How to be taken seriously by vendors?

I’m sorry guys, long time lurker but I need to vent and I think some of you may be able to relate or offer advise. I’m hope I’m not the only one. This may get long…

We’re in year two of business. Last year this was a side gig and i treated it that way. I had the LLC but no bank account, loans, tax reseller status, nothing. Just word of mouth work for a few people; I wasn’t really keeping books or any records either. This year (January) I decided to take it seriously and make it my main gig. So I registered for tax exemption, opened bank accounts in my business name, credit cards, loans, vendor accounts, etc.

Here is my problem:

I obviously did something right, I picked up some pretty good clients right out the gate. However, my vendors are not taking me seriously. It’s almost like my clients are to big for my organization. I don’t know why but I can’t get vendors to return phone calls or process orders for me. So far I’ve ran through Insight, Tech Data, and the most recent to let me down is Synnex. It’s really weird that last year, ordering one or two laptops was no big deal. This year…, I’ve been trying to fill an order for 58 laptops for the past 6 weeks!! A mix of T490s and highly speced P1s. Even when they’re in stock my account rep will just ghost me as soon as I approve the order. Literally all 3 distributors took weeks to set me up in their systems and get me a quote, but as soon as I said approved to the quote… nothing… no email back, no invoice, no call backs; for sure no laptops at my office. At some point in the last 6 weeks, I ordered 18 P1’s directly from at a very small discount, plus tax; as a work around. I received them and I figured I’ll get through this order and regroup. Lenovo cut me off from the retail channel after that purchase and told me to go the distributor route for the rest. However the distribution channel wont sell them to me either.

The order has been reduced by my client over time as they proceed to buy the systems they desperately need for new hires themselves. Now I’m down to 24 laptops that I need, tomorrow is unofficially my last day to deliver, and I just got final word from Synnex management a few moments ago that the order isn’t being filled. But no one will tell me why!! Based on conversations last week, I’m pretty sure I’m losing this client if I don’t deliver computers tomorrow, and I have nothing for them. I honestly can’t blame them as they’ve been waiting on laptops for new hires for well over a month.

I lost a different client last week after Synnex failed to process a single laptop order. I carefully explained in email that this is to replace a broken machine, someone is dead in the water and need a laptop asap. I asked for a single laptop by Thursday and provided the specs(I sent the email the previous Friday). After a whole bunch of “we’re working on it, tomorrow, tomorrow”, I get to COB this past Wednesday and they told me they didn’t have stock. No stock to fill a single laptop order?!??!? When I updated the client Thursday morning that I needed more time, they initially said OK but then called back in within the hour to cancel it. Told me they found it online and ordered it.

I’m at a total lost. I never thought this would be a trouble area for the business. I’m assuming I’m doing something wrong because I can’t imagine why any company would leave over $50K on the table like this. When I worked for MSPs before starting my own, our reps would fall over themselves to fill an order like this. I really don’t get it. What am I do wrong?

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Dealing with sales reps pre-2020 was not much fun and even less so now. In 2020 demand for laptops is far exceeding supply. Also, this is one of the reasons we get so many things from online ordering even if the discount is not that big. I don’t find much value in dealing with sales people.

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I can relate. I have had vendors refuse to register deal registrations because the client was to big for companies partner level. Told that I should go after smaller clients, then had the vendors poach my clients. My recommendation to you would to be partner up with a local distributor or VAR, so you can build a reputation and client based. Which will not only get you better service but often better pricing. I often found that I could actually buy the equipment from a larger local VAR cheaper than the vendor was willing to sell to me directly. In the end we actually got out of the sell game all together, and only do professional services, this was the best move we could have ever made as now that we are not competing with local VAR they are contracting us to do all their installs. When a client needs hardware if they don’t already have a VAR they work with we make recommendations with VARs we have relationships with and know will treat the customers right. By doing it this way we are selling a client on a solution not a product and when you recommend a particular product for a solution and the client goes ooh I hate them had a back experience 5 years ago, you are model enough to switch the hardware out.

I should note there are somethings we do sell direct as they only way to get them is through a partner or MSP as the companies to do deal with end clients directly.

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Is it worth speccing Dell or HP? Might have better luck there. What about Fujitsu, they still make some really good business products.

I knew it was going to happen. Order canceled… The entire thing. I’m under contract with them for a few managed services so I have about 7 months to get back on their good graces, if that’s even possible.

@LTS_Tom - I feel like I was just noticed by a celebrity!! I watch a ton of your content. You know, there was a time I would have pushed back on your statement. However, after the year I’ve had dealing with vendors… I’m with you 100%. I’m finding that my distributors sometimes can’t even keep up with Amazon or Newegg. My only issue with those two is many times we’re limited on quantity. I need to change directions when i comes to these orders.

@sdfungi - I felt like they were telling me my client was too big, but if they actually said that to me… Geez man, i would have completely lost my cool. That’s rude, presumptuous, and just flat out silly. Isn’t the game plan to procure more and more, larger and larger clients…? Who really starts a business and says “nah, they’re to good for me… I’m not even going to try.”; lol

It’s Friday; I’m going to go hang out with the kids and forget about this madness for a while…

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@Greg_E - I had thought about that but I painted myself into a corner with the brand. They were buying all sorts of mismatch trash that should never be in a business. All the pains that go along with that was there and affecting them everyday. They hired me 1st 1/4 of this year to do an IT/Security assessment and they ended taking the vast majority of the recommendations I put out. One of which was to standardize their devices; and when they asked me for a recommended system… Well, you would have thought I owned stake in Lenovo the way I talked it up. I happen to LOVE lenovos, plus when it comes to the big brands we can disassemble Dells and Lenovos with out thinking about it. Since I talked up lenovo so much I couldn’t see how I could completely reverse course and push Dell. I think I made a mistake there, next time I wont get so emotional when I’m asked for a recommendation…

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