Smith & Wesson nets leads for dealer

 - 
Thursday, May 28, 2009

MESA, Ariz.—After he got 100 leads for residential security systems at a recent gun show, Technical Systems co-owner Bill Riley is more convinced than ever that becoming a Smith & Wesson Security Services dealer was a wise decision.

“Quite a few people who signed up for estimates already had security systems. They had ADT, Brink’s, Monitronics, and they said, ‘I want to switch to Smith & Wesson. I want that sign on my lawn,’” Riley said.

Gun-maker Smith & Wesson announced it was getting into the residential security business about one year ago. Today it has 28 dealers in 12 states. Wayne Wahrsager, Smith & Wesson Security Systems CEO, said most metropolitan areas in the country will be covered by the end of the year.

The May NRA show in Phoenix where Riley got 100 leads also produced about 75 more leads for dealers outside of Arizona.

Wahrsager was in the Smith & Wesson booth at the Phoenix show. “The strange thing is that we weren’t giving anything away for free. People just came into the booth and bombarded us … signing up for free estimates.”

Wahrsager said he plans to have a presence at local gun shows around the country. “We’ll do whatever it takes to get as many leads as possible,” Wahrsager said.

Riley has worked in the security industry for 20 years, and has owned Technical Systems with his partner Ryan McClintic for five years. Technical Systems previously did only commercial work and specialized in access control, CCTV and fire. Riley had wanted to get into the residential business for about three years, but didn’t pull the trigger until he saw that Smith & Wesson was getting into the business. In addition to the brand, Riley said he likes the fact that as a dealer, he can keep his own accounts.

“A lot of dealer programs want you to sell them your accounts. You put all this work into gaining a customer’s confidence and then you have to sell the account. That customer’s lost forever,” Riley said.

Riley’s staff has gone through products and sales training. He called residential sales and installation “a whole new ballgame” compared to commercial jobs.

Smith & Wesson has a “bible” that outlines protocol for interacting with residential customers: “They tell you how to act, what to say, how to dress, even what your vehicle should look like, all the way down the line. It’s pretty well thought out.”

Riley would like to have his business be 50 percent residential within five to seven years.