Weighing Success

It sounds like a contradiction, but success would be easy if all it took was hard work

Effort means a lot, of course, since it’s hard to find anyone who turned a profit by being lazy. But for security companies, especially smaller integrators who are trying to compete with gigantic competitors, it’s not enough just to work harder than the other guys.

That’s why dealer programs play an important role for so many successful companies. They can provide a huge competitive advantage that can make all the difference when hard work isn’t quite enough. Here are some things to consider if you’re wondering if you should join a dealer program or getting the most out of your current dealer program.

MARKETING RESOURCES

In the battle for customers, you’re often competing against wellknown names with huge marketing resources. Your company might not be a giant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t act like one.

The best dealer programs give you access to slick-looking customized materials such as yard signs, marketing collateral, websites, and branded apparel. For example, MONI’s Dealer Program features a “ProShop” that offers materials and resources for its network of more than 600 companies.

Envision Security, a MONI Authorized Dealer based in Arizona, places a huge value on perception. Vehicles for sales reps are wrapped with company advertising and reps are dressed consistently to portray a professional presence on first contact.

“Everything about our company has to show that we’re professional,” said Darryl Johnson, Envision’s president and founder. “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

Now that home automation is much more prevalent, technology giants— Google, Apple, Amazon, and others—have climbed into the ring. In order to compete, security dealers need access to technology that meets high expectations.

Competition in the “smart home” market is fierce. ABI Research predicts that the number of U.S. households using home automation services is expected to grow by 37 percent from 2016 to 2019. Now more than ever, it’s important for dealers to position themselves as home automation providers.

That’s why a dealer program should provide a choice of interactive technology solutions, whether it’s for home security or “smart home” needs. Don’t get locked into a single brand or a one-size-fitsall solution. Flexibility, as well as a sales rep’s product familiarity and training, will play a major role in selling home automation solutions, giving dealers an important edge over the giants.

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 has training on topics like lead-generation tactics, sales techniques, marketing your business and even things like preparing paperwork,” said Travis Miller, director of sales at MONI. “It’s an opportunity for both new and longtenured dealers to gain knowledge that’s going to differentiate them in the field.”

FINANCIAL FLEXIBILITY

Cash flow is an issue for many companies that aren’t affiliated with a dealer program. For example, smaller companies often are dependent solely on RMR, but don’t have the cash on hand for low- or no-money down installations, or to finance their growth. Cash flow can especially become an issue during the ebb and flow of a normal business year.

Dealer programs have become a popular solution to the cash crunch, helping dealers keep things on an even keel. Today, options include revenue and profit sharing; upfront cash for accounts that have been sold and funded; and portfolio flexibility that gives dealers the ability to keep or sell accounts.

SUPPORT

Support is the thread that ties everything together in a dealer program. In addition to these four areas, you should look for other ways that a program can support your business:

  • 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, MONI uses its eContract mobile app for iPad and Android tablets.
  • Easy interaction between network dealers and account managers, who can quickly answer questions that arise in the course of a day.

Besides hard work and effort, successful security businesses share one other trait: They’re constantly looking for ways to improve their businesses. A dealer program is a great place to start.

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Security Today.

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