ChannelVision Magazine May-June 2018

Neither of those key elements are teach- able but are the most important factors in the success of most professionals, especially any- one who sells or provides a service. My inher- ent belief is that although technology, company vision and delivery of service are all vital com- ponents of success, people buy from people (credit to Jeb Blount, author of Sales EQ ). All things being equal, a human being from Com- pany A is going to buy from a human being at Company B who he or she likes, respects and feels valued by. That being said, selling in the telecommunica- tions agent channel is an arduous task. There can be well more than 100 competitors in any given situation, and even the best personal rela- tionships are subject to enhanced vetting of ev- erything from product performance to company size to minute metrics that may give powerful indicators of future performance. The telecom- munications landscape is a noisy one, and small differentiating details can make all the difference in earning business from a channel partner. In any sales role, you must prospect. In the agent channel, you are not prospecting for new customers but new partners; new partners that you hope to gain a strong selling relationship with. Paramount to almost any other factor, a channel manager recruiting a new partner is looking to gain that partner’s trust. In my expe- rience, many agent prospecting calls go south in the first two minutes. Maybe this scenario below will resonate with your experience: Agent: Tell me why I should represent your company to my customers (or sub agents). Channel Manager: Well Mr./Mrs. Agent, wait until you hear what I have to tell you! We have the best customer service, our people really care, and we can sell everything you would ever need to offer your customers. We have hosted VoIP, SIP trunks, SD-WAN, POTS lines (and continue down the line with every product that you’ve ever seen or heard of). We also have a nationwide footprint, and when you have trou- ble, just call me! I’m responsive, and I answer the phone at all times of the day and night. Agent: Thank you for calling me, but you sound like … (agent names four or five suppli- ers that they have existing business with, that do a generally good job supporting their cli- ent base). I will keep you in mind and call you when I have a fit. Empathy and an Ear A nyone that has either worked for me, with me or in partnership with me knows that above all else, I value a strong work ethic and the power of positive interactions. The telecommunications landscape is a noisy one, and small differentiating details can make all the difference in earning business from a channel partner. channel management The key advantages to earning partnerships By Bruce Wirt Channel Vision | May - June, 2018 12