Enter into the arena – nSpire interview

Carving out a niche market space of its own, nSpire managing director Zack Fowler talks to Rob Horgan about the company’s ‘personal’ business plan

WITH BIG-NAME distributors operating in the Channel for years, entering the crowded arena can be a daunting prospect. But that is exactly what nSpire did when it set up shop.

Based in Dorset, the newly formed distie does everything that you would expect from the well established players. It offers thousands of products to a wide range of IT trade buyers covering over 35 product categories under the IT and PC umbrella.

And while managing director Zack Fowler insists that nSpire is ‘extremely competitive’ on the ‘traditional’ front, it is within another area which he believes his company is already excelling. Specialising in refurbished tech, Fowler believes that nobody is as competitive on price and quality as nSpire is. “We are unlike other distributors in as much as we focus a lot of our time of selling refurbished tech and more importantly selling it at good prices,” he says. “It is an industry that is growing rapidly and there is plenty more room for expansion.” 

Fowler believes that the refurbished technology market is a potential cash cow for resellers to increase their margins. However, scepticism among many means that a large number of resellers and retailers are ignoring the market altogether. 

One way nSpire is going about changing that mentality is by offering resellers the chance to trial the system before they buy into it. “If we have a new client who is unsure about refurbished technology then we will let them trial it first,” Fowler explains. “They will perhaps buy one refurbished laptop or a PC and then see how it does. If they don’t sell it within a month, then they can give it back to us, without having to pay a penny. Most of the time, they will sell it – at a big profit to them – and then they will invest more in our products. Another way in which we are encouraging buyers to open an account with us is by giving away £25 in pre-approved credit to anyone who signs up.” 

And that is the way that Fowler is determined to run his company. While he is realistic and admits sales and profit numbers are ultimately the end goal, nSpire’s business model is set up in such a way that it cannot make money unless its customers are also making money. The way to ensure its customers make money is to get to know each and every one of them before even talking about making a sale. 

“The main focus of our business model is to make relationships,” Fowler adds. “In general a sale won’t be made until somewhere between the 12th or 15th phone call or meeting with a potential client. It is important for all our account managers to understand a client’s individual needs before selling to them. We are not interested in one-off sales. We want to build partnerships that are ongoing and benefit everyone. The best way to do that is to get to know the client. From where I stand, there is no other distributor who invests as much time in its clients as we do.” 

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