Their rules or they won’t play!

Have you ever known someone who would only play a game by their rules? And if it came down to choosing between their rules or not playing, then they just wouldn’t play? I though that was only kid stuff but it turns out VAR’s can be the same way!

Recently while helping the same friend I mentioned in my HP StoreOnce article, I ran into a VAR (a three-letter VAR that starts with a “C”) that would not quote a simple EMC VNXe 1600 for me. Their reasoning seems to be because I’m an informed buyer, and was unwilling to allow them to take advantage of “the system” and lock me into only purchasing from them.

What system? Well if you read my IT purchasing article you probably know… Deal Registrations.

Back story

It’s been about 5 years since my friend purchased hardware and since warranties are running out it is time to get quotes on servers and storage. So he asked me to help him look into whats out there that would fit his budget and his requirements.

We decided on EMC storage and HP or Cisco servers. So to do my due diligence I asked one vendor to do a quote for the EMC storage and Cisco Servers, and then asked the other VAR to quote EMC storage and HP servers.

What I did different

Many customers don’t know who their vendor reps are… but I do. So I called my area’s inside EMC rep and asked him not to award deal registration to any VAR until we got received initial quotes back at the normal discount level. He agreed and asked me to just keep him informed.

Also because I have quoted a lot of EMC gear in my past, I was able to pull together a BOM with list price pretty easily. I provided this BOM to both of the VAR’s that would be quoting it.

Fast forward

About 2 hours after calling the VAR in question I received an email from them asked where I got the BOM for the EMC gear. I explained to them that I used to work for a reseller and knew how to generate BOM’s. The inside rep emailed back and said that the prices on the BOM were their transfer cost, and that there is no way they could match them. But they weren’t transfer costs they were list price. Apparently reading on the BOM where it says “List Price” was not clear enough for the employees over there. After a couple more emails back and forth I said “OK, well I understand if you can’t match the price, but do the best you can.”

A week goes by and I get the quote for the Cisco servers and EMC storage from VAR “A” but no word from VAR “B”, the one in question. So I email them and ask what is going on and if they would be able to provide the requested quotes. I was kind of shocked by their response.

I was told that they would be unable to provide a quote for the EMC gear. With no further explanation.

So why does this piss me off ?

This grinds my gears because I have competed against this VAR MANY times. They are the var that has a team of people who do nothing but deal registrations for anything and everything that can be deal reg’d. BUT when you don’t play the game by their rules…. and you try to level the playing field…. they are no longer interested in playing at all.

I guess I know where I’ll be recommending the purchase go to…

Anyone have a similar experience ?

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2 Responses to "Their rules or they won’t play!"

  1. I’ve had interesting experiences with a certain VAR who sounds similar in behavior. They sold 40K worth of deal protected P4000 storage, but sold 100Mbps $20 switches to run the iSCSI and cluster network through (no deal registration on switching so they didn’t care and found the cheapest item). Customer’s Exchange queue’s were backed up for days until we could get some real switching. Their IT manager almost got fired over it. Once the mail queue’s dropped I got a hug. A really awkward hug as the sound of blackberry’s and iPhone across the organization received a massive flurry of backed up emails.

    Moral of the story.

    Some vendors are vaRs, some are Vars. (Lots of resell or lots of value). Choose wisely, otherwise you may be giving a storage consultant a very not desired hug.

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