ChannelVision Playbook Volume 8

Neither of those key elements are teachable but are the most important factors in the suc- cess of most professionals, especially anyone who sells or provides a service. My inherent be- lief is that although technology, company vision and delivery of service are all vital components of success, people buy from people (credit to Jeb Blount, author of Sales EQ ). All things being equal, a human being from Company 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 telecommu- nications agent channel is an arduous task. There can be well more than 100 competitors in any given situation, and even the best per- sonal relationships are subject to enhanced vetting of everything from product perfor- mance to company size to minute metrics that may give powerful indicators of future perfor- mance. The telecommunications landscape is a noisy one, and small differentiating details can make all the difference in earning busi- ness 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 experi- ence, 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 client 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. The key advantages to earning partnerships By Bruce Wirt 10 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK