‘Don’t Take Short Cuts,’ Says NationWide President

As some of you may have already heard, famed firearms maker Smith & Wesson announced last spring it was entering the electronic security business by partnering with Freeport, N.Y.-based NationWide Digital Monitoring, a division of New York Merchants Protective Co. Inc. The licensing agreement allows NationWide to establish an authorized North American program that exclusively provides dealers with wholesale monitoring services plus Smith & Wesson’s iconic branding on products and supporting materials.

This means independent installing security companies now have an opportunity to affiliate themselves with one of the most trusted and renowned brand names that exists today, and leverage that to compete with larger rivals and grow their businesses. The upcoming March issue of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION (our big show edition) has the complete story with my exclusive interview featuring two principals involved in this exciting new program. One of them, NationWide Digital President Wayne Wahrsager, supplied more material than I could squeeze into the article. I share that with you here as he addresses some pressing issues confronting the industry right now.

(l-r) NationWide Digital Monitoring President Wayne Wahrsager and sons Eric Wahrsager, director of marketing, and Aaron Wahrsager, director of monitoring operations, hope their company’s new partnership with Smith & Wesson will prove fruitful.

How is Nationwide being affected by the recession? What effects do you believe the recession will have on the new Smith & Wesson dealer program?

Wayne Wahrsager: In times of recession all business feels some impact. Many alarm dealers find that customers are a little slower to pay, or may cancel service because they can not afford the monthly monitoring. Unfortunately for society, but beneficial to our industry, is the likelihood that in times of recession there tends to be an increase in crime and burglaries. We believe our Smith & Wesson dealers will be able to push forward by helping protect people in these times of uncertainty. The investment in a security system to protect family and home is actually very minimal considering what is being safeguarded. There is no price that can be put on the safety of a family. By offering services that include monitoring for smoke, carbon monoxide and intrusion, we are optimistic our dealers will be able to stay the course and grow their businesses.

What opportunities excite you the most about the electronic security industry right now? Conversely, what issues or challenges keep you up at night?

Wahrsager: The opportunity to bring back “value” to an alarm system excites us the most. Free systems have given the alarm industry a bad reputation and actually provide zero value to customers. Our dealers intend to bring back to the industry the meaning of “value.” What keeps me up at night is both the excitement of the future and making sure we do everything we can to support these dealers so they can grow their businesses.

What are the keys to the successful operation of an alarm/security provider today? What can companies do to persevere these tough times?

Wahrsager: I believe there is one ingredient that a dealer must do to persevere in these times, and that is to keep costs under control. This can be done in two ways. First, don’t take shortcuts on the installation, either by using inferior product or by not keeping on top of installers to make sure the installation is up to standard. Second, stay aware of the costs in making the “sale.” The biggest intangible a dealer faces is the lead cost that is required to generate the sale. A dealer needs to know those costs, and watch them carefully. We try to help in this effort by delivering low-cost and efficient programs designed to generate leads.

As always, thanks for readiing.

Scott Goldfine



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