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.”
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.”
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