Networking opportunities and new vendor relationships help guest Erick Toth bring improvements to his company.
When Security Alarm Corporation operations manager Erick Toth attended his first Security Sales & Integration last November, it presented an experience he wasn’t used to. But, it’s one that he ultimately came to truly value.
For more than 20 years, Toth has attended the typical industry events and trade shows, walking from booth to booth and checking out some seminars he thought might be useful. The SSI Summit was a more structured experience which resulted in tangible results.
Those include him finding several new vendors with which he is now trying out products. Toth says the small boardroom groups of 12 to 15 helped establish a better dialogue between guests and sponsors. Then, following those up with scheduled one-on-one meetings allowed for an environment in which he could really learn about a company and its products, unlike other events in which he could not fight his way into a busy booth or was rushed away due to lines of people.
“Here, you heard their presentation in the boardrooms and you did the one-on-one with the vendor during the scheduled show and you said, ‘Wow, that is a good application,’” explains Toth. “You’d say, ‘I had a job a few months ago and that application would have made it a lot easier.’ When you start to match things up like that, you realize it’s something that can help us.”
Among those companies Security Alarm has begun featuring, or has expanded product lines with, as a result of Toth’s meetings at the Summit are SnapAV, Alarm.com, DSC and Resolution Products. With Resolution Products, in particular, Security Alarm has found its wireless translator extremely useful, being able to translate wireless signals from multiple products for customers who want to piece together their own systems.
Toth also found useful business solutions from fellow dealers at the event. He says the networking opportunities helped him explore answers to some of the problems his company has been facing. And, he was encouraged by what he was able to uncover.
“It actually made me feel a little better,” Toth says. “As a smaller company, we’re always striving to be better and bigger. But, what was comforting was finding out some of these bigger companies that have all of these resources still have the same struggles that we do.”
Among those issues they shared were making good hires of technicians and field staff, employee retention, showroom training, bringing in more manufacturers and maintaining relationships with other subcontractors. From those discussions, Toth has been able to implement some ideas and practices to help the company try to improve in those areas.
Now, having been to an SSI Summit once, and understanding its opportunities for learning, he’s already putting a plan together on how he wants to capitalize on those interactions at this year’s event.
“I’m going to bring a list of things we’d like to improve on and talk a bit more with some of the other companies, especially at the breakfasts,” he says. “Each day you would be grouped at a different table with people from other companies similar to yours. I got a lot from those breakfasts, asking the other guys what they did and how they did it.
“You pick up a lot out of those things, whether it’s pricing, services, how you work your services into your monitoring or different recurring revenue ideas. Everybody’s got their own little niche, and there’s a lot of smart guys out there. This time I’m going to be more prepared because I didn’t know what I was expecting. I’m going to get a good bullet point list of 10-15 things I’d like to find out.”