New ADT dealers unconcerned about Broadview merger, excited about the ADT brand

Twenty new dealers gather to train in Colorado
Thursday, April 15, 2010

AURORA, Colo.—While many dealers around the country are paying close attention to how the ADT/Broadview might affect their businesses, a group of 20 new ADT dealers who gathered here this week for a three-day training conference were clearly unconcerned about the pending deal.

ADT told Security Systems News that deal will officially close on Friday, May 14, assuming all goes well with the Broadview shareholder vote on May 12.

Why didn’t the 20 new ADT dealers want to wait until the dust had settled on the Broadview/ADT deal before joining ADT? Tim Dame, owner of Tech Direct in Evansville, Ind., summed up what several new dealers told Security Systems News: “Competition is what you make of it, if you spend your time worrying about competition, you’re never going to succeed.”

Further, Dame and others said they were eager to be associated with the ADT brand. “When we were Monitronics dealers, our biggest competition was those three letters—ADT,” he said. “It didn’t matter that we were selling a good system,” he said, the ADT brand is tough to sell against. Dame said his sale process was much easier when he worked as a sub-dealer for Defender Direct, ADT’s largest dealer.

Most recently, Dame and John Gaverick, Tech Direct partner, who was also at the training, worked as sub-dealers for Defender Direct, which means their company sold systems for Defender, which then installed the systems.

Dame said Tech Direct decided at the end of last year it was time to take their 12 sales reps and start their own company. “Yesterday was our first day,” he said “and we sold five systems.”

While Dame’s response to the Broadview buy was typical of responses from dealers at the training, it was difficult to characterize a typical dealer at the training session. Dealers from around the country and Puerto Rico attended the training, including people from Long Beach, Calif; Clarksesville, Tenn.; San Juan, P.R.; St. Louis, Mo.; Bartlett, Tenn.; Houston; and Columbia, S.C.

There was David May, a former residential sales manager for ADT corporate’s Houston branch, who’s decided to go out on his own

Janie and Ben Thomas, of Maximum Security in Memphis, are entrepreneurs who are new to the security industry. They’re interested in branching out, having run a successful insurance company.

Sabrina Martini and Jonathan Willis, another wife and husband team, run Armor Security and Satellite in Mesa, Ariz. Armor previously sold security as a master dealer for Protection One. When that program ended, Armor got out of the security business to focus on selling dish networks. In the past year or so, Willis’s dish network customers had “started asking us for security systems,” he said.

Willis is starting a whole new security operation: “We’ll have 25 sales reps, five installers and three office staff.” He already has 20 dish network sales people and a presence at area mall kiosks.

It was clear to anyone sitting in the training that Willis knows the security alarm business well. Asked what he was getting out of the training, he said it's been a refresher and inspiration to get started on his new business.

In fact, Willis said he and Martini on April 13 cancelled a planned hiking vacation to the Utah mountains because they’re so eager to get started on their new business. “We don’t want to lose the momentum,” he said. “I’ve been in the security business for 18 years and it’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited.”

New dealer trainings occur monthly here and are run by John Strade, ADT training director. The trainings run a wide gamut: business planning; sales methods (including door knocking); handling competition; upselling RMR; sales planning/recruiting; managing a sales team; financial aspects of running a business; vendor presentations; plus dealer guidelines such as new accounts processing, quality assurance, contract summarization, due diligence and branch expansion. They also receive installation guidelines, information on how to get technical assistance and a tour of the central monitoring station here.

The new ESA guidelines for door knocking are also a component of the training program, which is not surprising, considering ADT’s role in pushing for these guidelines. This was the first new group of dealers to get briefed on the guidelines. In addition to the briefing, they’ll be required to sign the code of ethics and successfully complete a course. “All of the residential and small business sales people will have to go through the training, anyone who interacts with the residential customer,” said Strade.

Strade said that about half of new dealers use the door-to-door sales model: “It’s a great way to get your business off the ground.”