Dealer programs are offered by manufacturers, financial firms, monitoring centers and other dealers. Some buy and sell accounts, while others focus on back-end support, marketing and sales support, financial assistance, training help, or product volume commitments. Some require you to sign a contract, while others don’t. What is in or not in that contract matters, of course, but there are some greater considerations that industry experts suggest dealers look into before ever signing on the dotted line.
1. Values — “It’s so important to find a dealer program that has the same values that you do,” said Mike Carvin, president of Spectracom Inc., Pennsauken, N.J., and a Guardian Protection Services dealer. For Carvin, he said that a focus on customer service and customer retention was one of the most important deciding factors for his company when they switched dealer programs in 2002.
2. Technology — With ever-changing technology and more products and services to upgrade customers to than ever before, it’s important to join a dealer program that is ready for the future, said industry experts. “The dealer should be partnering with a program that offers video technologies and other forward-thinking programs today, so the dealer will not have to scramble to find a new program in the future when customers demand [more capabilities],” explained Jay Stuck, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of SecureWatch24, New York.
3. History and Financial Stability — Whether a dealer has been in business for 20 years or 20 months, it’s still important to find out how long a dealer program has been around and what its history is, before jumping into a program with both feet. “You want to know how long they’ve been around as a program and the financial stability of the parent company,” urged John Madden, vice president of Vector Security’s authorized dealer division, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Ernest Celedon, director of sales at Monitronics, Dallas, agreed. “The biggest thing is to make sure you are partnering with a company that has a sound financial backbone,” he said. “If I’m a dealer, I don’t want to have to worry that my program will go into a financial hardship and stop funding from one week to the next.”