Digging Into Dealer Programs
Independent security dealers on the hunt for some advice on identifying just the right dealer program look no further. Here’s an overview of the services and benefits to be had, expectations providers may have of participants, plus a program sampling.
Independent security dealers have no shortage of partnership suitors that want to provide the support necessary to create flourishing installation businesses. Across North America, security product manufacturers, central stations and other service providers promote a multitude of authorized dealer programs.
Drilling down to find just the right match is a process not to be taken without due consideration. You’ll want to conduct your own research, as well as inquire with industry colleagues about their experiences — unearth the good, bad and the ugly. Your research project can begin on the Internet since many national and regional dealer programs provide a basic outline of services and member expectations on company Web sites.
When speaking with a would-be partner, be prepared to be asked about and eventually provide documentation for all requisite licensing. Oftentimes, being admitted into a program will require you to undergo due diligence that includes background investigations. The level of inquiry can vary greatly among the different flavors of programs and contracting providers.
Most importantly, ask pointed questions; cross-examination is a necessary exercise. You will be severely remiss not to uncover specific answers affecting your livelihood before making a commitment. For instance, what are the program’s main benefits? Will you retain your customers? What level of technical support does the program provide?
Determine what specific assistance your company needs most to be successful, both in the short and long terms. Maybe it’s financial assistance you require to help make product purchases. How about finding a partner that offers narrowly focused training to help you and your staff begin selling managed services? Maybe it’s time to consider a program that offers a nationally-recognized brand that could help open up more doors.
And what provider expectations make you a likely candidate to be accepted or not into these programs? The essence of that question is simple. The most successful dealer programs all share a singular purpose: To recruit dealer companies that strive to grow their companies. Common membership criteria can include a minimum number of years of experience, an established client base, a forward-thinking business plan and, it can’t be emphasized enough, a demonstrated ability to provide superior customer service.
To help you begin the process of identifying a potential dealer program (or to find a new one), what follows is only a sampling of available programs to consider.
ADT Authorized Dealer Program
Program highlights: National brand awareness, lead generation, wide variety of training and credit lines with major equipment suppliers. Advertising tools coordinate with ADT’s national advertising campaign, including sample direct-mail pieces, Yellow Page ads, home show display tips, radio scripts, newspaper ads and more.
AES-Intellinet Master Dealer Program
Program highlights: Membership is restricted to installing security contractors that own and operate an AES-IntelliNet wireless mesh system. Members receive product discounts, free marketing materials, dealer financing and lending plans, educational workshops and training seminars.
Alarm Capital Alliance (ACA)
Program highlights: ACA’s Affiliate Program provides a flexible source of capital by purchasing bulk accounts from independent dealers that want to raise cash without being strapped with interest payments and without losing all of the revenue streams from the accounts they sell. Will buy anywhere from 100 to 5,000 accounts based on a multiple of RMR and holdback of a portion of the purchase price.
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