Custom integrator Dan Fulmer says his consistent connections with both vendors and fellow dealers make the CE Pro Summit a must-attend event.
FulTech Solutions CEO Dan Fulmer used to attend many industry events every year as he looked to improve his business. But, over time his desire to travel to those shows waned as the cost often didn’t justify the results.
Now, Fulmer is much more selective about which events he attends, choosing to focus on what he knows will produce a worthwhile ROI. For that reason, the CE Pro Summit has become one of Fulmer’s only annual industry retreats.
“It’s nice to have kind of a smaller venue show these days,” Fulmer says. “I’m an old-school expo kind of guy, where you get to meet everybody in the industry and know our vendors and that kind of stuff. And, when those went away, it made it more difficult to form those relationships, which to me, are important and critical.”
Those relationships are what Fulmer says he always finds at the CE Pro Summit, and in a variety of ways.
“I think from one aspect, meeting with our vendors one-on-one and going out to dinner with them afterwards, that kind of stuff is great. You get to develop some of those firmer relationships. Also, I think another big benefit is talking to those other dealers. I’ve met some of the same dealers there the last couple years and just feeding off of each other’s ideas, what’s working, what’s not working is sometimes as invaluable as what you get out of the show.”
Year in and year out, Fulmer connects and reconnects with those at the Summit and he always finds something to take back to the office with him.
At the 2016 Summit, he met with Elan and URC, from both of which he now features products as part of various home automation starter packages. He also met with Bose there and, in the ensuing months, as more of his customers were requesting its products, he realized it was time to add the brand to his offerings. So, he reconnected with the company reps he met with to make it happen.
During the most recent Summit in Orlando, Fla., more of those dealer connections established at previous Summits proved beneficial. He again saw a couple from Dallas he had gotten to know over the last few years who detailed some changes they made to their business that he also was considering. That interaction reinforced his own ideas for potential operational adjustments.
He met another fellow integrator guest at that same Summit who turned a small company into a $20 million mid-market firm. Over three days, Fulmer tried to learn everything he could from him about what went into making that growth possible.
“It’s a nice camaraderie there,” he says. “You’re meeting integrators that you’re not competing with. So, you can really get down to the root of what’s working and what’s not and learn different ideas. That’s one of the cool takeaways. And, it’s all elite dealers.”
The roundtable presented yet another opportunity for guest interaction and best practice idea-sharing, which Fulmer says consistently provides valuable information. For instance, at the 2017 Summit, RMR became a big topic of discussion.
Though FulTech has been offering maintenance plans for a while, the company is new to implementing recurring revenue streams like monitoring services. A few of the dealers at Fulmer’s table had some unique ways to approach that, which will prove to be useful for him.
“Even if you get a few tidbits out of the event, it’s worth it,” he explains. “And, that’s usually what I get. Ninety percent of the stuff we’ve all heard. But, there are two or three tidbits I always get that are interesting. So, I think one of the better parts of the roundtable is when everyone shares their ideas and some of them you’re like, ‘huh, that’s a unique one. I’ll try that.’”
And, like many of his takeaways from previous CE Pro Summits, he probably will.