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Some of the Best High-End A/V Reps Now Carry … Vivint Smart Home & Security?!

Vivint Smart Home, purveyor of mass-market security and home automation, enlists 10 top custom-install reps for new Authorized Pro program. Here's why CEDIA-oriented reps are going gaga over Vivint.

Some of the Best High-End A/V Reps Now Carry … Vivint Smart Home & Security?!
Some of the top A/V reps in the U.S. now offer Vivint Smart Home and security solutions alongside their high-end audio, video and home-automation lines.

Julie Jacobson · June 21, 2019

They represent Sony, Seura, Leon Speakers, Vantage, JL Audio, Savant, Rayva, Kef, McIntosh, Sonance and other high-end A/V and home-automation brands for the custom channel. Now some of the top independent reps in the home-technology business are signing Vivint Pro.

Yes, that Vivint – the mass-market security and smart-home company with the orange yard signs and earnest young salespeople knocking on doors across the country. Vivint Smart Home launched the “Pro” program earlier this year, allowing third-party integrators and retailers to offer Vivint products and services to their own residential customers.

The Authorized Pro simply makes the sale, and the Vivint installation and support team does the rest – forever – sending the Pro a check every month for as long as the customer subscribes.

“They’re very good,” says Peter Dyroff, principal of the New England rep firm Jarmac, who is now both a customer and representative of Vivint.

He had a system installed in his own house to test the model, and Vivint passed with flying colors.

“The people have been so good and professional,” he says. “They [Vivint] get this level of employees most dealers would only dream of.”

He concedes that many integrators he’s pitched on Vivint are a little skeptical about letting third-party installers touch their clients’ technology, but that’s OK. The integrator can attend the installation – like they might a satellite or cable install – but “if anyone experienced what I did,” Dyroff says, “geez, I wouldn’t need to be there.”

Some Home Technologists Just ‘Get it’

When Dyroff first learned of Vivint Pro in April, he says he “got it” right away and expected dealers to do the same. Some do … but most don’t.

“The reaction has been interesting,” he tells CE Pro. “There are a few guys that just get it, but that has not been the norm. The norm has been, ‘Huh.’”

Once Dyroff explains the long-term cash-flow benefits of a security-centric offering, though, the skeptical integrator typically graduates to: “Hmm, that’s interesting."

“Take one guy, make him your Vivint guy and turn ‘em loose. These younger people, they know this better than us.”
— Jeff Caton
High-Tech Network

Dyroff has several pitches that work well. One is pretty straightforward: “Let them [Vivint] do the little things you don’t make much money on. Do your Sony and your speakers, and then take your ## points from Vivint and walk away.” (CE Pro does not publish margins, but Vivint’s are higher than most integrators would expect, and they recur for as long as the customer continues to subscribe.)

As a rep for Legrand’s QMotion and Vantage brands, Dyroff imagines one compelling scenario: “Can you imagine doing shading and lighting and then … Vivint?!”

But there’s also this: Many integrators sub out security to third-party contractors, many of which either offer A/V and other low-voltage systems currently or have every intention of doing so.

“A lot of the time, those security dealers then start to sell to your customers,” Dyroff says.

Vivint isn’t going there.

Dyroff has a lot of faith in the Vivint Pro program. He goes way back with Natalee Hoff, who was recruited from custom-audio firm TruAudio to become director of the Pro channel for nearby Vivint in the Salt Lake City area. She runs the program with Vivint senior director Chris Ivie, the Control4 veteran who hatched the idea with Vivint muckety mucks last year.

“Having Natalee and Chris from Control4 … they can really do some damage,” Dyroff says.

Vivint's New 'Premier Pro' Incentive Program

Vivint knows incentives! How do you think the security and smart-home giant sells so many systems every year?

The company just launched an incentive program for Authorized Pros, comprising quarterly rebates and an annual rewards trip.

At the Silver level, dealers qualify with just 60 accounts activated per year. Vivint breaks out the earnings potential of just these 60 accounts with the Silver-level perks ... and they're impressive.

At the Silver level, dealers can send two people to Vivint Pro's annual rewards trip -- airfare not included


Vivint Pro dealers achieve Diamond status with 400 accounts created each year.

And if the Silver-level figures look good, the Diamond-level prospects show how an integration company can really transform its business.

At the Diamond level, dealers earn four spots on the rewards trip ... airfare included


As Vivint Pro launched mid-year, the company is prorating the Premier Pro tiers, allowing dealer to qualify at 50% of the usual annual attainment qualifier.

And then Peter told Jeff

Peter Dyroff, thrilled with this new opportunity, called his buddy Jeff Caton of the Southern-area rep firm High-Tech Network.

