Education at the Essence of Success

Security Sales & Integration

The Big Idea with Ron Davis
February, 2014

Education at the Essence of Success

Angela and Jorge TapanesIdea of the Month
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month we feature Jorge Tapanes (pictured with wife and business partner, Angela), President/CEO of Horizon Security Systems in Hialeah, Fla.

Jorge’s Big Idea:
Engineered systems, integrated systems, fire systems and access control are all becoming more accessible to smaller independent dealers, easier to understand and install, and priced in a way that opens up the market. Learn and become educated about the new products and services that are being offered. Attend every meeting, exposition, convention, and learn every way that you can!.

Angela and Jorge Tapanes are partners, in business as well as in life. I met them more than 35 years ago when I was conducting a sales seminar. I couldn’t help but notice their attentiveness and active participation. Over the years, they built one of the most rock-solid businesses in the Miami market. Horizon Security established a strong presence, both in the Cuban-American as well as mainstream communities.
Their business focused on residential and small commercial, and eventually they established their own UL-Listed central station and also built a substantial business in wholesale monitoring. They were among the first to offer bilingual (Spanish) alarm monitoring services. Today, they are still going strong, and whenever I’m in the Miami area, I have Jorge take me back to Little Havana for some of the best food!
The Tapanes’ work ethic was intense as anything I’ve seen. When I asked Jorge about his “big idea,” I didn’t expect the answer I received. Jorge replied that it wasn’t brain surgery back when he started, it was relatively simple. There was less than 5% market penetration residentially and probably less than half of the commercial market that should have had security, actually had it. He went on to urge young security installers to educate themselves as much as possible on new products and services.
Back in the day, my associates and I were pretty much the only ones in the industry doing any form of education and training, and most of that was about sales and marketing. The Internet has opened up training to the extent that you can become educated in virtually any technology, subject, installation and service technique. In fact, you can become certificated in most areas of security technology, marketing, sales, service, ad infinitum. But you must be proactive. You can even go to this magazine’s Web site ( for information regarding any subject you have an interest in, for example, and you will find programs, training, support, virtually anything you may want to use at your schedule, your convenience, your benefit.
I remember back in the mid-1980s, conducting a two-day seminar on how to develop a sales program that included prospecting, presentations, closing techniques and more. When we were talking about prospecting, I went through the usual methods available to us then, namely direct mail with telephone follow-up, and I could see there was still some skepticism. I asked the class — about 35 attendees — what they would do if they had to, literally, close a sale before the end of the day. There wasn’t one person who could visualize doing so. I challenged the group to forgo lunch, and come knocking on doors with me in the residential area directly behind the hotel. I hadn’t thought of the logistics, but once we got out on the street, I had 35 people spread out behind trees, cars and anywhere else where they could watch. I knocked on a few doors, and as I recall the third door, an elderly lady answered. I told her I was selling security systems and managed to set up an appointment for that night. I gave it to one of the attendees, who went on to close a sale. That was their training.
The training that’s available now is like the difference between a landline telephone and an iPhone. Take advantage of what is out there, plan, study, execute and — of course, what Jorge did not mention — work harder than anyone else.

Ron DavisRon Davis is Security Sales & Integration‘s “What’s the Big Idea?” columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International
in the 1980s.