Integrator Connection: IP Security is on the Menu

Daytona Broadband president Ron Poulin has parlayed his restaurant background into selling security customers on the benefits of IP


Since DBB works in conventional small systems as well as premium, high-end enterprise IP systems, one challenge Poulin faces is educating customers on the differences. He finds some customers go to a big-box store and see an 8-channel “high resolution” video monitoring system for $1500. This puts a value in their mind of what video security should cost. “Some of these customers call me and expect me to play in the value market,” he says. “I quickly educate them on the differences in professional systems and consumer-grade products. I learned years ago to not offer any products below entry-level professional grade.”

The point was driven home in the few times when he went below his minimum in order to please a customer and get a sale when he really needed it. “It always resulted in unhappy customers and ones that required extra support because of the inferior system,” he says.

Any products he does not offer himself are outsourced to a reputable local firm. He still manages the installation on behalf of the customer. “After the business opens, I remain the technology manager and handle all technology-related affairs on an annual retainer fee basis,” Poulin says.

The model has worked very well for his total technology customers.

Poulin is constantly on the lookout for technology innovation. DBB recently formed an affiliation with Las Vegas-based RVNUE Technologies, an advanced Mobotix partner with experience in the luxury high rise market. RVNUE CEO Christian Petrou has shared experiences in the market, enabling the DBB team to offer premium enterprise building system solutions to the large Florida high-rise market. “Working with a fellow Mobotix partner with the experience and resources of RVNUE Technologies has allowed us to expand to new markets in new areas much faster than we could have on our own,” Poulin says. “Christian is a great mentor, and everyone wins in this scenario.”

Most importantly, customers receive best-of-breed video security tools with the support of top integrators through the newly formed strategic alliance.

 

Growing the Business

“When I represent DBB to a prospective customer, I don’t sell products as much as I sell myself and my company’s ability to continue to service the customer after the sale by convincing them that Daytona Broadband will be the last technology vendor they will need in the areas they hire it for,” Poulin says. “I have accumulated many loyal customers who refer me.”

This has led to rapid growth in warm-lead sales. In its early days, 90 percent of DBB’s customers were a result of existing relationships or cold calls. Today, 95 percent of DBB’s business comes from referrals. “In addition to end-user referrals, I have established a channel partner system where various local business (and some not so local) use me exclusively for their video security referrals,” Poulin says.

Poulin has eight channel partners to date, including computer stores, locksmiths, private investigators, electricians, camera/photography stores, Internet service providers and network specialists. In some quarters, channel partner leads provide nearly half of his business. Arrangements vary from simple lead exchanges to a fee or commission on sales.

DBB thrives on long-term relationships. “I believe in a fair number of customers for life, rather than a high volume of customers that I sell one time,” Poulin says.

He knows DBB is still a small integrator just starting to grow. “I outsource most of the installation and don’t have vans with my company name or anything like that yet,” he says, however, DBB has a showroom at a local computer store partner, Winchester Computers in Dayton Beach.

“I use independent associates who work on a contract basis for me as project managers or sales engineers as needed,” Poulin explains. These contractors operate under the DBB brand and have embroidered logo shirts so the customer considers them part of the Daytona Broadband team. That means DBB’s actual employee count is small — basically Poulin and his wife Debra — however that does not mean they are afraid to branch out.

Earlier this year, DBB began offering custom LED lighting through an Orlando area affiliate. “LED lighting not only can save up to 90 percent on electric usage, but proper lighting also makes camera imaging more vivid,” Poulin says. That makes LED a good tie-in with video security.