On the Lookout for the Right Dealer Program

Perhaps this made-up classified ad applies to you:

Hard-working independent installing security contractor seeks partnership to best help position his company for growth in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Any independent dealer with such an objective will find no shortage of potential suitors, large and small, including manufacturers, monitoring companies and other service providers. While there may be plenty of fish in the sea, landing a partnership that meets an individual dealer’s unique needs and requirements can only come with thorough consideration of a whole host of factors.

The distinguishing characteristics among the many flavors of dealer programs can only be found in the details. Be prepared to evaluate the various offerings of training and educational coursework, lead generation tools, marketing and sales materials, product discounts, and numerous other program features. Maybe one program offers better networking opportunities or technical support vs. another. The multiple paid to you for your monitored accounts, should you choose to sell them, will vary, too. Strict qualifying criteria may also play a role in your decision making. Only due diligence will help ascertain the best fit for your company.

Cachet via Brand Familiarity

For a security contractor desiring the resources to gain immediate standing in a territory, there may be no quicker means than aligning his/her operation with a manufacturer that has built a national presence. Vendors benefit from authorized dealer programs by extending their footprint into an increasing population of potential and current customers. Besides gaining instant brand recognition, the advantages for dealers can include being assigned a protected territory, discounts on an exclusive product line, and abundant sales and organizational support.

With about 400 active dealers, Honeywell’s First Alert Professional Security Systems authorized dealer program is designed for small to large residential companies and small to midsize commercial companies.

Dealers must be well-established in their territory to gain entry into the First Alert brand partnership. A strong desire to grow their company along with meeting annual minimum purchase requirements based on size of their area is also required. The program provides services such as extensive technical training, custom marketing programs and materials, and supplier discounts.

“The opportunity with First Alert and the Honeywell authorized program is second to none,” says Joe Nuccio, president of Beltsville, Md.-based ASG Security. “The co-op marketing program I think is exceptional. My sales and marketing vice president said just about a month ago, ‘Joe, this is the best thing that we ever did for our company.’ As I kind of look around and think about it, it is true. It has been a very positive program.” 

First Alert also provides its members with invaluable opportunity for networking and camaraderie at its annual dealer convention, held at resorts around the United States. Each year the event is replete with educational sessions and open discussions on First Alert products and services. The chief goal of the convention is to foster team spirit and a commitment to enhanced sales.

“The biggest benefit that I get from being a First Alert Pro dealer is they bring the best dealers in the industry to the table,” says Joe Hassan, president of Certified Security Systems in Jacksonville, Fla. “With that comes the best methods and practices, and I’m able to learn by interacting with these guys right there, having these discussions, and they facilitate that.”

One of the newest entries into the national electronic security installing landscape is the Smith & Wesson Authorized Dealer Network. NationWide Digital Monitoring Co. of Freeport, N.Y., unveiled its exclusive licensing agreement with the legendary gun manufacturer last year.

The program is targeting traditional dealers that have been in business for at least three years. Here, too, the iconic Smith & Wesson branding offers participants instant recognition in their territory. Dealers will have access to both hardwired and wireless OEM alarm products branded with the Smith & Wesson name and logo. It is hoped that will be enough marketing and support ammunition for dealers to succeed even in these especially challenging times.

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