A common thread between successful salespeople seems to be a knack for good old fashioned networking. In the May 2007 issue of BSM, I interviewed Terry Selkirk of VAR GENESIS (click here to read the article). Selkirk had some great advice regarding building relationships. While his expertise lies in selling Grocery POS solutions, you'll notice that his advice can be applied to almost any technology or vertical.
"A VAR needs to make as many relationships as it can with other noncompeting equipment sellers,” says Selkirk. “In fact, you have your head in the sand if you don’t walk around a store and look at the brand names of every piece of equipment.” To Selkirk, those equipment manufacturers are potential partners. He has numerous stories about times he has been installing a POS system and overheard the owner talking about needing to buy a new piece of deli equipment. It’s been his practice to pass those leads on to the sales reps of manufacturers he’s building or maintaining relationships with. However, Selkirk warns that, at the beginning, you might be received with some skepticism. “You need to be the one who passes the first two or three leads through without any response,” says Selkirk. “If you’re the one who takes the initiative and passes leads, the quicker they will say, ‘I should work with this company, because if I don’t start passing him leads, he’s going to stop passing me leads.’ Be the one extending your hand first.”