How it all began
Founder Dave Lindsey's story, in Dave's words
During our first months in business we sold 6, then 15, then 30 security systems per month as we "learned the ropes" and recruited team members. By September 1998, we had assembled a team of 10 people. I really wanted to start the team out with a bang. I needed a catalyst, a point of focus, and I found it in a sales contest being conducted by ADT called, "Best Over Quota Contest." Each dealer's quota was based on the previous three months sales. I believed we had a great opportunity to win since our previous three months quota would be only 17 units. The prize was $15,000.
We went to work... selling, selling, selling. My living room was converted into our Sales Meeting War Room, my favorite artwork was covered up with a makeshift sales board and my entertainment center became an employee mailbox system. Administrative paperwork was handled from my back bedroom, complete with a board stretched out on the bed to form a desk, a computer and a borrowed fax machine. Side meetings and training sessions were often held on the front lawn. We were ENTREPRENEURS, making the rules up as we went.
We had no fear and knew we had a great product and wanted to meet as many people as possible. We went out together each day, feeding off each other's energy, encouraging each other and protecting as many families as we could find.
I was optimistic about our chances. Halfway through the month I placed a call to ADT headquarters, anxious to hear that we were one of the top companies. Instead I found out very CHALLENGING news. Our quota was not the 17 I expected, but due to fact we were new, we were assigned the minimum quota of 45! Nearly triple what we were originally targeting!
I remember that moment. I felt very alone. The whole team was in the other room getting psyched up for another big day. Just when we thought we were on our way to being big winners, the finish line had been moved way off into the distance.
As I looked into the mirror in our back bedroom/office, a smile quickly came over my face. WOW! What a problem to have. Only 60 days earlier we had sold 15 systems and now I was worried about winning a national sales contest. At that moment I asked myself one very simple question, "Is this challenge bigger than me, or am I bigger than it?". The answer was "I am bigger than it!".
So I walked out into the living room, looked each team member right in the eye and told them the new quota. Then I directed our focus to the good news. It was only half way through the month, we had sold 45 systems and were already at quota. We still had two weeks to ‘beat' that quota and do our best to win the contest. We walked out of that meeting, hit the field and had our best day yet!
We took it up a notch or two during those last two weeks and worked long hard days. Our installation crew tripled capacity to make sure all the systems we sold were installed the next day. By the end of the month, we had sold AND INSTALLED 142 security systems! We were 316% above our quota and 835% above our three month historical average.
Our team traveled with great pride to Denver, CO for the annual ADT convention and the excitement began to build. The weekend ended with a banquet. We were awarded top prize out of 350+ dealers around the nation! Our proud team walked away with the $15,000 check that night! DEFENDER had become a top member of the ADT Dealer Program.
Over the next few years we would set many visions and achieve them the same way. Two months after that banquet we opened our second office and sold 125 systems from that office in the first month. We made a pledge to open a new office every 90 days, and we did, ending our first year with four offices.
We won that award because we believed we could. During our first year I watched as an engineer tried out sales management and not only excelled but quickly became a regional manger. A janitor joined our team and became the top regional sales person for ADT. A construction worker who was told that "he couldn't do sales" became a top rep and then a top branch manager. A frustrated star sales person found a place to use her know-how and apply it to building her own branch, without a lot of bureaucratic red tape. The list goes on and on… But all these people did one thing: THEY COMMITTED TO A VISION.
DEFENDER is a place where people are able to RE-INVENT themselves and the company for the better. We've always tried to feed the "focused passions and dreams" that our key employees have brought with them as they have joined our team. We sure have come a long way from those early days of pounding the pavement door-to-door. The $15,000 that we won that night was not a great deal of money in the scheme of things, but it was a huge symbol of the culture we are always developing and building at DEFENDER.