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SSI Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine shares lessons learned from the recent Total Tech Summit and SSI Summit.

Where it comes to human nature, the proverb, There is nothing new under the sun, was spot on. Technology is an entirely different story.

It’s the individuals very much in tune with what people gravitate toward, find value in, the emotional nuances that result in sales, are ethical and trustworthy, and possess strong interpersonal communication abilities — plus a firm grasp of the latest technologies and associated products and services — who will become tomorrow’s security superstars.

Security Sales & Integration seeks to marry those prevailing best business practices and technological advances — heck, it’s in the cover tagline, “Industry’s #1 Technology & Business Authority Since 1979” — on a monthly (print) and daily (online) basis.

There’s something else that is relatively new under the sun that also strives to marry those essential elements in an open forum. I am speaking of the SSI Summit, which I was again privileged to lead and was recently held for the third time (Pittsburgh in 2018).

Produced by AE Ventures in concert with mirrored events hosted by sister publications CE Pro(custom home electronics) and Commercial Integrator (A/V) under the umbrella name Total Tech Summit (TTS), the SSI Summit gathered 105 leaders from top security dealer and integration businesses throughout North America, representing $1.8 billion+ in residential/commercial revenues and 158,000+ installations for 2018.

Each year I have been more impressed with the TTS and SSISummit. Security dealers and integrators have spouted off to me about the tremendous value they realized from the thoughtful education, networking, exhibit and vendor activities.

I highly recommend this unique, invitation-only event to elevate your company’s efficiencies, effectiveness, operations and profitability.

Among the sessions I led was a best practices roundtable focused on effective internal and external communications, and better managing projects from both logistical and financial standpoints.

Following the panel discussion, each attendee table was assigned a challenge question centered on the topics of company communications and project management. Best ideas in each area follow.

Communications — sales reps give clients a call when in their area; using a personalized email address with the company’s domain name in it; providing large customers with a personalized phone number; tailoring a CRM to capture personal info on customers, such as preferred contact method, preferred times, things they like to do and participate in and important product features to them; be proactive in monitoring their systems so when, for example, a camera is down it is addressed before they are even aware of it; promote engagement using an app or other means; assign specific techs to the account; host a mixer with existing and prospective customers; and have auto-acknowledgements in place when emails or social communications are received.

Project management — implement WHIP (work hours in process); standardize estimating along with a management review; standardize work instructions and cross train technicians; execute presale engineering; verify scope with the customer; invoke RAM (resource allocation management); offer technicians a loaded labor rate with a performance bonus; emphasize continuous communications especially involving changes; conduct weekly project meetings; conduct pre- and post-sale meetings with operations and sales; stay on top of new product training; use templates to ensure consistent processes for accuracy and uniformity; automate as many processes and procedures as possible with leading software; and standardize labor for specific tasks.

SSI Editorial Director Jason Knott led a panel called, “Fresh Horses Products & Applications Your Company Can Ride for Revenue & Profit Growth.” Takeaways included:

Houses of Worship — early detection is key, recommend cameras in parking lots; electronic security is only part of the solution, also focus on training and emergency response lockers; and show tact at all times.

Hosted Video & Access Control — best with light commercial niche, combine onsite with Cloud; remote monitoring is not specific to any industry, all can benefit in some way.

Interactive Monitoring — make cameras with analytics part of a core offering; there is no reason every alarm system customer should not use interactive services in some fashion; clients’ use of it brings less attrition, additional RMR and more equipment sales.

Voice Control — although 70 million homes are projected to have an interactive speaker by the end of 2019, it’s still early from a security usage standpoint; it is not just a residential solution; consider targeting board rooms.

To gain more insights from the TTS and SSI Summit, visit our event coverage here. For more info on the 2019 event, set for Fort Worth, Texas, go to totaltechsummit.com.

About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int’l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.