ChannelVision Playbook Volume 8

ing to the agent, finding out about their ideal customer profile and understand- ing their plans for the future, the chan- nel manager assumed that the agent wasn’t as successful as they wanted to be or wasn’t making enough money selling to the customers that have helped build the business that made them a prospect in the first place. Listening and empathy are key elements to breaking into a new partnership. Channel managers can have great success by asking for 15 minutes (not a lunch, dinner, event, etc.) of time to understand the agent’s business, and quickly provide one or two items that may resonate enough to have a future conversation. The key to this is respecting the agent’s time (if you say 15 minutes, check in at 14 minutes to gauge whether more time is available if needed; don’t just con- tinue on past the agreed upon time), and not immediately assuming there are holes in the existing portfolio of suppliers. Some opening statements that may generate interest include: 1. “Tell me what you like about your current supplier partnerships.” This question not only will allow the chan- nel manager to understand areas where no opportunity exists, but in many cases the agent will engage and share the experiences or prod- ucts that they don’t like or are miss- ing. This is a much better tactic than asking agents what they don’t like about their current partnerships be- cause if the answer is “nothing,” the conversation can end quickly. 2. “What types of customers are you tar- geting now, and how do you see your business evolving in the next year or two?” Instead of assuming that the agent wants to sell something more, bigger or better, this question allows the agent to dive deep into the ele- ments that have made their business successful (and potentially tap into a source of pride), but encourages the agent to reveal their fear and uncer- tainty regarding the future. 3. “What new technology or service will enhance your relationships with your customers?” This allows the agent to expand upon which products or ser- vices are exciting for them now, and gives the channel manager a window into what types of products and services might be the key to earning business down the road with this particular agent. In summary, while personal interac- tions are at the core of successful sales conversations, listening is the key ele- ment to creating positive interactions. In the telecom agent channel, it is more important than anything else when it comes to developing new partnerships. After that, relationships, value proposi- tions and company history can come into play, but none of those things matter if the agent never opens the door for you to come in. Give these tactics a try and let me know how they work for you! o Bruce Wirt has 15 years in channel sales leadership and is currently the channel chief at Telesystem, which includes the LSI organiza- tion as well. Connect with him on LinkedIN to share your success stories. NEER PI T E L E P H O N E ENSURE YOUR SMB CUSTOMERS GET THE SERVICE THEY DESERVE. Pioneer understands the unique needs of small and mid-sized businesses. We have been serving the SMB community for over 25 years. Our staff of dedicated service delivery experts makes selling UCaaS and SIP services to your customers EASY. Our ongoing relationship with our small business customers is a priority at Pioneer. Our customer service team is trained to meet the needs of all companies — whether or not they have a dedicated IT department. There are hundreds of options. Why not partner with Pioneer? For more information Contact us at or (207) 766-7816 AWIN FOR YOU & YOUR SMB CUSTOMERS GROWYOUR BUSINESS WITH PIONEER. Customer Service Maine-based CSR;s that still answer the phone in 30 seconds. 25 Years of Experience We know how to take care of your SMB customers. Partner Program Working with the way our partners do business Value Pricing Seats starting at $17.99 13 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK