Q. What are the criteria for admission into the authorized dealer program and what are its specifics?
Donna Namorato , marketing manager, Honeywell First Alert Professional, Melville , N.Y. : One of the most important attributes that a potential First Alert Professional Authorized Dealer must possess is the desire to grow their company and provide excellent customer service. They must also be well established in the area. Our program started in 1995. Our goal all along has been to establish our dealers through successful brand partnership.
Bill Barnes, vice president, Dealer Development, ADT Security Services, Aurora , Colo. : We request proven performance, a well-written business plan and financial stability. We also run a personal history that includes background and credit checks and one-on-one interviews. The ADT Authorized Dealer Program was founded in 1996. We look for partners who can create incremental business for ADT. We want dealers who can represent us well in selling and installing security systems, primarily residential.
Michelle Nettuno , marketing manager, Honeywell Security and Custom Electronics, Melville, N. Y.: The Honeywell Authorized Dealer Program for Commercial Security Systems is designed for companies that specialize in providing security solutions in the commercial and industrial markets. To participate, dealers must have expertise in installing and servicing at least two of these three systems: burglar and fire alarm, video surveillance, access control. To be considered for this program, dealers have to have their own central station, or access to one, that can provide appropriate burglary (UL) and commercial fire (FM) certifications, including AA High Line Security.
Steve Birkmeier, vice president, Arteco , St. Louis : The success of our Dealer Development Program (DDP) depends on dealers who have a forward-thinking business plan and want to lead in their market. We decided to model our program based on these relationships using a fast-paced training, selling and marketing support system. The end result is the development of a much higher quality of business partner, one who really sees the value of intelligent video.
Mitch Clarke, vice president of Marketing and Market Development, Monitronics , Dallas : We've had a dealer program since 1994. Our dealers are required to hold all necessary and pertinent licensing and undergo a due diligence including background investigations. The goal of our program is to provide opportunities for growth and success for the independent alarm dealer. The program has remained unchanged though we continually adapt it to the market to ensure our program offers the most competitive multiples, revenue sharing and other benefits.
Gary T. Rzepka , director of Partner Development, Westec Interactive Security Inc., Des Moines, Iowa: Criteria for admission into our program is simple—we build quality relationships with licensed alarm dealers with at least three years experience, an established commercial client base and an excellent customer service record. With the Visual Verification Dealer Program, authorized dealers are able to leverage a remote monitoring command center and sell video monitoring to their customers at essentially the same cost as standard burg. Our goal and mission is to build long-term, profitable relationships with best-in-class dealers.
Q. How does an authorized dealer program assist the dealer and their customers?
Namorato : Our goal is to provide services to dealers to help them stand apart and grow their companies. These services include customer support, technical training, sales training and assistance, custom marketing programs and supplier discounts. We offer a tremendous amount of support in all aspects of dealer self-promotion with a complete package of materials they can bring to a home show or trade gathering.
Barnes: We assist the dealers by providing them with a number of training opportunities, operations assistance and support from our ADT field staff. Our customers gain by having added access to ADT services in areas where the company may not maintain a large presence.
Nettuno : Dealers who participate in the CSS program are able to take advantage of numerous sales, training and marketing support services. Our goal is to help participating authorized dealers' businesses grow in the commercial market by providing them with essential tools, expertise and associations, in exchange for their loyalty as demonstrated through product purchases.
Birkmeier : It starts with training. We offer programs in intelligent video based on a module-style approach that includes, site-visits, Web-based and interactive media. Other support includes having managers attend joint sales meetings with our dealers. We also provide lead generation and customized marketing, product pages and case studies.
Clarke: Our program assists dealers in a variety of ways. By partnering with a national company a dealer can choose to leverage the Monitronics name to grow their business. Partnering with a national company also has a positive impact on employee recruiting and retention. Our dealers receive initial and ongoing training, marketing assistance, technical support and discount pricing on equipment.
Rzepka : A barrier to selling video monitoring in the past has been cost. We've removed the cost barrier from the equation so that dealers can now focus on offering the latest technology available on the market.
Q. What would you say is the most valuable part of the program that your company brings to the table?
Namorato : The First Alert Professional program offers a suite of tools to help dealers market their businesses. We supply the tools, they supply their sales and technical expertise and utilize these tools to grow and develop their business.
Birkmeier : Without question it is our commitment and dedication through our dealer development program and the true partnership we have with them. Our DDP is founded on the principle that any successful partnership is based on both parties' total commitment to a common goal.
