A Competitive Boost
An effective program and resources can help dealers gain advantage
- By Robert Ogle
- Sep 01, 2015
Intense competition is certainly nothing new in the security industry,
but the past couple of years have taken things to an entirely new level.
Start with the increased emphasis on home automation technology,
which has forced dealers to broaden their sales horizons. Now
add an increased number of new players. Telephone and cable companies
have been applying pressure for a while, but the arrival of some of the biggest
brands in the world—Google, Amazon, Samsung and Apple, to name
just a few—have taken the game up a notch.
Corporate giants have access to multi-platform advertising, huge marketing
budgets, financial resources and other advantages to try to gain the upper
hand against companies who have been doing security for years. Given the
circumstances, it’s easy for average small- to mid-sized security dealers to feel
pressure from all sides. But, smaller dealers don’t have to go it alone.
Valuable resources are available through participation in a dealer program.
It can help level the playing field for existing dealers, and make a
huge difference in continuing to build their businesses and withstand attacks
from outsized competitors. A typical dealer might not be a giant, but
that doesn’t mean they can’t act like one.
Here are some things to consider if you’re wondering whether you
should join a dealer program—or whether you’re getting the most out of
your current dealer program.
The best dealer programs give you access to customized marketing materials
such as yard signs, sales and product collateral, websites, and even
co-branded apparel. For example, Monitronics’ Dealer Program features a
“ProShop” that offers materials and resources for its network of more than
600 companies. Envision Security is a Monitronics network dealer with operations
in Arizona and California. President and founder Darryl Johnson
places a huge value on perception. Vehicles for sales reps are wrapped with
the company’s brand and advertising, and reps should always portray a professional
presence on first contact.
“Everything about our company has to show that we’re professional,” Johnson
said. “When a rep comes up to the door and looks professional, it just
adds more value for the customer. They’re going to be more comfortable doing
business with you, from the first door-knock all the way to the end result.”
Access to the Latest Technology
Part of the perceived advantage of the high-tech giants is that they have
a huge edge in home automation technology. A dealer program can give
traditional security companies access to proven home automation equipment
from some of the industry’s top manufacturers. Competition in the
“smart home” market will be fierce. ABI Research predicts that the number
of U.S. households using home automation services is expected to grow by
37 percent by 2019. That’s why a dealer program should provide a choice of
interactive technology solutions, whether it’s for home security or “smart
home” needs. For example, Monitronics offers flexible home automation
solutions that include smartphone access to locks, lights, thermostats and
video, as well as medical monitoring. Flexibility—as well as a sales rep’s
product familiarity and training—will play a major role in selling home
Training and Education
Even the best technology means little when reps are inadequately prepared
to make a sale. Look for a dealer program with strong education and support
for sales reps, as well as effective dealer strategies that will make reps as
productive as possible. That includes everything from phone support from
knowledgeable account managers to educational opportunities like webinars
“It’s important that a dealer program provides a wide range of training
on topics, such as package and commission outlines, sales techniques and
going to market in the smart home technology era,” said Jason Johnson,
national sales trainer at Monitronics. “But our program also offers ‘back
office’ training in paperwork and reporting. That’s a great resource that Monitronics
provides to both new and long-tenured dealers, and it gives them
the best possible chances of being successful within our program.”
Cash flow is an issue for many companies that aren’t affiliated with a dealer
program. Dealers should look for options like upfront cash for accounts
that have been sold and funded; and portfolio flexibility that allows the option
of keeping or selling accounts.
Support is the thread that ties everything together in a dealer program.
Dealers can gain a huge benefit from:
- An infrastructure that includes responsible, reputable monitoring. This
is a major source of differentiation for companies that are competing for
the customer’s business.
- Knowledge of licensing and permit requirements, particularly for dealers
doing business in multiple regions.
- Technology-forward tools for salespeople. For example, Monitronics
uses its eContract mobile app for iPad and Android tablets as a way of
streamlining the sales experience.
- Easy interaction between network dealers and account managers, who
can quickly answer questions that arise in the course of a day.
Joining a program to help as a resource in the face of growing competition
doesn’t mean that a dealer has to sacrifice their autonomy or their
identity. Find a program that provides valuable resources, as well as freedom,
flexibility and a solid foundation.
This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Security Today.