By: David Crow, VP of Sales East

Like most of us, when we are looking for a service technician, restaurant, or other shopping experience, we look for a brand that we trust, a service technician who has proven delivery and consistent results, a mechanic who is honest and not just trying to get your money, but when we are seeking new things or a new service provider, we research and try to figure out what makes them better or what differentiates them from the other competitors. The security industry is no different.

When someone reaches out to us because they are looking for a new provider, they have done their research or, at a minimum, “Googled” our brand. The security industry is extremely competitive today in all aspects: man-guarding, technology, and even cyber-security. The playing field is leveling out because of the talent now hitting the market. Many articles or people I talk to tell me that by the time they reach out or I get to an introductory meeting, they are already more than 60% down the decision road. They can access the web for information, Glassdoor, Indeed, and other job posting sites to see what our employees say. So, this highlights the importance of what a BRAND truly means.

One of the first questions I am often asked is, “What differentiates DSI from the other companies?” When I was first asked this question, or even as far back as when I was a customer, and I asked that same question, I was looking for, and what many folks today expect to hear how innovative and technology savvy my company is. What new “toy” or “gimmick” will I show up with that no one else has? But honestly, in today’s market and the incredibly fast evolution of the security industry, we all have access to the same toys, technology, and capabilities. So that part comes down to cost and knowing how to apply it and maximize the benefits. But to me, these are NOT differentiators. They are capabilities and proficiencies. While this impacts the decision, it does not differentiate one company from another.

So, what is a differentiator? Why is DSI DISTINCTIVELY DIFFERENT? Some will call it brand, and some may call it culture. When I explain it, I call it value, our nature, commitment, and passion. DWYSYWD (Do What You Say You Will Do) is not a catchphrase. It is not unique, and it is not philosophically magnanimous or even brilliant. It is the core of our personality, our passion, and what makes doing business with us a unique experience. We are not perfect; we make mistakes and rely on our officers to be there, doing the right thing at the right time, day in and day out. We expect our technicians and installers to arrive on time with the right equipment, fix the issue, or deliver a high-quality install that works without issue. But when we do miss or make a mistake, we will fix it with fast response and corrective action, and we will be there when we say we will. That is different!

Having this as our differentiator often needs explanation. This company was founded out of a need from a “friend” in 1969. It was created by a man, a family, who believed that when a friend calls and needs help or support, you deliver. Building a company around a culture of support and delivery is not easy and can easily go astray and become about the revenue, the profit, the name, and notoriety. But if you have a foundation built on integrity, doing what’s best for the employees and the customer, you have the beginnings of making this a true differentiator. DSI is a family-owned and grown company. It is that way for a reason and has stayed that way due to commitment and focus. Our growth has been because we work hard and earn it. Not because we bought it or “merged” with it. The leadership at DSI is truly unmatched or even like any other medium to large company out there. I have the unique experience of having many (some would say way too many) years as a customer and looking at companies as a purchaser/end-user, not a seller/provider. I have also competed against many different companies, big, small, international, and new start-ups. As I stated, it is competitive at every level, so finding the difference is important. Let me share my perspective on why we are DISTINCTIVELY DIFFERENT.

Start at the top, The Clark family. The son and daughter-in-law of the company’s founder are actively involved and dedicated to the team. Just ask or watch them in their daily activities. They do what they say they will do and go out of their way to support and help a team member, no matter what role or position they hold. I have been with Alan walking into sites to meet with top executives at large companies, but he will always stop and talk to everyone he meets, from the person letting him in the door to the administrative staff signing him in. It does not matter; he simply respects and admires people and what they are willing to share. It must start with a value, a passion, or a culture.

Then, look at the leadership today. Two top executives (Eddie Sorrells and Gene Sanders) are proven industry leaders. Eddie has earned international leadership roles within ASIS, not just our company. Gene has worked from entry-level management roles to now being the COO of a multi-million dollar holistic security provider. Combined, they have over 55 years of service with DSI. Passion, commitment, and trust in the leaders deliver loyalty! Not just words but true examples. Next, look across the company. We have officers, branch leaders, and regional leaders who have been with us for over 20 years, some as many as 30 years. Great talent is hard to find; keeping great talent is even harder to accomplish with the growing and expanding world of opportunities, but these people choose to stay here.

The next piece, and fortunate for us here at DSI, is the next generation of Clarks! Yes, a third generation of Clarks stays focused and dedicated to what was started 55 years ago! They have earned their roles. Unlike most family companies, these leaders had to build their knowledge, experience the work, and earn promotions. Senior Vice Presidents of Operations and Sales are not simple titles but their commitment to success. Think it through. One is responsible for reaching out, finding new opportunities, leading, and crafting the message to win new business. The other one is responsible for ensuring we are doing what our motto, DWYSYWD, means: deliver, every and all the time, period!

So why do I say it is distinctively different? Like many aspects of where one chooses to live, work, and shop, we choose where to interact and who we interact with based on what works for us, makes us feel comfortable, and we have confidence that when we need something, it will be there. I can genuinely say DSI is that place and provider for our customers and employees. It might not be that place for everyone for various reasons, but we are what we say we are. We don’t mix fact with fiction; while we are not perfect, we are true to our team, our customers, and our word. And that starts at the top and runs down to the officer on a part-time post. So, what makes us DISTINCTIVELY DIFFERENT are Marty Clark, Alan Clark, Eddie Sorrells, Gene Sanders, Boyd Clark, and Deavours Clark. Their leadership, support, loyalty, and confidence in their integrity are unmatched in the industry. Those of us on the team are here by choice, and many have had a chance to go to other places but are still here. Our customers have many choices but choose to stay because of who our team is and what we deliver.

So next time you are looking for any security service vendor and want to know what makes them different, can they tell you, or are they just selling a gadget or a gimmick? DSI will tell you those things are just the minimum aspects to be in “the game.” What makes the difference in who you truly trust with your security needs should be someone you trust first—a company that earns your business by constantly listening and growing the relationship. Share the ups and downs and are not defensive when they make a mistake but are willing to own it, correct it, and work to prevent it in the future. A company willing to share innovation, leading-edge thinking, and ideas by first understanding your company’s culture and expectations. A company whose leaders and team are people you would want to be neighbors with. DSI is DISTINCTIVELY DIFFERENT because we want to be and, most importantly, because we are!