#PassionateSecurity – Meet Security Pros, LLC
No Matter How You Slice ItInstallation for Pizza Restaurant Helps Passionate Pro Get His Piece of the Pie
Chris Gilbert, Founder and President of Security Pros, LLC, started his business in the wake of the 2008 recession. The scenario was grim, and at one point there was a notice on his front door that he might lose his home.
Yet despite a struggling economy and looming failure, his company succeeded, becoming a regional integrator for commercial and municipal clients within a wide radius of Memphis, IN. The company’s success is undoubtedly due in part to his passionate dedication to the industry, commitment to his relationships and willingness to install displays in a pizza restaurant on short notice.
Before starting Security Pros, Gilbert was an area sales manager for ADT in the D.C. and Baltimore area. He started with the company as a residential installer fresh out of high school and worked his way up through sales, before ADT asked him to begin traveling to cover what he says was a $90 million territory as the area sales manager.
The traveling took a toll on Gilbert, though, and he wanted to be home with his family more. Due to the housing market, his family was unable to move.
In January of 2007, after ten years with ADT, Gilbert surprised his wife with the fact that he had quit his job and would be home for good, after he helped the company transition someone into his role.
“I figured that if nothing else, I’d be home,” he says.
At this point, Gilbert found work doing sales locally for an access control company. After about a year of that, he went into sales for a water supplier – a job that didn’t keep him satisfied for long.
“What I found when I left the industry is that I didn’t have the same sense of accomplishment,” says Gilbert. “There’s not as much return on your time as catching a bad guy, or a scenario that helps a business. I just sleep much better knowing what we do for a living.”
After he realized his passion for the security industry, Gilbert says he decided to “make a go of it” and started his own security business.
It was a slow start, though, and for a while he was barely getting by.
“It got to the point where we had a sticker on our door that they were coming to take our house away,” says Gilbert. “Luckily, I found a few jobs and was able to pay things off and keep us afloat.”
Pretty soon, word got out of his quality work, and his team got an unexpected call: a pizza restaurant needed electronic displays installed as their menus, and they needed to start the project the next day.
“It was a small, 2,500 square feet or less type place … and this was when electronic menu boards were brand new,” says Gilbert. “They called me because their contractor fell through. They said, ‘We want you to do this, but you have to be here tomorrow,’ and I’m like ‘Oh my God, what do we do?’”
Gilbert says he gathered his team, went over the next day and did his best work for their new client.
“As we were finishing up the job, I’m walking around and talking to what I thought was the IT guy – turns out he was the founder of the franchise – and he asked us to go all over the country and do all his stores,” says Gilbert. “So, we started flying around the country doing installs – typically two or three a month – for all his franchises. That was a major breakthrough point.”
This, along with his company’s first few jobs, started a chain of referrals and long-term relationships that have driven his company since then, according to Gilbert.
“That was the power of referral. You never know who you’re talking to – that’s going to turn out to be the owner of the business someday,” Gilbert says. “Connections are 100% what we do to drive business. We don’t do a lot of marketing or cold calling. We’ve made connections, and through our performance we’ve gotten referrals, and that’s been almost 100% of our business.”
Connections aren’t only important for his company’s customers, according to Gilbert. He says the company is also intentional about maintaining relationships with their vendors.
“We make a point to get with our vendors once a quarter and make sure we’re on top of the latest technology and that we’re constantly evolving … and trying to work on our process between our companies,” says Gilbert. “Investing time in those vendor relationships is a huge piece of the puzzle for us.”
For their passionate dedication to the industry and continued investment in relationships, Chris Gilbert and Security Pros, LLC are recognized by ESX as Passionate Security professionals.
You can meet Gilbert and his team this June at ESX, where he says they will be using the event as a learning and team-building experience.