Downplaying Dealers Can Be Deadly

Most consumers couldn’t care less which brand of dairy, produce or meat they buy so long as the quality seems reasonable for the price charged. The same goes for other staple items. Similarly, most home and building owners are not overly concerned about which brand of plumbing pipes, window glass or electrical components are installed in their premises. These items simply need to meet certain specifications and price points.

Although not quite a staple, electronic security equipment follows the same logic. Typically, neither home owners nor commercial building managers could give a rat’s ass whether their security system includes a control panel from Brand X or a camera from Brand Y. It’s all about trust, price, functionality and reliability. Most Americans already do the work of two people and are far too busy with other responsibilities to concern themselves with such mundane specifics. For the most part, they don’t understand it and they don’t want to.

Take a recent experience I had, for example. When I realized the pump and motor on my swimming pool were on their last legs, did I demand they were replaced with a specific brand? No, I consulted with three different pool technicians and asked them what they recommended and why, and how much it would cost. The products I ended up purchasing were the ones preferred by the installer, in whom I had placed my trust.

Likewise, those home and building owners rely on YOU – our installing dealers and systems integrators readers – to provide the required expertise to solve their needs. YOU are the ones who determine which products are included in a project and YOU are the ones who write the checks out for them. This makes YOU extremely valuable to equipment manufacturers, not to mention the general public since YOU ensure the effectiveness of security systems nationwide.

That’s why I get irritated when I see some suppliers lose sight of that by concentrating their energies on “vertical markets” and/or end users at the expense of those who got them where they are today. It’s just as aggravating when new manufacturers attempt to circumvent the security dealer/integrator channel altogether. Of course, usually they are not around very long!

I am not alone in my observations and assertions. Often, these complaints come out in conversations I have with other industry professionals. Most do their best not to be bitter or resentful, instead clinging to the solace that these misguided souls will learn the cost of their folly the hard way. Generally, they cannot fathom why the powers that be would condone such ill-conceived business practices.

It is not difficult to understand these detractions. After all, precedence tells us just about every manufacturer that has had long-term success in this industry has built their empire on the backs of a loyal, dedicated dealer base that has received the full support of that manufacturer. It’s a proven model that works exceedingly well for all concerned.

Regardless of how much integration and convergence takes place, whoever actually installs the system will always have the most significant impact on which makes and models go into a particular building. It is crucial we all work together to continue to impress this upon security equipment vendors as all this peripheral effort is diluting the potential power of the entire industry.

Sure, there is nothing wrong with manufacturers exploring other market opportunities and seeking some additional demand via end-user pull-through. It is necessary for company growth. Not doing so is bad business. However, doing it to the neglect of established competency is much, much worse business.

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