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There are many challenges VARs and ISVs face in the Cannabis Industry, however, the biggest struggle has been to get face to face meetings with new dispensaries.  Many times industry leaders say that the business is typically open prior to anyone even knowing they are opening.  The challenge with this is you are not there in the planning phase to make the initial system purchase making it a much harder sell to do a rip and replace or even suggest better products.  Watch as Jim and Harry chat about some solutions to these challenges.   


Video Transcription

Harry Brelsford  0:03 Hey 420MSP back with Jim Roddy from the RSPA. And he says go on and grow on this special special interest group known as the cannabis community over there. Congratulations, you’re getting some real legs.

Jim Roddy  0:17 Thanks. Appreciate that. Yeah, we’re up to as of this recording 113 members of that community, it’s really active. It’s not just people who signed up, but we get a lot of great attendance, a lot of great engagement on our monthly calls.

Harry Brelsford  0:29 Yeah. So speaking of which, we recently just had the monthly call and give us a give us a recap.

Jim Roddy  0:37 Sure, so the topic that we discussed as a group or var and ISV challenges and mistakes that are made in the cannabis vertical. And so we started using a VAR from Oklahoma talk. And they said, they tend to serve the restaurant vertical. But now they’ve been serving cannabis for a while, as well as that grows in Oklahoma. And they said, it’s so difficult to get face to face meetings with new dispensaries, because they’re almost open before you even know that they’re there. And so they already have their point of sale system that they’ve gone and done the research on on their own. And I’ve heard you know, over the years from the folks in the restaurant vertical, it’s hard to know when a restaurant is opening, but there’s this virus saying it’s even harder to find out when a cannabis dispensary is opening, because they tend to be a little bit more hush hush about that happening. And then they said when they do get a face to face meeting, if this, you know, they haven’t purchased a point of sale system already, the biggest struggle is that there’s not a ton of money behind this as well. And what they’re focusing on is, can I get located on weed maps, and how expensive is it and because they’re so strapped for cash early on, they tend to go for the lower end systems that really don’t serve all their needs, but there’s always looking for something that can help them essentially a cash drawer that ties into some sort of a of a device. So that’s not fully what they need. But at this point, it’s the bare minimum. That’s what they’re going with. So that was one of the biggest challenges that we took away from from what resellers are facing.

Harry Brelsford  2:00 Yeah, yeah, is, is I’ve spent some time in the industry and talk to some seed the sales ISVs. In particular, you’re right, the challenge is always you want to be there when when they’re in the planning phase and making the initial system purchase because it’s a much harder sell to do a rip and replace. And one ISV out of Redmond was encountering that, that she’s they already have a system. Now you got to go in and convince them to migrate or do a lift and shift to a new system. And, you know, the sentiment was I haven’t had this talk in a while. But the sentiment was, well, no, no system is perfect in the cannabis field. And I’m talking seem to say all of which POS is one part of it. But yeah, no system is perfect. But they’re usually not so annoyed that they’re willing to do a migration, right? It’s like, yeah, it’s not perfect, but it works. Does that make sense?

Jim Roddy  2:57 Yes, sir. Like it’s good enough for right now. And this isn’t my biggest need at this point. So what I like to really shook out of that meeting, were the three tactics for what do you do when you run into this situation? So one of them is you just stay in touch with the cannabis dispensary. And as they grow, you’ll be the solution provider that they turn to. So I like that you’re like, Okay, you don’t need me right now. But I’m going to be here for when you do need me. Yeah, there was also thing of before you get caught in that spot, join these local communities, because that tends to be where some of these dispensary owners before they become dispensary owners actually end up congregating. So you can build those relationships or somebody in those groups can kind of hear the word on the street about somebody who’s opening up and can get in there early. And then the last one, we touched on it. And Harry, I still haven’t come up with a good marketing appropriate name for this. But I call it the suffocation method. Again, I know it sounds terrible from marketing standpoint. But if somebody already has their point of sale system, they’re like, I don’t want one right now. Well, then you say, well, maybe I can help you out. From a security standpoint, maybe I can help you out from a, you know, physical security standpoint, maybe from a network security standpoint, maybe you can help installing a kiosk where you are maybe I can provide other services around it. So you end up building that business relationship with them, then when they’re ready to ditch their current system and grow into a new one. Or if that current one brace because a lot of the ones that they buy aren’t hardy enough, just naturally they’ll turn to you because you’ve become legitimately their trusted advisor and, and their solution provider. So those are the three tactics that I’ve seen that have been most effective, not just in the cannabis vertical, but for resellers in general when they don’t have the core system.

