5 Tips from a Successful VAR

By: Grace Parazzoli, Content Marketing Manager at Lavu

“Try not to become a man of success,” wrote Albert Einstein, “but rather try to become a man of value.” Providing value is at the core of what VARs do. It’s so integral that it’s in the job title! For VARs, being a person of value naturally leads to success.

Providing value is something that VAR Robert Jibby lives by. Robert, the owner of ​Inland Northwest Merchant Advocate​ (INWMA), is, unsurprisingly, a very successful value added reseller. Inland is a VAR with ​Lavu​, the iPad-based point-of-sale system for restaurants and bars. When Lavu circulates its monthly reseller newsletter, Inland is consistently in the top three resellers for past month’s sales. Inland’s client base includes dozens of restaurants and bars in the Northwest United States, and it continues to grow at a rapid clip.

How does Robert do it? When asked what it takes to be such a successful VAR, he outlined five tips that drive success.

1. Learn everything you can about the product, including all the technical aspects. Robert initially discovered Lavu through another dealer in the region. He was impressed by the POS but appalled by the presentation, which showed a clear lack of technical know-how. So he decided to become a Lavu VAR, and the first step was learning everything possible about the software and accompanying hardware. Study up on the nitty-gritty of SaaS, cash drawers, credit-card readers, and all things directly and indirectly tied to POS. (A great resource for understanding tech terms is the ​Sideways Dictionary​, which uses accessible analogies to clarify complicated terms.)

2. Understand your customers’ needs. ​A challenge Robert faces is transitioning clients from legacy POS systems to Lavu, a mobile POS. The switch inevitably includes a transition period while servers learn the system; after all, it’s a “paradigm shift from what they used to use,” as Robert explains. “Lavu provides benefits that [the customer] can’t necessarily see,” and during that transition period, those future benefits may be overlooked amid a temporary effect on operational efficiency. Robert stresses the importance of listening to the customers’ concerns and reassuring them of the benefits they will soon experience.

3. Address your customer’s unique business requirements.​ In particular, work with your customers to help them understand the features that are most crucial to their success, whether that’s check splitting among large parties or placing the most popular menu items in the easiest-to-access spot on the mPOS ordering screen.

4. Be available.​ If a client calls him, Robert answers the phone. One of the greatest values of VARs is that they provide local, in-person support. “The importance of being available and providing local support, implementation services, and training is huge to my success,” Robert says, adding that one recent large client ultimately went with Lavu because of the availability of local support.

5. Have an indefatigable work ethic. ​Robert’s clients know they can call anytime because they know he is a tirelessly hard worker. If he promises them something, they know he will deliver. As you know if you are one, being a VAR is not a 9-5 job. You are always responsible for providing support, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Others depend on you; through your work ethic, always remind them that they can.