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A Conversation with VAR Lowry Computer Products
Selling a total solution requires more than just a keen knowledge of technology; you really need to know what your clients want and need. VSR sat down with Andre Limarenko, senior vice president of sales of Lowry Computer Products, at Ingram Micro's Partner Conference, to find out more about how the company transitioned from a barcode VAR to a true IT consultant.
VSR: Is it challenging selling into almost every vertical market?
We take a very methodical approach to each vertical, because each vertical has its own needs. You don’t go in and try to sell a hospitality company a solution that warehousing needs and vice versa. You really have to understand the customer’s needs. That’s the secret in being the trusted advisor to our customers. It’s about what can we do to help them. The magic word is adaptation. Our solution is not just made for one particular type of work. Every vertical has its own needs and within every vertical every person has his or her own needs. That’s the actual trick. The word innovation can be thrown out there, but we listen to our customers and we work with them to make the application that they are looking for work for them.
VSR: Do you have to train your salespeople differently to sell to certain markets?
All of our sales and technical people are certified by our vendors to sell their products. Our engineers are certified in GS1. We have certified project managers. We have a lot of people that are taught all about the products and how they can help build the solutions, so that when you put that together with a solution/sales methodology you just can’t beat it. We try to give our representatives the best education possible. Also, we have weekly and monthly training sessions on different topics ranging from communication with clients to learning how to use different software applications.
VSR: Was there a paradigm shift at Lowry Computer Products where you went from being a computer reseller to being a solution provider?
One word—agility. If I keep selling you the same product over and over again, we’re not going to get anywhere. Every company, in order to survive, needs to change with the times. [Lowry founder] Mike Lowry recognized that barcoding was a key industry to get into, so he was one of the first resellers of barcode printers and readers, but he also recognized that as the industry matured other technologies such as RFID came into play. Then handhelds became computers with applications, [so we entered that market]. After looking around for asset-tracking applications, he decided to spend a lot of time and money to develop a robust solution that can be used by companies up to and including the military. Those are just a few examples of how Lowry has changed over the years to stay relevant in the Channel. It’s all about agility.
VSR: Can you offer any advice for resellers that want to transition from a traditional hardware VAR to a consultant with a solution-based business model?
The word solution unfortunately has become so overused that people are forgetting what it really means. It’s a combination of what you already know how to do, but also thinking about the customer and how you can best help them do it. In our world, solutions can mean anything from selling barcode labels and tags, to a scanner and a reader, to managed services. But is this really for everyone? In fact it may not be. That’s up to the individual VAR to decide.
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