During this recession, how many times have you heard your channel partners voice phrases like, “We just don’t have the budget for that right now.” or “It’s a great idea but let’s try it in six months when we have the budget for it”? When times are tough and businesses are searching for ways to survive hard economic times, they are not going to spend precious dollars on new ideas, products or promotions. They may love the idea, but are too scared to pull the trigger. So they use the ol’ “It’s not in the budget right now” line. Hearing this over and over again can break you. It’s your job as a Super VAR to not let it.
One way to overcome this obstacle is to work with your channel partners to develop ideas and solutions that benefit all of you – and utilize just a fraction of each of your budgets. Instead of approaching your customer with your service or solution that is solely your own, imagine how that customer will feel with a whole team working on solutions that will better his business? The value of that alone is going to win points with your customer and he, in turn, will have solutions to provide to his end-user.
There are two elements at work here: the first being the push-back you’re receiving from your customer because of budget constraints; and the second becomes a product of the first – how to supply the solutions within your customer’s constraints.
First, to address the push-back from your customer, focus on the value of what you have to offer. You know you should no longer be selling your products – you should be selling solutions that your customers crave. Yes, your products are a part of those solutions. But just because a printer zips out 15 pages a minute or the ink lasts longer than a trip to the moon and back doesn’t mean that those features will solve your customer’s problems! If you are able to demonstrate to your customers that they are buying solutions that will ultimately save them money to their bottom line, they will understand why your services are valuable – and find the money in the budget to utilize you. You are changing their perception and therefore changing the way they look at their budget in the process.
Once you’ve convinced your customer of the value of what you have to offer, how do you provide this solution in the most economical way possible? Leverage your channel partners. Like never before, it is now critical that you work with your channel partners in your marketing efforts to provide valuable products, services, and solutions. Talk to your customers. Find out their needs. What are they willing to spend their budget on, and what, if they had more money, do they wish they could sell? It’s the latter you want to hone in on. What are your customers dreaming about providing to their end-users that would make work more productive and fiscally successful in warehouses, hospitals, nursing homes, or large industrial companies? If a warehouse manager doesn’t know where his inventory is or his counts are continually off, what solutions can you provide him – with your team of channel partners – to bring his warehouse asset management into the twenty-first century?
Now turn to your channel partners. How can you solve this together? Does one partner offer exceptional service plans on an automated asset management system that you sell? Perhaps another partner can provide various payment options to space out the expense within your customer’s budget. Can you work with your channel partners to combine some of your marketing budgets to in turn offer more value to one collective program or service that will benefit all of you – and offer it to your customer at a fraction of the cost because of the partnerships involved? Do you have more than one partner that offers a discount? And when you combine all those discounts, will it offer incredible savings for your customers? The key here is to look for creative ways to work together with your channel partners. You all have your strengths. Bringing all of those strengths together makes you a powerful VAR who clearly has deep resources. Customers notice this. Your vendors will be impressed. As you find creative ways to get past the push-back of budget constraints, look for end-to-end solutions for your customers, not just quick fixes or a patchwork fix. You are the solutions provider. Lead the charge for your customers, and with your channel partners, to find the best solutions – together.