Spinitar on How to Work with Competitors and Gain Customers for Life

Spinitar’s success is the result of a tight-knit company culture, unique business model and the belief that when you work with your competitors, everyone wins.

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Spinitar on How to Work with Competitors and Gain Customers for Life

Spinitar principals Jeff Irvin (left) and Jay Rogina are open to share what they know and learn from others, even competitors.

Although it’s conventional wisdom to think competitors are the enemy, Spinitar has broken that mold to a large degree in the AV integration world.

Not only is the company among the most generous in its industry with its own employees, taking them on trips and celebrating them at every opportunity, it also has become known as one of the best at working with its competitors.

“Any size integrator can learn from Spinitar,” says Chris Miller, executive director of PSNI, of which Spinitar is a member. “They’re very open to learn from others and very open to share what they know. They see their vendors and manufacturers as an extension of their business and that’s really helped them to grow. They’re very into the ‘co-opetition’ mindset. It pays back out.”

Read the Full Profile: Spinitar’s Secrets to $60M Success

Miller believes Spinitar is comfortable working with its competitors because its model is tough to duplicate.

“They can show you their playbook, but that doesn’t mean you can do what they do,” he says.

[Spinitar] sees their vendors and manufacturers as an extension of their business and that’s really helped them to grow. They’re very into the ‘co-opetition’ mindset. It pays back out. Chris Miller,  PSNI

Biamp VP of global sales Ron Camden isn’t surprised Spinitar has succeeded in working with competitors.

“[Principals] Jay [Rogina] and Jeff [Irvin] recognize their strengths and are willing to hand off parts of projects that fall outside of that,” says Camden. “They’re one of the leaders in terms of that cooperation. There are so many other companies out there to screw you over, but that’s definitely not the way they think. They would expect the same in return and they’re able to get the job done profitably.”

Kent Cawthorne, VP of U.S. sales for Milestone and Vaddio, sees Spinitar’s attitude as a show of confidence in themselves and their people.

“Some other integrators wouldn’t think about [working with competitors],” he says. “They’d just close the door. But Jay and Jeff know there’s plenty of business out there. They have enough confidence to win the business they’re supposed to win.”

Related: Are You Achieving True Customer Loyalty? Spoiler Alert, Probably Not

Irvin has been on PSNI’s board for many years, notes Miller, who says the company is “very family-friendly” and “very progressive.”

“Jeff is very into the details. He really thinks things through,” says Miller. “He’s been a great sounding board for so many of the programs we’ve launched over the years.”

Cawthorne calls Irvin “more transactional and financial” and Rogina more focused on the “integration nuts and bolts.”

Camden cites Spinitar’s team approach to projects in which sales, project managers and installers work as a unit, saying it makes them “a lot of fun to work with.” Spinitar’s leaders are also “very technology-savvy” and “great account managers” who Camden says “have customers for life.”

They treat their relationships with manufacturers similar to how they treat their customers. Kent Cawthorne, Milestone and Vaddio

“They work hard, but they have fun too,” he says. “People love working for Jay and Jeff. Everyone wants to please them and perform for them. They just do things the right way. They understand what clients want and they implement it.”

That was never more evident than on a project for Pacific Life, says Camden.

“They’re on the leading edge of technology,” he says. “They really like to push the envelope. Jay is constantly learning about and tweaking things, trying to find best practices. Jeff surrounds himself with good people then gives them latitude to go out and do their jobs.”

Cawthorne says he’s been working with Spinitar for about a dozen years and is impressed with how “they give you access to their team,” unlike some competitors.

Milestone is a sponsor of the annual Chairman’s Club trips, says Cawthorne, and he marvels at how Irvin and Rogina constantly nurture their relationships at all levels of the business.

“They treat their relationships with manufacturers similar to how they treat their customers,” he says.

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