clients manage their lives in a better way.

We, as an industry, have the opportunity to step up and mature into the primary service provider for many of our clients. We have the ability to secure relationships with consumers and present them with turnkey solutions for their service needs.

Take a look around and notice that although hardware still plays an important factor, the services offered through a full service and functional central station is your catalyst to future successes. These solutions will add significant value and revenue, and you will see they are what consumers actually need and want.

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About the Author


Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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