Dyroff told him, “Vivint has something pretty interesting,” Caton recalls. “You should talk with them.”

So he did, and now he reps the line, and he’s probably the biggest Vivint Pro cheerleader after Dyroff.

As with his cohort’s experience, Caton finds that “some dealers instantly get it,” he tells CE Pro. “It’s constant cash flow to them.”

RELATEDNew Vivint Pro Program is ‘Dream’ RMR Opportunity for Home-Tech Channel

Often, he says, dealers sell the larger control systems, but then consumer confidence dips, “and those jobs get pushed out.”

Vivint jobs are “consistent,” he explains. “It’s like Sonos. Look at the smaller jobs. They’re faster, and you get a quick return.”

Caton says some dealers, especially those who already do security, see Vivint Pro as a threat. He gets that, but at the same time, “Sonos is a threat to the speaker business, right? But if you didn’t buy into it, you probably regret it.”

Business is Changing

High-Tech Network represents Yamaha, Sony, Klipsch, Monitor and other “great lines,” says Caton. “But if you think just speakers and receivers are going to be the future, they’re probably not. It’s a great business, but not necessarily the backbone of the company. You have to reach out to not just the top 1% of buyers.”

High-Tech is pitching Vivint Pro to the whole gamut of dealers – large, small, retail-centric, strictly custom, and mostly-security.

“The market is changing,” Caton says. “If you see the business model that Vivint has laid out, and you’re a CI [custom installation] guy, you say: Let me get this straight. I get this money and never have to install product and I get paid for it?”

He reminds us that the biggest struggle for most integration companies today is finding good installers. No wonder … they all work for Vivint! They’re fast, efficient, professional and knowledgeable. If they’re on the job and think the client should consider a connected smoke detector here or an extra sensor there … they can suggest it in the most unthreatening way. Of course the Authorized Pro who sold the job gets all the credit for that sale and anything else added to the Vivint system for as long as the client is a subscriber.

In Caton’s experience, dealers who sign on to the Vivint Pro program don’t just dilly dally with it: “They’re committed to it.”

His best advice? “Take one guy, make him your Vivint guy and turn ‘em loose. These younger people, they know this better than us.”

Vivint Enlists 10 Rep Firms for Custom Channel

Vivint has done a lot since “Authorized Pro” was conceived just eight months ago: Brought on Chris and Natalee, developed the program, launched it, created marketing materials including POS kiosks, produced training videos, signed on dealers, trained dealers, built an incentive program (sidebar), added more dealers and videos and goodies … and enlisted 10 top rep firms in the custom-installation channel.

Here they are:

The New York Marketing Team – New York

Pro West Sales - Southern California

Zone Pacific Sales - Northern California

High-Tech Network - GA, MS, AL, TN, SC, NC

Plus Performance Marketing - Rocky Mountains

Jarmac - New England

Orion Advanced Marketing - IL, WI

AMI Sales - Florida

New Era Marketing - TX, LA, OK, AR

NuTech Group - PA, NJ, MD, DC, DE, VA



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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics


Control & Automation · Automation · Security · Cameras · Business · News · Reps · RMR · Vivint · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by Chuck Schneider on June 24, 2019

This whole thing is laughable while a little sad.


If there’s that much juice in a Vivint install to offer both a rep and integrator substantial commissions then why are they still losing boatloads of money every quarter?


http://s2.q4cdn.com/226156452/files/doc_presentations/2019/Q1/1Q19-Earnings-Deck-Final-07May19VF.pdf


Folks pretty high up the food chain at Best Buy blanch when Vivint is mentioned. The most you’ll get, and still off the record, is “a culture clash” as to the cause of last summer’s abrupt breakup.


As a retired 40 year specialty CE rep (20+ as a principal), I’ve sat through numerous overly long sales meetings and mandatory last-day-of-show booth duties with many of the now Vivint reps. Using our class of trade as a credible reason why this is a good idea is like asking Bernie Sanders if tuition-free college is really-really-really going to happen once he’s elected.

What do you expect to hear from a rep? “This is a scam and I’m only in it for the money?” Poll every Vivint rep principal and ask him to recall a seemingly well intentioned vendor offering that blew up in his face either through over promising while under delivering or, sadly, flat out vendor deception and fraud.


No number of really great reps recruited by any number of zealous former middle managers from reputable CE companies can ever counterbalance the mountain of truly horrible Vivint reviews that will linger on the net forever like those after-prom selfies you were sure got deleted.


