By Dan Baldwin, Sales Director, ATEL Communications Inc.
In addition to selling telecom solutions directly to ATEL house accounts, I also help ATEL recruit successful VAR partners as ATEL subagents. Finding successful VAR partners to become subagents is no easy trick. VARs who already know about selling network services are already doing it. Those that don’t know about it have to be convinced that selling or recommending network services won’t jeopardize their core revenue streams.
I used to compile lists of VARS to recruit by doing lengthy Internet searches but that tended to give me names of VARs that are no longer in business or folks who were not doing much if any business. Recently I discovered a way to find just the right kind of successful VAR to recruit as telecom subagents: driving back and forth to work.
The ATEL office is 63.5 miles from my home, so as you can imagine I get quite a bit of windshield time during the week on Southern California’s highways. In driving back and forth to work I noticed that I passed (or was passed) by at least one pickup truck or van every day that indicated it was a vehicle for a company that did some sort of IT (information technology) work like installing phone systems, data cabling, video security cameras, etc.
I figured these guys were calling on the same people I was calling on. Most everything these guys were installing needed to connect to some kind of network service. So I started writing down the company name and contact information whenever I saw one of these trucks. (This is not always easy. I got passed by this enormous Wi-Fi tower installation truck one evening that I swear was going 105 miles an hour. Fortunately I drive a little Acura Integra!)
The great thing about most of these “truck leads” is that in addition to the company’s phone number and Web site, most have their California contractor’s license number printed on the truck. This license number comes in pretty handy because while few Web sites have the name of the business owner published on it (this is the person I want to talk to) the California’s state contractors board Web site does. The other nice thing about the truck leads is that they tells me that this company is at least successful enough to have a company truck with a custom paint job. They must be doing something right to attract business always an important qualifier when looking to recruit a successful VAR as a telecom subagent.
So the next time your agent manager requests to get paid for mileage on their expense report, be sure and ask, “So how many truck leads did you get us while you were driving around out there at 48 cents per mile?”
Dan Baldwin is founder of TelecomAssociation and director of sales at ATEL Communications Inc. Founded in 1985, ATEL is the largest NEC telephone equipment dealer in Southern California. Baldwin works with ATEL’s carrier services division that acts as an in-house telecom master agency to sell network services (including SIP trunks and other specialized IP services) to ATEL’s embedded base of 2,000 phone equipment customers. For more information about ATEL’s carrier services division please visit
. TelecomAssociation is a membership organization founded in 1995 that serves the information & communication needs of its 2,500 members who distribute telecom and related services to businesses.
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