A Competitive Boost

An effective program and resources can help dealers gain advantage

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.

Marketing Resources

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 automation solutions.

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 and conferences.

“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.”

Financial Flexibility

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

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.

About the Author

Robert Ogle is a communications specialist at Monitronics.

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