The title of this post comes from a line in a classic film, in my opinion, which is The Crow. During the film Skank is asked by Top Dollar ‘Don’t you feel that?’; he response by saying ‘I feel like a little worm on a big f*****’ hook.’, classic line. So what is the relevance? Let me explain.
For those that rotate in the same IT circles as I do then you will have seen much of the buzz at the minute surrounding the CompTIA Reseller Forum this week and the TCA Conference. Both of these events were fantastic but I will not go into how the day panned out as other have done this already, you can read about it here or here. One of the points that was raised in the resellers forum was the relationship with vendors or distributors and the IT Resellers. The fact is that many of the traditional distributors don’t give a lot of attention to small IT resellers, the kind of people that were at the Resellers Forum, as they are moving lots of boxes to the big retailers such as Ebuyer, Dabs etc. The reality is that much of the time it is cheaper for the reseller to buy from the likes of EBuyer and Dabs as they are generally cheaper than buying through the normal distribution channel. The problem for the reseller is the consumer, the very people they are selling to can buy from these guys as well.
One of the suggestions from a friend and fellow member, Richard Tubb from Netlink IT, was to engage with the vendors and distributors on a personal level by asking them ‘How can I help you’. Now this philosophy, in this context, is quite unusual. Don’t get me wrong the concept is not alien to me, as a BNI member I am a big believer of ‘Givers Gain’ which basically says if I help you then someday you will help me too. However, I have never thought of it in this context and it started me thinking about things. After thinking about this a little I realised that this was something that I was already engaged in with a distributor of mine, Security IP. Some of my fellow AMITPRO members will already know Security IP but they are small distributor by comparison to others out there but that does not make them weaker but stronger in my opinion. My account manager there is James Cole who I have known for more years than I care to recall as I knew him at the last company he worked for. We have always had a candid relationship as I explained from the outset that I would likely never bring him any *big* orders but I would do all I could to get him in front of other people like me to that they can get more business, and I did this because I wanted to not because there was anything in it for me. What has happened is that when there are any new products coming out then he calls me and we get to be one of the first to try it, more importantly our feedback is heard and, where appropriate, acted upon. I also get help with marketing
Now as a small IT reseller would I get that type of support from a larger distributer? Almost certainly not, so why would a smaller distributer want to engage me in such a way? Well that I can only speculate from my point of view but firstly we have a relationship; what I call a personal-business relationship where by the personal boundaries blur slightly around that edge of the business relationship. Secondly, from the outset we have both made a concerted effort to help one another to develop our businesses by helping the other. Not in a conscious or premeditated way, if either of who has not been able to reciprocate it would not have made any difference, the relationship was there anyway.
So what is the point of the post? The point is that we live in a time when everything has been commoditised and we go after the cheapest price, much of this has been created by the box shifters like EBuyer, Dabs even Asda and Tesco. In spite of this there are still suppliers, distributors and vendors out there that want to make those personal connections and work with small IT resellers who don’t think that they are ‘big’ enough to be noticed. So speak up because you may just be surprised.