It’s a game, but you don’t know the rules!

Picture of Tony Horling

It’s a game, but you don’t know the rules!

The hidden risks of committing to an incompatible VAR

There is an old fable about three blind men and an elephant. Each man encounters an elephant and relays their experience to the others. The first feels the elephant’s trunk and states that the elephant is like a snake. The second touches the ear and says the elephant is like a fan. The third feels the leg and says the elephant is like a tree. Naturally, the elephant is like all these things, and none of the men are wrong; their vision is incomplete. 

The search for a VAR is no different from the fable; many companies are not wrong in their approach. They simply lack the necessary knowledge to make a clear decision. 

This article will tackle the three things you must know to avoid disaster when selecting a VAR. Because not only are we speed dating, we are doing it blindfolded…

Don’t Blindly Choose a Product Provider Based on Price Alone!

In our first article, we talked about the need to interview the VAR. A thorough interview reveals much about your potential partner. How long have they been supplying technology? Have they serviced your particular industry before? These questions still need to be answered when requesting a simple price for a product. 

The key to this is that the first price you get, even if it is the lowest, may not be the best price you could acquire, particularly in the long run. 

The Standard Buying Process

Let’s consider your search for a moment; you have an issue with aging devices for your delivery fleet. Your team has identified two different devices they would be happy to deploy. You do your due diligence and select the product you think would be best. You know you have 50 delivery personnel in the field, so you would need 50 devices, with some to spare in case of damage. 

The next step logically is to acquire a price. 

Right? Get the price, get the products, and deploy them. 

You go to several VARs, and they all say they can get you 60 devices at varied prices. The lowest price wins, right? Logic says so.

When seeking pricing from multiple companies, the lowest offer may only sometimes be the best match. The VAR that first registered the opportunity with the manufacturer may not be the most suitable option for your needs, and they may have prevented other VARs from getting you your best price and, most importantly, a total solution; more on this later

TIP: Remember, it’s not just about finding the lowest price; it’s also about choosing the right partner for your business. Don’t let the pursuit of savings close your eyes to the importance of selecting an optimal VAR.

The dangers of not understanding the VAR buying process.

Contrary to popular belief, all VARs work with the same or similar manufacturers. When a lead comes to VAR, they have an opportunity to speak directly with you and register the deal with the manufacturer. This guarantees they get the deal registration and authorization to work on your behalf. That is great for the VAR, but what happens if the VAR doesn’t have the right expertise for your needs?

Who cares, right? I will go ask another VAR to get me a price. Wrong!

Requesting a price locks in a deal that other VARs can’t circumvent easily 

When the VAR gets you a price on the desired product, they draw an imaginary wall around your account; this limits what another VAR might do for you.

You’ve effectively blocked other VARs from getting a price and registering a deal with the product manufacturer you were interested in acquiring a product from.

You will have to find another VAR to look for a similar product from another manufacturer, wasting more time and resources. Instead of calling to get a price, you should call to interview and find out if the provider can provide you with more than just a price. 

What else are they adding, technical support, and industry best practices in deployment? Be thorough in your questions. 


So let’s go ahead and buy the device from the VAR with the lowest price.

Boom, we are done, right? 

That is one way to go, but we suggest that you may have left your best price and a monumental strategic partnership on the chopping block. 

What if some of your devices have failed six months later, and you also need complimentary devices like mobile printers for your drivers? You return to the same VAR, get a price, and replace the damaged devices. 

No problems, right? But what if you could have gotten the same devices, with a service plan to replace the damaged ones at a lower cost, and identified the need for mobile printers the first time? 

VARs aren’t created equally, and some might not have the skill set to bolster your efforts adequately.

Executing Real Buying Power

Your low price could have been lower

What we would like to suggest is that a Value Added Reseller with an actual value add would have had an opportunity to identify the need for the complimentary devices and the need to explore additional service options to keep your devices running in the field, for instance, using hardware as a Service. 

That VAR now has more buying power that they can execute on your behalf and can potentially access an even more fantastic deal from the manufacturer because you are buying more than just 60 Devices. 

Due to their extensive industry experience, the qualified VAR can often get you a lower price and has the added benefits of consulting, tech support, and more.

This is why it is so critical for you to interview the VAR and make sure they are the right partner. In truth, the VAR should be interviewing you to see how much they can help you, not just leaving you with a price for what you requested. A full investigation of how they can help doesn’t harm your efforts; it can only bolster them and help you deploy a more equipped and efficient team in the warehouse or the field. 

Critical Questions to Ask When Interviewing a VAR

You need to thoroughly interview the value-added reseller (VAR) before deciding. It is not just about getting the best price – you’re choosing a long-term partner to solve your problems and provide the right solutions. 

Take the time to properly interview your potential partner and choose one that will provide the best solution for your needs rather than just the cheapest option. Your time and resources are valuable, so choose wisely. 

Because when you choose hastily, it’s not just a divorce that you could face. You’ll spend time and resources finding a new partner, but you’ve also wasted money on a hardware solution that doesn’t meet your needs. Don’t make the mistake of choosing the first pretty-penny solution that comes your way. 

Identify and commit to a provider that genuinely fits your needs.

Question Number 1: What value are they adding?

To become a Value Added Reseller a decade ago, you had to prove your VALUE ADD for the manufacturers to add you to the VAR list. Now the process is severely relaxed; the requirements are lower. 

Anyone can give you a price. That isn’t a value add. What is the VAR adding to the process? More on this next week!

Question Number 2: what experience do you have in my industry?

Be on the lookout for cookie-cutter solutions that don’t meet your needs. Look for VARs with years of experience in your industry and a diverse range of satisfied customers. Ask whom they have served and make sure they understand your vertical market. If they have worked in your industry, it never hurts to call your peers to see how they handled their business. 

Question Number 3: Is this the right solution for my company?

Assess the VAR’s Trustworthiness: Checking their Track Record, Approach, and Focus is critical. When working with a Value-Added Reseller (VAR), you’d want to partner with a trustworthy and service-oriented company. To evaluate their credibility, consider their track record, representation, general approach, and orientation toward your business requirements. Don’t fall for quick sellers who only care about profits; invest in a VAR that values your satisfaction and success.

It can all fall apart if you don’t ask the right questions.

The goal is to Acquire a Complete Solution.

What if the provider/VAR could give you more than a price? What if they could give you a complete spectrum solution? A solution that prevents you from having to go and get hardware here, software here, and Frankenstein everything together in an inefficient mess.

Asking as many questions as possible mitigates damage and prevent you from seeing the elephant as the three blind men did. Instead, you are getting a clear picture in its entirety.

Check back next week as we are set to unveil five key considerations that help you select the right supplier!

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