Will a Dealer Program Deal You the Right Hand?
Independent security installers searching to pinpoint the right dealer program have much to consider. Getting a handle your specific business needs and expectations, as well as understanding your obligations to a program, are key. Read on to create your own roadmap for locating the right partnership.
Seek Programs With Open Line of Communication
The most comprehensive programs reach out to dealers on a consistent basis. Account managers are assigned to provide one-on-one portfolio management, reviewing metrics and finding avenues for improvement, as well as enhancing business efficiencies and best practices. One example to consider is having a “cost creation model” that identifies where dealer costs are going and, at the end of the day, how much they’re making per account, Mungiguerra says.
Members of dealer programs should expect communication to be a two-way street in achieving business goals, says Sandy Jones, principal of Chardon, Ohio-based Sandra Jones & Co., a consulting and business support and services provider and a member of SSI’s editorial board.
“It’s a relationship. The provider needs to listen to you to find out what you think is missing, what you think needs to be refined,” she says. “What is really a key is very often the program is generalized, and what the needs are of a small company versus a large company are completely different. You have to make sure that the dealer program is serving more dealers that look just like you.”
Identifying a dealer program that meshes with your specific business requirements and meets your expectations of what you need from the partnership is a key part of the exploration process.
“Having come from another dealer program originally, we had only the ‘corporate’ feeling of support to compare to,” says Jason Cane, vice president of sales of Vancouver, Wash.-based Nationwide Security Solutions, which made the 2012 Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies. “Being with Monitronics and the one-on-one relationships with each department is a night-and-day difference. The mentality of the team at Monitronics, in our relationship with them, has been to say yes — as opposed to the ‘no’ that was trained to be given at the other program — or to find a way to make it happen and work for both parties’ success.”
Independent security providers that enter the market looking for short-term growth and lack of customer focus do not make good partners for dealer programs that foster long-term relationships, says John Madden, vice present of Vector Security’s dealer group. Along with traditional support services, Vector’s authorized dealer program provides its members a variety of interactive service offerings, including mobile solutions, video solutions and energy management. To help maintain a close partnership, each dealer is assigned to a personalized dealer support representative.
“Our concentration is not only on the customer experience, but the dealer experience,” Madden says. “We have a focused and hard-working team that is dedicated to assisting each of our dealers run a successful business.”
New Entrants Continue to Emerge With Focus on New Services
Among the new players to the dealer program landscape is Monitor America, which recently moved into SecureWatch24’s Fusion Centre, a 25,000-square-foot central station in Moonachie, N.J. The firm hired industry veteran Steve Ipson as its director of business development, operating a diversity of video surveillance applications, including event-driven video for verification of alarms, virtual guard tours, video escort services, hosted services and more.
“What’s happening in the industry today with the proliferation of cameras all over the place is what do you do with all this video? How do you provide value to your customers? And that’s what we’re here for, to provide that value component to the customers who have already made the investment in their video cameras and systems that they have,” Ipson says.
The company just launched an effort to actively recruit dealers and integrators from across the nation. The incentive? Monitor America will announce at ISC West in April the first 100 dealers to join the program in 2013 will receive free monitoring for one year no matter how many accounts they have. Technologically savvy dealers and integrators need only apply, however. While it will offer support initiatives common to traditional dealer programs, the company is focusing on potential members that are engaged in commercial vertical markets, since that is where the greatest amount of business opportunity exists to sell video services.
“A good partner has to be somebody that understands the IP network and is actively engaged in it today. All of this is going to come back over an IP connection to the Fusion Centre,” Ipson explains. “Dial-up is not going to be a part of that video model.”
SAFE Security unveiled its SAFE Dealer Network in 2012 following a move to new corporate headquarters in San Ramon, Calif., and a complete upgrade of its central station. “Expansion capabilities were important in the transition to our corporate offices, and we are ready to assimilate entire or partial account bases as well as organic growth from dealers,” says Chancy Pray, national director of sales, SAFE Security.
SAFE’s program offers a wide range of services to support the business and marketing needs of large and smaller dealers. However, interested parties can expect to be thoroughly vetted.
“The biggest challenge we see in new dealer applicants is usually their experience, followed by their long-term business plan. Any successful company has to be able to recognize its own weaknesses and make adjustments and improvements,” Pray explains. “Our industry is not terribly difficult to learn, but it does have to be learned. For those dealers who need a little friendly business advice, we are happy to help guide them. After all, their success is our success.”
Rodney Bosch is Managing Editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (310) 533-2426 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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