Raise Your Wi-Fi Sales Initiative
A systems integrator earns a $200,000 networking, wireless, and IP (Internet Protocol) telephony installation by demonstrating Wi-Fi expertise.
Very few VARs fall into the category described by business thought leaders as 'level 1 initiative.' Most fall into a lower level of initiative, which is waiting to be told what to do. Enough customers approach them about making a change to their product or services, and they do it. A customer asks for a quote, and they provide it. The more successful companies, on the other hand, are the ones that incorporate level 1 initiative into their business plans.
smplsolutions is an example of an integrator that displays high initiative. One of the integrator's sales reps found out about a professional athlete management company that was completely renovating its facility. The sales rep helped smplsolutions get the opportunity to bid on the RFQ (request for quote), which entailed running Cat (category) 6 cable and multimode fiber optic cable, expanding the company's phone system, designing a UPS (uninterruptible power system) backup, and relocating the professional athlete company's network equipment. Prior to submitting a response, smplsolutions visited the prospect and checked out the situation. "The building was a huge, state-of-the-art facility, designed to entertain the nation's top athletes," says David Case, president of smplsolutions. "There were more than $1 million worth of plasma televisions and entertainment equipment, a gourmet kitchen, a workout facility and locker room, and a fire pit with barbeque area in this tri-level, 24,000-square-foot building."
Inquire About Your Customer's Wi-Fi Plans
After evaluating the situation, a smplsolutions sales rep noticed that the building didn't have Wi-Fi access and brought it to the prospect's attention. "The prospective customer thought that was a great idea, and it added Wi-Fi to the RFQ," recalls Case. "We got a copy of their floor plans and worked with our Wi-Fi vendor, Xirrus, to put together a proposal."
The integrator followed up with the prospect a few days later with its proposal, which entailed installing two Xirrus XS-3700 array APs (access points) on the second floor and a Xirrus XS-3500 array on the first floor. During the same period, a competitor's Wi-Fi solution and subsequent bid was considered, which required 15 APs (one of which needed to be mounted outdoors to cover the barbeque area) and a PoE (power over Ethernet) switch. "Needless to say, the prospect was highly skeptical about our solution since we required only about 20% as much hardware," says Case. "So, we took an XS-3700 array and a wireless laptop to the customer's facility and set up a demonstration. We also insisted they use their own wireless laptop to erase any doubt about our solution." To the prospect's amazement, everywhere they walked in the building with their wireless laptop, they had wireless coverage. Ultimately, it was smplsolutions' demonstration that led to winning the bid, including cabling, UPS, phone system, and Wi-Fi, which ended up being a $200,000 project.
The customer requested its electrician, who was installing the electrical wiring and outlets in the new facility, to install electrical outlets in the ceiling at three locations for the Xirrus arrays. The APs were installed in one day, and the next few days included upgrading the customer's phone system to a Toshiba Strata CIX IP converged business communication system, which included support for digital phones, analog lines (e.g. fax machines), voice mail messages delivered through Outlook e-mail, and VoIP (voice over IP) phones. "The benefit of the hybrid system is that the customer can leverage the best of every phone technology, and it can migrate to full VoIP at its own pace," says Case. The customer's server room is protected by 35 kVA (kilovolt amperes) APC UPS devices as well as a 12-month phone system and wireless maintenance contract.
In the near future, smplsolutions will approach this customer about adding voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi). "The Xirrus Wi-Fi APs already support voice packets, so the customer would need to invest in only Toshiba Wi-Fi phones," says Case. Based on smplsolutions' level 1 (i.e. high) initiative, it's highly likely that it will win this sale as well as additional upsell opportunities in the future.