Nettuno : A key to the program is the partnership with Honeywell and the ability to network and learn from other dealers of the same caliber within the industry. They also appreciate the ability to hear presentations from other dealers, work with other dealers and meet their peers during our meetings and events.
Clarke: Our dealers appreciate the ease and efficiency of the Monitronics -brand pre-programmed panels. Not only do they get what we feel is a simpler installation and fewer false alarms by using this equipment, but they receive highly competitive discounted pricing.
Rzepka : We treat our dealers with respect, offer them the services they need to be successful and help them make more money. Our dealers are able to easily upgrade many of their legacy burglar alarm accounts to video monitoring. We believe that offering remote video at the same price as standard alarm monitoring will change the industry.
Q. Do you offer training and overall, what is the value of training to the dealer?
Namorato : We have a Dealer Development Group that provides training on various levels. We offer on-line and regional training, presentation materials and other ways for First Alert Professional authorized dealers to create and maintain a strong market presence.
Barnes: We offer several types of training for our dealers. We help them learn to sell and make the most of each sale. We provide up-to-date information on best operational practices to help them to run their businesses efficiently and effectively. We have two conventions each year that allow the dealers to communicate and share information.
Nettuno : We have two separate departments that are offering their training courses to this special group of authorized dealers. The skilled instructors from the Dealer Development Group provide onsite training and CD-based training. Our group is also comprised of security industry veterans who help authorized commercial dealers build sales by offering sales applications sessions and training in vertical markets, such as Financial, Retail, A&E and Government.
Clarke: We provide a great deal of sales training and offer external programs through preferred vendors to those dealers looking to get new sales staff up and running or for interim support. We also provide marketing support including strategic planning and advertising recommendations.
Rzepka : We consider training an investment for both our company and the dealer. We offer an authorized certification, which includes dealer training (from sale through installation) and certification. After dealers become certified, we work together during the first couple of sales to answer questions, provide support and address concerns throughout the process.
Q. How does the authorized dealer program help the participant deal with the fast-paced technological changes occurring in the industry?
Namorato : Our Dealer Development Group will go to integrator locations with customized training programs as well as train on new technology. There are many topics available that include selling skills, business management, lead generation and motivation, for example. We even offer programs on how to generate leads over the Web and how to properly structure their own Internet sites.
Barnes: We provide our dealers with access to expertise and information as we are constantly striving to stay at the forefront of technology and share that knowledge with our dealers. It is to our benefit that our dealers have access to the same level of technological understanding that we have.
Nettuno : When a major change occurs in the industry, such as the Sunset Clause of February 18, 2008, we provide authorized commercial dealers with a variety of materials, and discuss the topic in detail during meetings to make them aware of the issue and what we are doing in response. We create literature for them, literature for their customers, letter templates, bill stuffers, etc.—whatever means we can find to help them help themselves and their customers.
Birkmeier: In many ways intelligent video represents one of the key changes occurring in the industry so being a part of the Arteco DDP really makes them play an active role in these changes instead of sitting on the sidelines. Our dealers are the first to receive new updates in software through our interactive training.
Clarke: Monitronics has invested resources to provide dealers with the most efficient and advanced systems available. Custom applications allow our dealers to update accounts, review reports and place systems online quickly and easily. We also offer onsite and online training covering topics from basic installation to proper line seizure protocol and products.
Rzepka : We continue to develop new technologies so our dealers will have the ability to bring these technologies to market. We have been in remote video monitoring and interactive video surveillance technology for 35 years.
Q. Can the program help crack a particular vertical market a dealer may have been unable to on their own?
Namorato : Our Dealer Development Group identifies new and emerging markets. From there we look at ways to introduce dealers to these new opportunities. Our programs will help residential dealers enter the commercial market. We can help them expand into schools, casino and retail chains.
Birkmeier: One of the greatest benefits of our DDP system is the assistance we provide our partners in sales and marketing and this helps them target any vertical market. We have had dealers enter new vertical markets based on leads from marketing programs within the DDP which include hospitals, corporate campuses, utility substations, and parking lots.
Nettuno : Just being a part of this authorized dealer program may help them enter markets they were previously unable to gain entry into. In addition, we offer vertical market training seminars which may greatly benefit dealers interested in entering a variety of vertical markets.
Clarke: Our dealers enjoy the benefits of working with a company open to innovation and change. Recent partnerships have allowed us to provide even greater opportunities to our dealers with online and remote monitoring services now available to dealers and their customers.
Rzepka : The Westec Visual Verification Dealer Program opens the door to all verticals. We offer 24/7/ live operator video monitoring at a price point competitive to burglar alarm systems.