Advice From A Pro-AV Veteran, John Butler: Be The Difference

As I pass through my 20th year in this industry we call “Pro-AV” my memory floods with great memories as well as business and ethics practices that I will never forget.  In my early years, I was there at AMX (before, during and after that Panja thing) enjoying Margarita Fridays and seeing Scott Miller carrying around his signature Heineken high fiving and passing out $100 dollar bills for shipping a record month.  The guitar sounds from various cubes and the overall vibe of having a very cool place to work and doing anything for our customers was evident when you walked through those doors.  “You ARE paid to take that s***” was one of my favorite “Scottisms” and we all knew that if the words “it’s not my job” came out of your mouth, you soon discovered perhaps it SHOULD have been your job.  Scott wanted a company where it didn’t really matter what you wore, what you looked like, what your fancy background was…what really mattered was an intense passion to what you had to do for your customer no matter what.  Not just because it was convenient, because it was the RIGHT thing to do in making a difference to them. “Be the difference.”

As a manufacturer, we provide similar products to our dealer bases and sometimes to them it makes no difference in which one to use.   As sales people, we cannot always control what products are coming, what features they have, etc. That being the case, control what YOU can control in that situation and make yourself the difference in that scenario!  At the end of the day…if the products are basically the same (we all know our own are best though!) in the eyes of your customer, what makes the difference?  Did you build a lasting relationship with that dealer by offering some shipping discount, processed an RMA quickly for them, just be honest with them and told them bad news but that you had a plan for them?  Those little things can sometimes make the difference in the sales cycle. 

If spending $30 for expedited shipping builds that relationship with that customer who will spend 100x that over the course of a few years…it doesn’t take a CTS-D to figure that is good business. Once I had a customer call me from Canada on Labor Day (obviously not a Canadian holiday) and I answered the phone, helped him out and told him when I’m back from the holiday, I’ll follow up.  It blew him away that I would take the time on a holiday to help him when he didn’t realize we were closed and the whole thing took me 10 minutes. “Be the difference.”

Fast forward 20 years and here I am at Revolabs, doing my best to maintain that same level of satisfaction I learned long ago.  A couple of years back, our executive and engineering teams went out to the marketplace and talked with every consultant, dealer, end customer we could get our hands on and with pen and paper in hand, asked these simple questions: 

1.       What do you like about our current products?

2.       What don’t you like about our current products?

3.       What would you like to see us add to our line?

4.       What features do we need or are we lacking?

How refreshing!  The answers to these questions were not always what you wanted to hear but what you needed to hear to make the difference!  Now our third generation, Executive Elite, is the culmination of that hard work and fact finding mission. Revolabs did NOT hide away in a dark closet and design products in a vacuum and then force feed on the industry…they ASKED the hard questions and have now provided exactly what the industry has asked for…and then some!

The next 20 years for me I’m sure will come at lightning speed and I really look forward to seeing where this is going to take us.  I do my best each day to make the difference. so the future just might be all that much brighter. - John Butler

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