Taking a Fresh Look at Dealer Programs
Installing contractor support programs have been around for decades but are they keeping pace with changing times? Learn how some programs are continuing to provide dealers with the support, branding and other assistance to succeed in an era of harsh economics, fierce competition, and emerging technologies and services.
Third-Party Monitoring Partners
Monitoring service programs presented by third-party central stations offer an assortment of benefits such as leads and sales training. Among these programs, some have a recognized consumer brand that serves as the compelling factor to enroll dealers. For the most part, however, monitoring programs center on purchasing monitoring contracts to provide dealers additional capital to grow their businesses.
There are different flavors to contract purchasing: Some programs mandate that dealers sell all of their contracts, while other programs offer the option to keep ownership of some contracts or provide the option to buy them back at a later date. While monitoring programs can readily make available needed capital to reinvest in a dealer’s business, participants will want to shop for the best multiple being offered.
“To determine multiples paid for accounts, the variables that define the quality of the account include credit scores, the number of customers a dealer has signed up for automatic electronic payments, customer installation price and length of customer agreement,” says Muawia Bishr, director of national accounts, for Dallas-based Monitronics, a wholesale monitoring provider.
For its part, the comprehensive authorized dealer program operated by Monitronics is about providing choice, Bishr says. Dealers choose Monitronics primarily for flexibility and stability.
“A few examples, as a Monitronics’ dealer you have the option to market your own name, co-brand, or both,” he says. “You’re not required to sell all your accounts; you can house accounts at your discretion. You’re also not restricted to use certain recurring revenues. Dealers have the flexibility to create their own service packages, including several interactive services offered.”
The newest player on the third-party central station landscape has a familiar name to many in the electronic security industry. Hagerstown, Md.-based Dynamark Monitoring Inc. officially opened its new UL-Listed monitoring center last month. A sister company to First Action Security Team, which supplies security products, training, marketing assistance and other support services to its customers, the monitoring center is the foundation of the Dynamark Dealer Program.
Both firms are Dynamark Security Centers Affiliated Companies, owned by Dynamark Founder Wayne Alter. Alter, who grew Dynamark Security Centers into the nation’s fifth-largest security company through the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, purchased First Action Security Team upon his return to the security industry in 2009 and reacquired the Dynamark brand.
According to the company’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing Tom Piston, flexibility will also be a cornerstone to the services offered by the new dealer program entrant. “The Dynamark Dealer Program is not about getting business because we have a contract. It’s about providing the value-added services that dealers need and want. Dynamark earns their business by providing what they need to grow,” he says.
Dynamark’s marketing support includes Web site development, brochure and direct mail design, sales training, trade show and home show assistance, and more. “We take into account the vertical markets the dealer sells to, along with local concerns, and the vision they have for their own business,” Piston says.
Vendors and Value-Add Services
Installing security contractors looking to immediately bolster their operations in a local or regional market may want to consider a full-service dealer program that offers national brand cachet or help with expanding a services portfolio.
Here, manufacturers as well other systems integrators allow the dealer to brand or co-brand with their company name. These programs can offer some of the best marketing and sales tools available, while providing hardware and systems that may have competitive advantages over the basic products that are available from their local distributors.
Beyond strong brand recognition, additional perks for dealers can include being assigned a protected territory, product discounts, strong organizational support and entry into new portfolio offerings such as interactive and managed services.
Comprising about 400 members, Honeywell’s First Alert Professional authorized dealer program is one such option to consider. Geared toward small to large residential and small to midsize commercial companies, dealers must be well-established in their territory to gain entry into the First Alert brand partnership. Among its highlights, members have access to the program’s Dealer Development Group (DDG), whose instructors travel to security dealer locations to provide customized training programs as well as train on new technologies.
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