Monday, September 04, 2006

A Thousand VARs Can't Be Wrong

Telarus, parent company of Shop For T1 and the VAR Network, has just gone over the 1,000 mark in recruiting VARs or Value Added Resellers according to Chief Technical Officer Patrick Oborn. An amazing achievement in a telecommunications industry dominated by fiercely independent small business owners. So what is the magic that compels telephone system installers and network consultants to become linked head to head in a nationwide database? Customer leads and residual income, that's what.

Computer network and telephone sales and service businesses tend to be locally or regionally focused. What's valuable to them are inquiries from other businesses within their service that have a near-term requirement for equipment, installation, training, upgrades and repairs. Until recently, a display ad in the Yellow Pages might have been all it took to capture the lion's share of this business.

But times have changed. Most companies are now in the habit of comparison shopping online as well as using traditional means to find suppliers. That's where the VAR Network comes in. It's a national database where potential buyers can find registered sellers in their area in a matter of seconds, literally. Searches can be very specific as to type of equipment and service, including such things as wiring, routers, IP PBX systems, telephone handsets, Point of Sale equipment, data recovery services, and so on. Another option is to specify a particular brand of equipment, such as Cisco, Avaya or ShoreTel. The system will then find qualified dealers who are authorized to offer that brand.

Other sections of the VAR Network offer refurbished telephone systems and network gear, or have ads from VARs looking to buy specific makes and models of equipment. Network engineer listings can be searched by operating system or other level of expertise.

Amazingly, there are no fees to access the VAR Network or become listed as a VAR. Buyers and sellers negotiate the terms and conditions of their agreements. VARs who receive business through their network listing are expected to pay a finders fee for their billed service amounting to 10% of the service charges and 2% for equipment. There is no actual charge per customer lead. Leads are provided to registered VARs for free. VARs that generate more business for the VAR Network receive more leads than those who don't follow through to closure.

Another feature of the VAR Network is the support for voice and data lines provided by Telarus through Shop For T1. Many VARs do not have expertise in supplying the T1, DS3, Ethernet WAN, Optical Carriers and other wireline services that complement the equipment they sell. That's left to the end customer, usually working with the local phone company. Shop for T1 brokers the services of a dozen or more competitive service providers through an easy to use online search form. A team of trained technical sales agents then provide an interface between the customers and carriers to select the best product and complete the often complex order paperwork.

VARs can take advantage of their association with Shop For T1 by accessing the system to get competitive quotes for their customers without having to develop additional expertise in this area. Customers benefit by getting line prices that are often far better than simply going through the phone company. VARs benefit by being able to offer a turnkey system of equipment plus line service. Plus, the VAR receives a residual commission based on monthly customer usage for the life of the voice or data line contract.

This unique and technically advanced VAR Network has generated a torrent of interest and a veritable flood of applications from networking and phone system suppliers looking to snag additional customer business with no marketing cost. The process to become listed involves a short online form and a telephone interview. As soon as the database record is created, the VAR will then be poised to get leads from potential clients conducting online searches.

Interested companies can visit the VAR Network to explore the complete range of products and services available. VARs will find a link to the online application here or at the bottom of the Network's home page.

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