Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Nov/Dec 2023 - 27

SPONSORED CONTENT
A Relationship-Driven Distributor
Starin breathes life into its 'Care More, Be Better' motto, pursuing a business model
that's equal parts subject-matter expert, consultative advisor and outcome facilitator.
A
s integrators have battled product-availability
issues over the past few years, many channel
members have been reminded of the value that
distributors bring to commercial AV businesses.
But if you ask Bill Reimer, vice president of sales
at Starin, a Midwich company, he'll tell you that
Starin's successful formula is more like that of a
rep fi rm than that of a box mover. Rep fi rms, after
all, are the subject-matter experts in their territory
on their product lines. What's more, they work to
develop far closer relationships than most vendors
themselves would be likely to forge with integrators.
In short, then, rep fi rms are subject-matter
experts and central relationship holders, tethered
to a particular geographical territory. According
to Reimer, " Starin has taken that philosophy on
a national level. We don't just know California or
the northeast; we know the entire North American marketplace
very, very well. "
" Because we have all of it. " And the distributor
has a true integrator's mindset in terms of thinking
about systems, not SKUs. Starin's in-house design
services attest to that. As Reimer explains, Starin
can provide a full bill of materials and tell the customer
exactly what they need. He adds, " When we
give you a BOM for one of our designs, that bill of
materials can ship that day. "
One reason that Starin can offer so much
Bill Reimer, vice president of sales at
Starin, a Midwich company.
knowledge to its customers - and deliver such
robust design services - is its tight relationships
with vendor partners. Speaking of Starin's manufacturers,
Reimer explains, " We understand how
they manufacture their products. We understand
what they put into that recipe. We know what
makes their product so special. " What's more,
Starin has fully embraced the platform-centric
What a Distributor Could and Should Be
Reimer reports that this reimagining of what a distributor could and
should be traces back to when Midwich Group acquired Starin back
in 2020. " We're not just a phone number to call to ask, 'Do you
have fi ve of these in stock?' " he says with a smile. " When a customer
calls us for one of our manufacturers, we know what type of work
they do, what vertical they're in, what their specialty is and what
they value from a manufacturer. "
Building up that kind of knowledge base takes strategic investment.
And, thankfully, Bobby Swartz, CTS, CEO of Starin, is committed
to making those investments. Indeed, the company has doubled
its sales department in the last two years, and it plans to double
the department again over the next two years. Th is is all part of the
distributor's vision to have an in-the-trenches presence - boots
on the ground - across the continent. As Reimer puts it, " We're
laying that really solid groundwork to be strong in North America
for a long, long time. " And the core of that strength, he adds, is
consultative selling, regardless of whether the customer is a huge
organization or a small, mom-and-pop integrator. " We're there as a
consultant to them to make sure that everybody is happy, " Reimer
declares. " Th at's our philosophy. "
Starin Strikes the Ideal Balance
Starin strikes the ideal balance in terms of product range - not so
many lines that it waters down the company's expansive knowledge
of each, but enough lines so that Starin can provide an end-to-end
solution. " If you're doing a conference room and you need two
75-inch displays, a PTZ camera, a soundbar, an amplifi er and a
control panel, we're your one-stop shop for that, " Reimer enthuses.
approach that rules in contemporary AV design, nurturing a close
relationship with both Zoom and Microsoft. " We know what the
platforms like, " he declares, a fact that further underscores why customers
return to Starin again and again. Indeed, Reimer makes the
case that the diff erence between strong and weak relationships lies in
their longevity, and he emphasizes that Starin has an extremely low
percentage of " one and done " customers. " Our customers become
very loyal, " he states, his pride in that fact evident.
'Care More, Be Better'
When Bobby Swartz created Starin's motto - " Care More, Be Better "
- a few years ago, Swartz's team and he ran with it, breathing
that ethos into the entire organization. Even as the company
expanded in recent years, including acquiring Toolfarm and 76
Media Systems, its decision-making has always been not only economics-driven
but also culture-driven. " A lot of it has to do with
that same philosophy of relationships, " Reimer remarks. Refl ecting
on his 31-year career, Reimer candidly says that he hasn't seen any
organization bring this philosophy to life quite the way that Starin
and Midwich have. And with the company in growth mode,
Reimer says the team continues to survey the landscape thoughtfully
and consider possible acquisition targets. " We'll continue to look,
explore options and grow, " he promises.
A simple truth that underpins the " Care More, Be Better " motto
is that people want to do business with people - specifi cally, with
people they like, who care and who are invested. And that description
fi ts Starin to a T.
" If you're a resource to whom you're calling, they're going to call
you, and they're going to want to do business with you, " Reimer
concludes. And channel members across the continent are increasingly
recognizing that Starin is an invaluable resource to help their
business grow.
PHOTO COURTESY OF STARIN

Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Nov/Dec 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Nov/Dec 2023

Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Nov/Dec 2023 - Bellyband1
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