Summer-sales model companies show savvy in sales and elsewhere

Utah-based alarm companies expand philanthropic deeds, public relations efforts
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Monday, December 1, 2008

PROVO, Utah--Now that they’re regularly racking up tens of thousands of accounts in a season, the most successful of the summer-sales model alarm companies are showing the industry that they also know something about public relations.

Companies like ApxAlarm and Platinum Protection are dedicating significant time and resources to outreach and philanthropic efforts in the communities they serve and they’re making sure the word gets out about these efforts.

Negative press about problematic sales personnel have been a sore spot for these companies, which have responded by changing and improving internal processes. They also seem to be perfecting their damage control tactics. When, for example, there’s a problem with an installation or one of its sales teams, ApxAlarm-which expects to add 185,000 accounts in 2008 alone-has been quick to dispatch a senior executive across the country to deal with an unhappy customer or local news station reporting on unhappy customers.

Apx has received positive press for charitable efforts including: helping victims of Hurricane Ike; making the largest donation in history to the Utah Community Action Services Food Bank; and announcing plans to raise $25,000 for needy families this holiday season.
“APX’s mission is to protect families but this goes beyond just providing a world class emergency response service to hundreds of thousands of families, it includes doing our part to protect the most vulnerable families in the communities we serve,” said Alex Dunn, COO of Apx Alarm.

Similarly, Platinum’s CEO Jared Hallows flew to San Antonio last summer to attend a meeting of South Texas alarm companies who were concerned about summer sales companies. “I went to the meeting with a representative from Monitronics,” he said. “It went well and I think they appreciated that there’s a face and a person behind the summer sales forces. Every company has issues. [We wanted them to know] that if there are issues, we want to get them solved.” Platinum sent Jake Nielson, head of corporate communications, and Mike Melzer, legal affairs manager, to attend a neighborhood association meeting in Atlanta where residents gathered to talk about door-to-door sales people.

“They were appreciative of us and we were appreciative of them,” Nielson said.
In terms of charitable efforts, Hallows said Platinum has been involved in local food drives and other fundraisers and the company intends to take these efforts national. “One of our core values is commitment to the communities we operate in, and we want to find more ways to help them out and [at the same time] further legitimize our company.”