During my career, I’ve often heard that “putting skin in the game” is the key ingredient to making a relationship successful. While many people believe this somewhat painful sounding phrase is tied to team sports, Warren Buffett actually referred to "skin" meaning equity and "the game", as the investment. I get it. I think most do to some level. In today’s rollercoaster economy and ever changing competitive market though, it seems that Buffett’s example of shared equity and investment has unfortunately shifted somewhat into a one-sided expectation for some resellers and manufacturers, and this behavior is becoming more and more tolerated by both.
The question that keeps repeating itself in today’s business relationships is pretty consistent with the times – “What can I get out of others today with little to no investment on my part?” And while some will bet their proverbial paychecks on getting away with this as the new way of doing business, it’s the smart ones who understand the true meaning of a dedicated relationship that will remain successful through rough times and continue to build a solid business in good times.
When I arrived at Revolabs in February of last year, it was important to me that we build upon our young but strong reputation, and continue to foster a fresh thinking and entrepreneurial driven spirit that we share with other small to medium size companies in the AV and IT industry. Even more important to me was for us to develop multiple tools to help move deeper into a stronger relationship with our partners, where we offer not only quality products and services as we have in the past, but also add significant benefits based on partner loyalty and long term relationships.
So, in June of 2012, we successfully introduced our first partner program called CORE. The CORE reseller program is a straight forward program that rewards key partners based on growth and their dedication to the Revolabs solution. At the same time, we introduced our Project Registration Program that allows partners to financially protect Revolabs specified design-build projects that they have put their time and effort into, even if they lose the project.
That’s right…even if the project is lost, we’re committed to our partner’s success as a thank you for driving ours. In addition, we have developed and implemented an aggressive demo program, technology upgrade programs, on-line CTS credited certification classes, added a keen focus on the consultant community, hired new additions to our Field Sales Engineer team for design help and field support, and the list keeps on growing. Our dedication and sincere investment into our partners and customers grow stronger day by day, and you can expect this to continue as we continue to raise our own bar. Our goal is simple – we strive to be a manufacturer that our reseller partners can list in their top 10 favorites to work with, and that our end user customers always find us reliable and a product they would buy again and again.
I can tell you first hand that not only will a relationship be successful; it will thrive and continue to grow as long as both sides understand and build upon their commitment to each other. It is critically important for both the manufacturer and reseller to work together as one. To win as one, and to sometimes lose as one, but always have skin in the game…together.