Bill BergaminiLast month, I was at my house settling in to watch the Super Bowl. Just as the national anthem wound down, the cable flickered. Then, a few moments before kickoff, it flickered again and cut out completely for the rest of the game.

When I needed my provider most, the lines of communication cut out.

It got me thinking about how important the lines of communication are in our businesses. In many ways, it is one of our primary duties as distributors to engage in open communication with our suppliers to build ironclad partnerships.

We need to ensure we always remain their number one option by being partners who help them achieve their goals. We need to build solid relationships so that we can understand their objectives and then strategically align our own objectives. As we move forward, it is imperative that we find better ways to help manufacturers grow, share and meet their other objectives through their wholesale distribution partners before they seek alternate channels.

New devices, new technology, new software; those are necessary tools to strengthen our position. But our ability and willingness to forge lifetime relationships with our customers are how we truly become their most valuable assets; how we move further away from the frictions that can exist between manufacturers and distributors and establish mutually beneficial relationships.

As we build these partnerships, we need to continue attracting talented people to our industry. We need more than technical ability. We need to develop good, solid people with the right attitude, a willingness to learn the industry and a strong work ethic. Those are the people we should be shepherding into our industry and educating on the career opportunities available.

On the topic of development, HARDI’s Sales Manager Certification Program continues to be an early success for 2015. Dozens of sales managers are enrolled in the inaugural class and have their first workshop this month. I’m looking forward to hearing about their progress as the year continues.

The Focus Conferences have been growing steadily ever since we introduced the format a few years ago and I’ll be seeing many of you very soon at the first one of the year, Strategic Leadership. HARDI staff has worked hard to put together a rewarding event that’s both informative and enjoyable. I can’t wait to launch this year’s Focus Conference series in Laguna Beach.

There’s still time to register for the Marketing & Sales Focus Conference, April 12 to 14 in Charleston, S.C. I hope everyone is taking advantage of the Focus Conference opportunities HARDI has developed for your department-specific enhancements.

HARDI’s Congressional Fly-In, is May 19 to 20. This is your chance to make a difference. By attending the Fly-In, we make our voices heard by Capitol Hill. Last year’s was the best attended ever and we need to accelerate that momentum.

From training programs to special events, the resources HARDI offers continue to grow and I encourage you to take advantage by being engaged HARDI members interested in growing your own businesses and supporting the industry as a whole. Thank you to everyone who continues to support HARDI and our efforts to make our industry as strong and profitable as it can be. 

Remember, the success of our industry is rooted in our ability to establish strong relationships and communication between suppliers, distributors and contractors. If the cable cuts out, that’s when people start to look at their options.

Bill Bergamini