This week I had opportunity to attend the semi-annual USAV Integrators meeting in Tampa, Florida and I must say it was one of the best I’ve attended since ISI joined the group in 2007. I particularly enjoyed the presentations that Bob Lobascio and Len D’Innocenzo from Corporate Sales Coaches made regarding the business challenges and sales strategies dealing with the various (DISC) personality types. That would include clients and prospects who tend to be more Dominant, Influencing, Steady and Compliant. Seems to me that in the hyper- competitive PRO AV sales environment in 2015, getting a keener understanding of how to “up our sales game” will not only allow ISI to compete more effectively now but in the future as well.
Also, Chuck Wilson from NSCA gave a great presentation about the future of the PRO AV industry and various trends in 2014-2015 that included 1) Continued Margin Erosion 2) New Competition from Adjacent Technology Sectors 3) Increased Technical Complexity Required to Simplify Solutions 4) Industry Consolidation, Mergers, Acquisitions, Partnerships etc. 5) Changing Expectations of the Customer Experience. Chuck also presented important information about recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and the value of building that component of an integrator's business in order to build future value. Very valuable information that could have huge impact on many USAV members in the future.
Another presentation that was both eye opening (and disturbing) was made by Rick Harlow who is Special Agent in charge of the US Secret Service office in Memphis. Rick provided some valuable insights to USAV members about both insider and outside threats to small business that includes not only employee embezzlement but issues like cyber-crimes like identity theft and ransom ware. Scary stuff that really got a lot of us thinking about how vulnerable we all are.
That was certainly not a new feeling for me since I had already dealt with an employee embezzlement case back in 2003. In fact, with Rick’s help(and the US Attorney’s office) we were able to put our “thief” in federal prison for over 8 years. I detailed the whole saga in my first book, “Keep Swinging.”
While it is a difficult subject to talk about, I think discussing how your business is vulnerable to criminal activity is important for everyone's continued success. Being a member of USAV continues to show value beyond AV industry trends.