First Alert Pros ‘Connect’ at Annual Honeywell Dealer Convention
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Connecting and partnering among peers and suppliers via face-to-face networking and with customers through new lifestyle-driven solutions were the overriding themes of the 2010 First Alert Professional (FAP) Convention. Titled this year “Connect to Success” and inclusive of more than 300 industry professionals, the annual event marked the 21st year of the Honeywell authorized dealer program by holding business, motivational, social and honorary proceedings Nov. 11-14 at the Boca Raton (Fla.) Resort & Club.
All of the proceedings were presided over by First Alert Professional President Joe Sausa. During the opening general session, Honeywell Security Group President Ron Rothman officially passed the baton to JoAnna Sohovich, who was recently named his successor as president of Honeywell Security & Communications. “I believe our brand is one of the best in the world and we will look to leverage and take more advantage of that,” said Rothman, who took on his current role when predecessor Ben Cornett stepped down at the beginning of the year. “I have been looking at and absorbing what we could do better the past nine months, and am now ramping up to put it into action during 2011.”
Sohovich addressed the FAP audience for the first time by discounting those who say IT-oriented companies like Cisco and others will take over the physical security industry as it becomes more network-based. “Don’t count us out yet. It’s entrepreneurs like you who truly know the customer, are hooked into the communities you serve and have proven time and time again to be the most nimble and resilient,” she said. Sohovich, who previously held positions in Honeywell’s Automation and Control Solutions, Aerospace and Specialty Materials units, went on to map out her strategy for penetrating the 80 percent of U.S. homes currently without security systems. She cited lifestyle, connectivity, convenience and technology as the means to accomplish that goal, with products and services such as Honeywell’s Total Connect as a leading example. “I am passionate about tapping into a whole new set of customers,” she added.
Scott Harkins, president and general manager for Honeywell Video Systems Security & Data Collection, updated attendees on the present state of access control and video surveillance within the company. He mentioned how 80 percent of all access systems are fewer than 16 doors, 65 percent no more than four doors. With that in mind, he explained how the NetAXS system can be deployed to address that niche, even to the point of replacing locksmiths on single-door applications. On the video side, “Change moves at the speed of light,” he said. “But adoption is slow unless the value is real. We believe it makes more sense to bring a security feel and mentality to IP video rather than IT moving into security. We are also looking to unlock the ‘cloud’ for remote managed RMR [recurring monthly revenue] services.”
The main session concluded with the event’s keynote presenter, former television personality turned human resource training expert, business book author and motivational speaker Ross Shafer. He delivered an insightful and especially funny presentation that enraptured and delighted the assembled throng.
Among other topics, Shafer explained how today’s customer is different from years past in that they expect products and services to be “on demand” whenever, wherever and whatever the situation. Thus, business success hinges on immediacy and also being empathetic to their needs and catering to them on an emotional level. Shafer also said while it’s important to be responsive to customers the most critical aspect is making sure the final touch or interaction is especially positive because that is the moment in which loyalty is created. Finally, speaking on the necessity for companies to be agile today, he offered this quote: “If you don’t like change, you’ll probably hate extinction.”
Each year the FAP Convention hosts a robust awards presentation to honor member contributions to the dealer program and excellence in sales and service. Among this year’s big winners, Nashville-based ADS Security hauled in six honors including the Life Safety and Community Service awards.
Also popular during the event were more than a dozen educational sessions and several evening functions. For specifics regarding some of the educational offerings, check out the Under Surveillance blog here. Next year’s FAP event will also take place in November, with the location moving west to Scottsdale, Ariz. Be sure to check out the January issue of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION for an exclusive roundtable featuring FAP company CEOs. To read about previous FAP Conventions, click here.
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