Definition: the ability to provide advice without being influenced by others.
A story : In 2005 when Lights-On started, we were carrying out a tender and selection for a large IT infrastructure refresh for a legal client. When the process was complete and the client had selected the products and vendor, we approached the vendor to supply the equipment. They could only supply via a channel partner and the supplier suggested using Lights-On as the selection was already done and it was simply a transaction vehicle. The client was in the room and thought it was a good idea and encouraged Lights-On to be the reseller. When we found there was sizeable “commission” involved, we simply did not feel comfortable even though support was direct with the manufacturer and the client was happy for Lights-On to keep or split the commission. We considered acting and passing on all the discount to the client but, after a courageous conversation, we agreed to instruct an existing channel partner and negotiate on price. The channel partner was flabbergasted when we called with the “deal done” and handed them deal for which they had to do very little. We did, of course, negotiate a sizeable discount for the client, being open with the supplier that we knew the commission!! The result was a win-win for all parties and Lights-On left with a happy supplier, a delighted client, admittedly making less money but a feeling our independence was very much in tact. Since that day we have never changed from our position to ensure our complete independence on any deal, project or engagement to advise a client.
That ethos of “if it feels wrong, even if others don’t think it is, then avoid it” remains a strong principle for Lights-On today. 11 years on we remain fiercely independent and will never re-sell any products or take commission from any purchases or awards of contract our clients may make to suppliers.