Don’t Go It Alone: Dealer Programs Can Help

From established companies to small or start-up operators, there’s a dealer program out there that can support your business model. It all depends on what your company can benefit from the most and what your end game is.

Dealer programs come in all shapes and sizes, whether offered by manufacturers or monitoring companies. Programs by manufacturers are typically based on providing marketing and sales support, while programs by monitoring companies are heavily into offering financial support and cash flow dealers might not be able to tap into otherwise.

Obviously there are more features and benefits to joining a dealer program. Here is a compilation of dealer program administrators and their core services offerings.

Security Pro Program Connects Its Dealers Through the Web

Up until this past January, the Security Pro program by GE Interlogix had been in remodeling mode since the company launched its new name in June 2002. Michael Benedict, director of the Security Pro program, says the company’s trademark is the big attraction to the program. “A lot of dealers are doing business with companies doing business outside of this market, so the national footprint is important,” he says.

Johns Brothers Security in Norfolk, Va., joined the Security Pro program after using the company’s products for 20 years. It wanted to further separate itself from the competition.

“We’re in a fortunate situation where our name has been around for more than 100 years, but the GE name is only going to enhance that,” says Woody Parsons, vice president of the company. “We’re already established so we use it mainly for marketing support.”

Bosch Certified Dealer Program Provides Trademark for Integrators

Bosch Security Systems of Fairport, N.Y., offers two programs: the Director Series program and Bosch Certified Dealer program.

The Director Series program, launched last summer, originates from the former Detection Systems program. “Since then, its structure and premise have been undergoing changes,” says Len Friedman, director of dealer operations for North America. “It will be evolving into a distribution program and changes will be disclosed in the second quarter.”

Director Series is not an official authorized program and does not include marketing support. It offers a limited number of security dealers semi exclusivity within a market area on the Detection System brand of controls and peripheral products.

Bosch’s Certified Dealer program was formally launched September 2002. It is suited for commercial dealers/integrators that work with consultants, architects or engineers that specify products. “When you go into the business world of industrial and institutional, Bosch has a powerful name,” Friedman adds.

Friedman says this program will include product training and exclusivity. The company is also increasing its marketing support. It will launch a six-city tour in June to introduce more than a dozen new marketing programs for the group. The new programs are expected to go into effect July 1.

First Alert Program Enables Dealers to Network, Work Together

The First Alert program has changed throughout the years to reflect industry practices. “We’ll be aggressive in marketing, then heavily into product development. We try to balance it out according to dealer demand,” says Rick Koscinski, First Alert’s director of dealer development.

Dealers receive specialized training, custom marketing and exclusive products. Koscinski adds that a newly formed dealer development group made up of a sales and technical team trains dealers on detailed selling methods and prospecting to commercial clients, among other practices. First Alert also offers a co-op advertising fund where 3 percent of all Ademco purchases go to a dealer’s co-op fund, which can be used for any type of marketing expense with the First Alert name.

Helping dealers get into the commercial market is First Alert’s main goal for 2003, Koscinski says. Dealers will be trained in three phases covering all commercial sales aspects for access control and CCTV.

HAI Program Generates Sales Leads for Its Dealers

New Orleans-based Home Automation Inc. (HAI) has a broad dealer program with one major goal. “The key benefit to our dealers is the sales leads we generate from our Web site,” says Jay McLellan, president of HAI. “It may just be a call from a potential customer; otherwise, they can express an interest by filling out a form from our site and we’ll forward the lead to our dealers. We don’t have an application process for dealers or certify them. It’s always been this way.”

A big part of the sales support is training a dealer’s sales staff on PowerPoint presentations to homeowners and builders and how to properly sell an HAI system by focusing on certain features during the selling process. McLellan says this is helpful for security dealers since they may use the fear factor, not a system’s features, to sell security systems.

“You have to go into a customer’s home knowing what to sell. You’ve got to go in there and say this works with this,” he says. “You have to focus on some very sellable issues.”

Brink’s Trains Dealers on All Levels, Purchases All Accounts

The authorized program by Brink’s Home Security of Irving, Texas, provides dealers with sales leads from its cable TV advertising and collateral material such as brochures, ad slicks and more to help dealers customize their Yellow-Page ads and other forms of advertising. Services also include sales and technical training on proprietary equipment programming and central station and operations procedures.

Dealers must also use proprietary alarm equipment and sell all of their accounts to the company. “The average price for each account is $850,” says Clark Smith, director of dealer operations.

About 90 percent of a dealer’s revenue comes from the purchased accounts. The revenue sharing begins after accounts have been ongoing for six months. Each dealer also has a dedicated due diligence clerical staff member who works with the dealer on their individual weekly funding.

Monitronics Program Lets Dealers Decide When to Sell Accounts

The dealer program by Monitronics Int’l Inc. of Dallas provides marketing along with a range of services. “We have everything from monitoring services to customer service, dealer support to equipment and hardware, account funding and providing capital to dealers,” says Michael Gregory, vice president of sales and marketing.

Marketing support includes collateral literature, signage, trade show booths, sales premiums, and online access to order these materials. Dealers own their accounts until they decide to sell them to the company.

Gregory says Monitronics’ account purchasing program is flexible enough to give dealers control of the accounts they sell. “On average, a typical dealer might be installing 30 systems per month and maybe selling 90 percent of his accounts depending on his cash-flow needs,” he says.

Dealers can also generate additional profit if they qualify to receive a portion of Monitronics’ billing. Based on the performance of the account, upon certain attrition rate thresholds, Gregory says dealers can receive up to 10 percent of the company’s billing fees.

Counterforce Program Offers Account Funding Twice Per Week

Houston-based Counterforce USA’s dealer program offers account purchasing, revenue sharing, technical support, customer service, marketing materials and more.

Dealers must sell approximately 30 of their accounts to Counterforce for an average multiple of 31 times the recurring monthly revenue (RMR) they collect from the customer. Ken Salinas, vice president of business development, says most dealers sell 100 percent of their accounts, while others tend to keep at least 10 to 15 percent. “The goal is looking to keep<

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