Harry Brelsford  4:34 Yeah, and I wouldn’t on this, I thought the contribution by Greg James the publisher of marijuana, venture magazine is my friend and yours was really good because he’s, he’s old school. He’s on the phone all day. He is an old school publisher. And the he talked about, you know, these owners are getting hit on all the time, right? So, right it’s it’s a it’s a hard high profile target for tech vendors. And he said they’re there. There’s just the getting hit. They’re they’re burned out, they’re getting hit on Oh, stop it, stop it. And he suggested, you know, the worst thing you can do is you can’t walk into their store and make a cold call, which is also sort of an old school tactic, right? walking up and down the strip mall and leaving your business card as a commercial leasing agent said it doesn’t work. And then he’s also in a tough spot where he does know the players in particular in the Northwest. And so people are always asking him Hey, can you introduce me to Uncle Ike, you know, Uncle like, is one of the big players in the Seattle area? Well, he’s got to watch his reputation, right? Because uncle like is gonna say, Greg, stop it.

Jim Roddy  5:47 That’s right, exactly. Right. Yeah, my uncle like is gonna disown him. If he keeps sending people that way. Yeah, in this industry, they call it pulling doorknobs, like just walk around and pulling doorknobs. And here’s the thing that the cannabis committee is gonna have to brace for. They’re getting hit right now. They haven’t seen anything yet until they start accepting credit cards. Because credit cards have ISOs independent sales organizations, every you and I could very quickly in a short amount of time, become a registered ISO with multiple payment processors and just go around door to door. And that’s what a lot of them do. And so that’s what we hear a lot of times in the retail IT industry, that those merchants are really frustrated because they say many of them get up to five people a day, try to push credit card processing on them, and you want to answer your phone, but it makes you you know, want to run away from it at times as well.

Harry Brelsford  6:38 Yeah, yeah, exactly. So, folks, if you’re not familiar, what does it, for your organization, and it’s a monthly gathering the cannabis community. So it doesn’t even really, you know, this podcast is an evergreen, so it’s the second Thursday of the month. We don’t need to name specific dates, but it’s the I believe it’s the second

Jim Roddy  7:01 a ballpark, it’s right around the middle of the month, we tend to keep it between a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday has been our kind of our de facto middle of the month is when we haven’t That’s correct. Yeah, mid month. But yeah, just going to go if you just want to do a quick search for cannabis, you’ll be able to see a lot of the content that we have get in from the cannabis community. Or you can just reach out to me J Roddy, that’s the letter And if I could plug our event, Harry, oh, yeah. Yeah. So at the end of July, like a real live in person, 3d human beings in the same room kind of event. So we think so it’s retail. Now his artist pays annual trade show. So it’s July 25, through 25th through 27th. This year in Nashville, and we’re feeling like we’re in a really good spot for that timing. Because we’re hearing a lot of folks, nobody’s traveling q1, maybe in q2, but q3 is when we hear let a lot of folks who are going to be ready to hit the road. So we’re excited for that. We’ve already sold a bunch of booths. As this podcast drops, Registration is open. And so again, if you go on to the RSPA website, and just find on the menu there for retail now, you’ll see all the information and there is going to be a cannabis specific education track, which we’re certainly interested in and Harry want to make sure you block that on your calendar. We’d love to have you participate.

Harry Brelsford  8:18 Yeah, there we go. I’ll bring my winter jacket. It’s so cold in Nashville in the middle of the summer, but I gems Thank you very much.

Jim Roddy  8:26 Thanks, Harry.