Tribute to a Sales Trainer: Bill Kuchon

Doug Eaton by Doug Eaton | 05.12.2014

We lost a great friend and industry icon recently. Bill Kuchon passed away on March 14, 2014. Before Bill retired from Honeywell, I had the privilege of working with him for many years while part of the First Alert Professional dealer program. Bill’s role was sales training; a role he enjoyed immensely and met with extreme enthusiasm and excitement. This role he played in the final working years of his life seemed a natural transition from his previous careers as a professional actor and teacher. He obviously did not invent sales training, but his style of training often had a room full of new security professionals standing and shouting things they just had learned about prospecting or closing. Even industry veterans would join in on these sessions as they felt there was always something to gain from time spent with Bill.

Many people may remember Bill portraying the bumbling alarm sales “professional” Bill DePill. Bill DePill was the star of many videos that showed how not to act with a prospect or fumble the close and not ask for referrals. Bill also enjoyed playing Elvis and made several guest appearances at the First Alert Professional conventions and at many dealers’ offices. Below is a video I edited based on some of my favorite video memories of Bill.

One of Bill’s most exciting sales training sessions was what he called the “You Are the Lightning!” tour. Using a video clip of an old Frankenstein classic, he discussed how the monster was nothing more than a collection of body parts until the lightning brought him to life (It’s alive, it’s aaallllive…”). Bill then analogized how salespeople who simply read from a script were lifeless until THEY brought it to life, therefore they WERE THE LIGHTNING! This always ended with Bill acting out the scenes of the Frankenstein monster by laying on the floor or a table then coming to life and screaming with all the participants that YOU ARE THE LIGHTNING, YOU ARE THE LIGHTNING!! Bill even had ball caps made with lightning bolts and handed them out to all those attending.

Bill Kuchon did have a serious side and often expressed this when guiding new sales trainees on their roles as Life Safety Consultants. He was an avid reader and student of sales training techniques and introduced many topics he learned into his sessions. He created or was the inspiration for many of the training materials, videos and scripts that are still used by First Alert Professionals today. Bill Kuchon touched many people in the security industry and he will be truly missed.