For example, the Better Business Bureau has logged a staggering 4489 customer complaints about Vivint over the past 3 years. They earn a “C” grade from BBB only because they’ve been smart enough to answer every complaint and fold like a lawn chair when refunds are demanded. (ADT has 1000s fewer complaints and earns an A+)


Vivint earns one (count it—one!) star out of 5 from Yelp with nearly 400 overall reviews, some astonishingly brutal. And these are just the tip of a Titanic sinking iceberg. I haven’t read anything this consistently bad since Chipotle added E Coli to its menu.


Vivint Smart Home Authorized Pro is decidedly not a model for which there is plenty of room in our business. It is, rather, a terrible idea for any integrator from boutique salon to one guy and a van. This is a potentially reputation ruining gambit like nothing else I’ve ever seen in the CE space.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on June 21, 2019

Thanks for your comment, Brad. Obviously the model is not perfect or even fathomable for a wide swath of traditional dealers, including yourself. It is telling, however, that some of the top custom-centric A/V reps are embracing the line. I’ve spoken with many reputable integrators who can’t wait to dig in. Others, like you, think the whole idea of recurring revenue through third-party partnerships is stupid. If it was a perfect solution for every dealer, someone would have done it AGES ago! Good luck with your own business. Plenty of room for all models.

Posted by Brad73 on June 21, 2019

This is so stupid. We are ‘Custom Installers’ but we are just going to be sales people and let some hack install the system because we are not allowed. Kiss my ....
I see a new business model I’m going to pursue - fixing Vivint installs.
“Yes Mr. customer it costs 2x has much as you paid the other company initially and we are not authorized. But I’m going to actually make it work correctly and look nice. Or we can replace it all with something I can install for you to begin with”.

Posted by Brad73 on June 21, 2019

This is so stupid. We are ‘Custom Installers’ but we are just going to be sales people and let some hack install the system because we are not allowed. Kiss my ....
I see a new business model I’m going to pursue - fixing Vivint installs.
“Yes Mr. customer it costs 2x has much as you paid the other company initially and we are not authorized. But I’m going to actually make it work correctly and look nice. Or we can replace it all with something I can install for you to begin with”.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on June 21, 2019

Thanks for your comment, Brad. Obviously the model is not perfect or even fathomable for a wide swath of traditional dealers, including yourself. It is telling, however, that some of the top custom-centric A/V reps are embracing the line. I’ve spoken with many reputable integrators who can’t wait to dig in. Others, like you, think the whole idea of recurring revenue through third-party partnerships is stupid. If it was a perfect solution for every dealer, someone would have done it AGES ago! Good luck with your own business. Plenty of room for all models.

Posted by Chuck Schneider on June 24, 2019

This whole thing is laughable while a little sad.


If there’s that much juice in a Vivint install to offer both a rep and integrator substantial commissions then why are they still losing boatloads of money every quarter?


http://s2.q4cdn.com/226156452/files/doc_presentations/2019/Q1/1Q19-Earnings-Deck-Final-07May19VF.pdf


Folks pretty high up the food chain at Best Buy blanch when Vivint is mentioned. The most you’ll get, and still off the record, is “a culture clash” as to the cause of last summer’s abrupt breakup.


As a retired 40 year specialty CE rep (20+ as a principal), I’ve sat through numerous overly long sales meetings and mandatory last-day-of-show booth duties with many of the now Vivint reps. Using our class of trade as a credible reason why this is a good idea is like asking Bernie Sanders if tuition-free college is really-really-really going to happen once he’s elected.

What do you expect to hear from a rep? “This is a scam and I’m only in it for the money?” Poll every Vivint rep principal and ask him to recall a seemingly well intentioned vendor offering that blew up in his face either through over promising while under delivering or, sadly, flat out vendor deception and fraud.


No number of really great reps recruited by any number of zealous former middle managers from reputable CE companies can ever counterbalance the mountain of truly horrible Vivint reviews that will linger on the net forever like those after-prom selfies you were sure got deleted.


For example, the Better Business Bureau has logged a staggering 4489 customer complaints about Vivint over the past 3 years. They earn a “C” grade from BBB only because they’ve been smart enough to answer every complaint and fold like a lawn chair when refunds are demanded. (ADT has 1000s fewer complaints and earns an A+)


Vivint earns one (count it—one!) star out of 5 from Yelp with nearly 400 overall reviews, some astonishingly brutal. And these are just the tip of a Titanic sinking iceberg. I haven’t read anything this consistently bad since Chipotle added E Coli to its menu.


Vivint Smart Home Authorized Pro is decidedly not a model for which there is plenty of room in our business. It is, rather, a terrible idea for any integrator from boutique salon to one guy and a van. This is a potentially reputation ruining gambit like nothing else I’ve ever seen in the CE space.