Dealers Search World Wide Web for Sales Leads, Profits

Following the introduction of the first newspaper, the world began to shrink, so to speak. With the introductions of the telegraph, telephone, television, radio, fax machines, e-mail and the Internet, every person on Earth has become increasingly more accessible.

With the entire world at our fingertips almost immediately via the Internet, the real question on everyone’s mind is what to do with it?

As alarm dealers set up sites on the World Wide Web, they attract hits from as far away as Israel and as close as right down the block.

While some dealers expected the web would cocoon miracle-sized profits, others just jumped on hoping to test its strengths and weaknesses. Dealers have learned that looks, content and accessibility have everything to do with the number of hits on the site as well as whether the hit is profit-able. Dealers have discovered though, that relations with manufacturers and central stations have become simpler and virtually paperless by communicating via the web. So, while it may not lure in the unsuspect-ing potential customer, the web has be-come a communications gold mine be-tween dealers and their vendors.

Have Web Sites Met Dealers’ Great Expectations?

Dealers’ web sites range from simple home pages listing a few services and how to contact service providers to huge sites filled with products, services, safety information and links to other security-related sites, such as associations.

Safe Security, Inc. in Buffalo, N.Y., for instance, created a web site less than a year ago as a beta test. “I’m not looking for an increase in sales, I’m looking for the potential value it [the web] may have to a local company,” says Gene Franklin, president of Safe Security.

Jeffery Prough, president of Guardian Alarm Company, Inc. in Southfield, Mich., crawled onto the web the same way. “When we first went on the web about one-and-a-half years ago, we simply wanted to try to determine if it was a vi-able resource,” he says.

Accessibility, Looks, Content, Generate Response

Response to a web site, as with regular advertising, has as much to do with looks, content and accessibility as anything else. A web site is similar to a yellow-page ad. It says what you do. On the Internet, however, alarm companies can go into much more detail because the site can include as many pages as they choose.

Guardian Alarm has tried a multi-pronged effect on its web pages. The company has presented not only the com-pany, its history and position, but also all of its products and services. The site uses multimedia technology, including some audio and video sections that also are used for TV and radio marketing campaigns. Guardian even posts employment oppor-tunities, public service tips and links to sev-eral other web sites, such as the FBI.

However, no matter how nice a site is, customers must be able to find it. Beyond the search engines, like Yahoo and Excite, alarm dealers are using some traditional methods to ensure local customers visit their site. They make sure the web ad-dress is on business cards, literature, ads and even on the side of the service and installation trucks.

Links to Central Station, Manufac-turer End Paper Trail

The web also has helped alarm dealers find needed information for their busi-nesses. Most associations and publications now are on the web and many manufac-turers include product information on web sites. Most agree that it has helped, al-though not everyone takes advantage of it to the same degree.

Franklin doesn’t always use the Internet to get information from a manufacturer. He says it’s a lot easier dialing an (800) number. But when he wanted to get a registered trademark for his logo, he used the web. “I downloaded all the forms I needed, filled them out, mailed them in and in no time at all, I had my trademark reg-istered, a really convenient, fast way to do it,” he says.

For dealers who don’t yet have web sites, the consensus from those that do is that it’s probably a good idea, although they are not in agreement as to why.

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Tagged with: Features

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Commercial Integrator + Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add to your bottom line.

A FREE subscription to the top resource for security and integration industry will prove to be invaluable.

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters