Integrator Connection: Security Pros--It Starts with Trust

March 14, 2013
Being a partner, not product, comes first

The growth and success of Security Pros LLC, Jeffersonville, Ind., comes down to the business’s overall approach of working with its customers and its strategic partnerships. “We don’t simply design and sell solutions. Our approach starts with training and understanding the ever-changing market we live and work in,” said President and Founder Chris Gilbert.

“Our customers look to us to provide the right solution the first time,” Gilbert said. Security Pros seeks a technology path that allows for change and adaptation as equipment and communication methods change. 

However, when they visit a new customer’s site, they go in with an open mind. “Our design begins with a consultative approach to understanding their business and the challenges they face as a company or municipality. Once the issues and return on investment is clearly defined, we move forward with design solutions that are truly unique to that customer,” he explained.

That emphasis on “no preconceived notions” is important. “We do not choose the equipment prior to visiting with a customer. We have our favorites, sure, but our design is around the customer’s needs and not around a national agreement to sell a certain amount of product,” Gilbert continued.

“Our growth has continued to evolve, mainly from developing relationships,” Gilbert said. “We are not a marketing powerhouse with TV and print ads,” he continued. In fact, they do not spend a dime on advertising. While the company is located in Jeffersonville, Ind. (just across the river from Louisville, Ky.), they do business from Seattle to Phoenix to Boston. Their focus is less on traditional security and more on the integration part of the business.

Becoming a trusted source

     A big part of the security game is trust—the trust between a firm and its suppliers and the trust between an integrator and its customers. Most dealers and integrators have little control over the former. But the successful ones know that the entire game revolves around the trust between the security company and its customers. Security Pros builds on that trust.

“These relationships are not only with our customers but with strategic partners that align with us in our efforts to supply our shared customers with the best solution possible to meet their needs,” Gilbert said. These partnerships provide an opportunity to expand well beyond their local market.

“As we develop this path with our customers, we become a trusted professional that can be counted on to look out for their best interest now and in the future,” Gilbert said.  Every employee has to be on the same page. Gilbert’s team prides itself on the ability to say “no.”

“Too many companies are always saying, ‘sure we can do that’ to sell the next job. In fact, it is simply starting them down the path to loosing that customer,” Gilbert said. “If you want to keep your customers for a long time, it starts with trust,” he added.

“I feel to be truly successful you have to understand the business climate, how each person in the chain of command will be affected by your proposed solution, and then help all parties involved to come to terms with how the application of your solution will affect them and their department.”

The ability to gain and keep the trust of the customer on all levels is their key to success. “Everyone in the building is affected by your solution. Take the time to clearly understand how to relate. Don’t just sell something to meet a quota. It will serve you well in the long run,” he stated.

“By instilling this approach to our entire organization we are able to gain repeat business in our existing customers and gain a substantial amount of referral business.”

Homecoming 'dance'

Gilbert got started in the business in 1997 as an installation technician with a large national firm. From there, he gained experience in commercial sales, sales management and, eventually, in area management in the Washington, DC-Baltimore-Norfolk, Va., area. After spending 12 years in the business and putting in the weekly travel (he commuted from Louisville to Baltimore weekly), he decided to come home and work for himself.

One thing he quickly vowed was not to repeat mistakes he saw made in his previous job. “Initially, we started out using the skills learned in my previous position and in the markets previously served. This was proving to be the long road to nowhere,” Gilbert said. “Our long term strategies were not our own.”

Not long after starting the business, he realized that the lessons of the past were just that: lessons, and not rules to follow.

“I didn’t have a large sales force or huge annual service revenue. This meant that I would have to jump in the water with the rest of the sharks and fight for the same customers,” he said. “Once the realization hit me that we didn’t want to be just another security company, my vision became much clearer. We wanted to deliver solutions to our customers, educate them on how their purchase would affect them today and into the future. Through that philosophy our sales platform was built,” he said. “Solutions are as unique as your fingerprint.”

Security Pros has been fortunate in having that relationship work well up and down the chain’s channel.“Through building a network of qualified strategic partnerships we are able to expand much faster and more cost effectively,” Gilbert said.

“I believe that our attention to detail and our approach to doing business on a personal level is the key to our success. Our position is to partner with our clients to develop long-term plans that help them meet not only their security plan but their operational goals as well,” Gilbert said.

“These partnerships are built on trust and a shared vision of success for both companies involved.  As these partnerships take shape and our professional services platform continues to grow we certainly expect this growth trend to continue well into the future,” he concluded.