Intelisys Partners Converge on Napa

By Robert Hayes, President, BrokerTel Inc.

This was my fourth round with the Intelisys Inteligolf event. This year, the venue was the beautiful Meritage Resort in Napa, Calif. My wife and I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and I had my first meeting with a supplier that evening. The lobby bar was already getting crowded with participants in this year’s event, so we decided that we should meet and talk over a wine tasting in the Meritage Wine cave, where we tasted the Trinitas varieties and discussed our relationship.

The exhibit hall was held in the Meritage wine cave.

So why do more than 100 partners and suppliers decide to converge upon Napa in October each year? Is it the golf? The wine tours? The spa? Or could it be the draw of sunny California?

While each of these would be reason enough for most, I believe the real reason we take a few days out of our hectic schedules is to fraternize with our fellow agents. The agent community is like a family and few families seem closer than this group of Intelisys sales partners. Over the years, I have gotten to know scores of my peers through this fall outing and have collaborated on numerous ideas to help grow my business.

A majority of partners and their guests took a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Thursday is the official start of the Inteligolf event and it kicked off with a Partner Roundtable. Under the leadership of Mike McKenney, Intelisys’ director of partner sales, approximately 20 sales partners met to discuss various industry topics, such as prospective suppliers, retention of customers, differentiating your agency, and ways to create “stickiness” at the C-Level within your customer base. What must be appreciated in this setting is that it is not a lecture; this is a moderated discussion between people who, for the most part, are competitors, yet we freely offer information and insight into what we are doing. In many cases, contact information is exchanged for follow-up on specific strategies. I left with a few great “nuggets” to immediately implement within my company.

The wine train stops off at a private tour of Domaine Chandon.

The next five hours consisted of high-level product presentations from suppliers who sponsored the Inteligolf event. The afternoon was reserved for the exclusive Intelisys sales partner and supplier fair, which was held in the Meritage wine cave. Just like the Channel Partners Expo in the spring and fall, this is an event where suppliers set up tables, provide information about their offerings, answer questions and distribute branded trinkets. My kids think they are the only reason I attend these events and I am not sure I would be allowed back through the door at home without my stash of goodies.

McGraw Communications took Intelisys partners out for a nice dinner.

Friday was all about networking and having fun. Guests chose from a host of activities including a wine train lunch, culinary institute lunch, spa day or golf outing. This was my first year to choose something besides golf, and I was happy with my decision — I chose the wine train lunch, and it was a blast. We finished late in the afternoon and then had a cocktail reception outside by the pool while waiting for the dinner ballroom to open. Jay Bradley, president, and the Intelisys co-founders — Rick Dellar, Rick Sheldon and Dana Topping — distributed awards to top-performing sales partners, followed by a magic show and live band.

Overall, the Ninth Annual Inteligolf was something to remember. It delivered more opportunities to build relationships with our suppliers and other top agents from around the country. In addition, it provided most of us with a reminder of why we are self employed: the freedom, the fun and the camaraderie. I look forward to next year’s event celebrating Inteligolf’s 10th anniversary!

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