Before you jump on the “me too” VoIP VAR bandwagon there are a few things you should know. In 2005 I lost about $25K attempting to offer the latest and greatest in VoIP solutions to SMBs. I really thought I knew what I was doing. Do you? I could probably share about 100 other lessons learned but for now here is my top 7 things you need to know to sell VoIP.
- NEVER sell price. It’s about functionality, not price.
- Partner carefully. There are thousands of potential vendors and partners out there. The are NOT all the same.
- Focus! Ask 10 people what VoIP is to them and you will get 10 different answers that are all correct. Hosted, open IPBX, custom IPBX, Trunking, etc… Pick a solution that fits your average client and become an expert in that solution. Don’t chase opportunities outside of your competency.
- Invest in training. A solid understanding of network protocols is REQUIRED. Understand how TCP/IP and UDP work. You will need this - Guaranteed! You should also know how to grab and analyze a stack of SIP packets.
- Not everybody is a prospect. Sometimes realizing that a working system that cost a few dollars a month more to terminate and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles is OK. My goal during any call with a VoIP prospect is to disqualify them. It it’s not a fit, don’t force it.
- Bandwidth quality is KING. Nothing is more of an influence on the Quality of Service your customers will experience than the quality of the bandwidth between their networks, providers or remote sets. Test, test and then retest. Then, after all is tested, test again prior to offering a solutions. If you don’t know how to test, revisit #4 above.
- Watch the industry. While it’s important to stay focused on your core competency, keep an eye on the industry as things change faster in the industry than most. Subscribing to blogs and e-zines has been my best method for filtering the massive quantities of VoIP buzz.
Now if I haven’t overwhelmed you then you might actually be crazy enough to throw yourself into the frenzy. I promise you will have fun being a part of what I believe it still very much an emerging technology. I won’t promise you will actually make any money at it. Good luck!
PS I would be remise if I didn’t drop a plug for the RP team and the potential they are showing in delivering a solution for customer premise IPBX’s. Ifyou are a Microsoft Partner, check out Jeff Smith’s blog for more details on how to get involved with Response Point.