Going at it single-handedly in any business presents challenges, but security dealers are not in it alone.
Dealer programs have been around forever, and also include some well-branded franchises of the past. But maybe you haven't been keeping up with them and if that's the case, you should know that they've changed with the times and have ushered in a new era of cooperative branding and marketing and other pluses that add value to systems and services.
Now, while we don't want to get into the nitty-gritty about which is better, there are basically two types of programs, those that help generate additional recurring revenue and those in which a dealer sells their accounts or a portion of them. Which works for the individual depends a lot on their model; and let's just save that particular discussion for another time.
So which dealer program should you choose? Or which dealer program chooses you? Yes, the partnership between a dealer and manufacturer or product-sponsored dealer programs, such as Honeywell Integrated Security (HIS) Dealer Program, is just that-a partnership that works both ways. There are a number of things you want to question when considering a dealer program to partner with: What is the real purpose behind why a dealer program was set up? Is the dealer program really coming to the table and providing you with tools and resources you need? If you choose to commit to being a dealer for a particular company, will they offer training? Will they offer technical support? Will they help with designs on complicated projects? Is it a product line that has some exclusivity to something that separates it from the open distribution products? What's the line of products and does it fit with your customers?
It's a good idea to approach any or all dealer programs with a bit of skepticism and a lot of super-sleuthing.
"So what if a manufacturer has a dealer program giving slightly better pricing and some sales tools?" questioned Steve Crespo, president, Security101, West Palm Beach, Fla. "If there is no quality to the product, you should not be selling it." (Security101 is a franchise operation with integrator affiliates/members.)
Security101 finds complete package in HIS
For Security101 it was also a matter of comparing what the company's internal cost would be to gain critical resources such as those offered through the Honeywell Integrated Security (HIS) dealer program to those they would benefit from directly as a participant in the HIS program.
Security101 spent a great deal of time examining manufacturers before making the decision to go with Honeywell for a multitude of reasons: quality of product, a price point that made sense, the marketing and training they provide and their longstanding relationship with Honeywell, according to Crespo.
"Honeywell does a great job educating a dealer of the marketing tools, resources, data and information that they have but they don't force it down your throat," he added. "That is the mark of a good dealer program."
A fairly exclusive dealer program, HIS targets the higher end of the integrated enterprise systems market. The program offers products for projects that involve integration from a security platform and also with IT subsystems, ERP systems and HR databases. HIS dealers and integrators are also eligible to participate in Honeywell's dealer service certification program. Pre-sale and post-sale support includes application support; technical support; and brand recognition for dealers.
"The product offered exclusively through the HIS program is just one piece of it," explained Bill Yesnick, sales leader, Honeywell Integrated Security, Morris Township, N.J. Yesnick said training goes above and beyond product training and includes technical, sales and marketing education. "These are the resources that typically the integrator/ dealer doesn't have and is able to leverage from Honeywell."
A different 'dealer' approach