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June 23-26, 2014


Speaker Q&A: Jim Boots, ASG Security

Jason Unger
I  May 14, 2013

Jim Boots, vice president of residential sales and marketing at ASG Security, has spent nearly 30 years in the security industry helping to build and execute sales initiatives and deliver value to his company's customers.

He's worked with some of the largest companies in the industry, helping them design and implement the customer experience for selling interactive security solutions and has led the sales roll-out for the first national security provider to offer these services.

We recently caught up with Boots, who will be presenting on "Using Remote Video/Door Control and Cameras to Power Your Residential Growth" at ESX, to find out a little more about him.

What's your background in the industry? How did you first get involved?
I got involved in the industry in 1984. I was looking for something to do while going to school. On the recommendation of a friend who knew the owner of a very small company in Fort Worth, TX, I took a job as an installer doing pre-wire and trim-out of security, central vacuum and intercom systems.

I wasn’t looking for a career path in the security industry but found out quickly that it was a great business that offered a tremendous service to its customers and a career path is exactly what it turned into. Like a lot of people in our industry, I've worked in many different roles including outside sales for almost twelve years. That time was divided almost evenly between residential and commercial sales. I have been a sales manager, a national sales trainer and a director of training.

From there I moved into a VP of residential sales role, which is a title I have had for about the last seven years with two different companies. The last two years at ASG Security have been a tremendous opportunity.

I’m very proud of the residential program we've built, the success we are having and the vision we have for the future of our residential sales channel.

With the growth of interactive services, how has marketing security to consumers changed?
I’m not sure that the marketing methodogly has changed, but I do think it has been improved. By now, everyone understands internet marketing much better — the importance of a great website and the need to have a social media presence. The spend on paid search has certainly increased year over year; I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

Most companies in our industry are just trying to find that space that no one else occupies so they can communicate a unique value proposition and differentiate themselves from competitors. That seems to be where the marketing focus is right now and rightfully so. It’s interesting though that since the concentration is on perfecting online marketing programs consumers seem to be receptive once again to some old-school marketing methods like direct mail.

The lesson may be that you should find out what marketing methods work best for you and do them the most but always keep doing a little bit of everything because you don’t want to miss any opportunities and the programs that influence customers to act more often are always changing.

What's the messaging that companies should be leading with today?
Solutions! It is crucial to communicate the range of solutions available to homeowners today through interactive security and automation systems. Specifically, how these solutions will have a positive impact on their lives and solve problems that traditional systems never could.

Security is and most likely will always be the primary reason consumers look to us initially, but we have to let them know that we do so much more than that today. The leading message is that we can help them leverage existing technology that they have already invested in (tablets, smart phones, laptops, etc.) to provide peace-of-mind, energy management, video and home automation which is a fantastic customer value.

Your company, ASG Security, has acquired a number of companies over the past few years. As the person charged with the success of the sales force, how do you effectively lead sales personnel joining the ASG family?
We have a very detailed onboarding procedure for all new residential sales personnel; whether they join us via an acquisition or through the normal growth process in an existing branch.

Onboarding is a day-by-day process that covers everything a new sales rep needs to be successful in that position. It is an intensive two-week training that includes our entire sales process, helping with installs, attending sales and service calls in the field. We include homework every night. At the conclusion of the onboarding the new sales rep must perform a role play of our in-home ASG Security customer experience with a coworker acting as the customer while the sales manager observes.

If they are rated “presentation ready” the sales manager will attend their first sales appointment with them as an observer. We continue the coaching and improvement process from there.

How can other security integration and monitoring companies best motivate and incentivize their sales force, specifically when it comes to new opportunities like interactive services?
The sales compensation plan drives the sales team’s behavior so it is imperative that the interactive service platform provides the best opportunity for them to reach their income goals. If you have a competing plan for traditional services that they are comfortable with they will fight the introduction of new technology and new incentive plans.

I have seen some companies introduce interactive systems to their sales team but keep a traditional unit-driven commission plan in place; this does not promote selling deeper into the range of interactive services available to the customer and impedes your success. Incentive drives behavior.

Training is also an integral part of making the transition. Reps want to feel comfortable and confident in the solution they are selling. If they feel like they can’t answer every question or overcome objections related to the new technology they will not be as motivated or passionate about it.

You must make the interactive solution the centerpiece of your offering and provide the sales team with the tools and resources that make it easy for the customer to buy it from them.

At ESX, you're presenting a session on using remote video and door control in residential installations. Many integrators know there's an opportunity there, but what do you see as the biggest reason to get into the market?
There are several great business reasons to offer interactive security, video and automation solutions, but the most important reason is that customers expect those to be available to them when choosing a security provider. We know that consumers are more educated than they ever have been thanks to the information available on the internet. We all do research before we make an important purchase.

So, customers are aware of the technology that exists today in our industry. Even if they are not ready for an interactive security or home automation system yet they want to know you are capable of providing it to them at some point. If not, you appear to be behind the technology curve and your credibility can be damaged.

For the first time ever, tablets are projected to surpass laptops in US sales for 2013 so the demand for better technology and more information in an increasingly mobile society is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. Providing a way for those consumers that are driving that demand to use their tablets and smart phones to actually see what’s going on at home while they are away or be notified when a certain door has been opened makes you a much more attractive choice over someone who doesn’t.

From a business perspective we know that there is a significant improvement in all of the key metrics when you begin to have some success in selling these solutions. The big one is attrition. Customers with video or interactive security stay longer and keeping your customers is what’s it’s all about.




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