Agency Channel: Agents Need to Seek, Sell the Best, Brightest

Posted: 05/2000

Agents Need to Seek, Sell the Best, Brightest
By Kathy Katcher

In my business, I need to ask every day whether the telecommunications products we showcase are the best and the brightest in our industry.

Obviously, if they’re not, no one will want to sell them. Agent managers won’t be able to market them. And, The Independent Agent Network Inc.
( will have failed in its original and only mission: to represent the finest, most lucrative and most reliable agent programs in the business.

As many of you know, I founded the IAN, which has provided you, the agent, the inside scoop on all the major telecommunication players since 1994. It’s amazing how the agent community has “grown up” during the past six years.

Perhaps no one could have predicted how this business has evolved. (Except me, of course, … smile). And the industry continues to evolve daily. As agents and managers, we must evolve along with it.

For those who have jumped from company to company searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the time has come to stop, take a deep breath and regroup.

If you’ve been doing this a while, you’ve already proven you can stand the test of time and make money. You’ve learned along the way. It’s only natural to take all that experience and apply it to future endeavors. Right?


Preconceived notions, cast-in-stone opinions, preset, inflexible business plans just don’t work in a business that’s changing right in front of your eyes. The products that made money for you yesterday won’t necessarily make money for you today. Therefore, maybe it’s time to retool, sharpen your presentation, look at your products and then move ahead.

Of course, a little due diligence always is required. That is where the IAN comes in. We do a lot of the work for you.

It’s All Relative

I need to share a little story about my uncle. He called the other day excited about a new business venture. My uncle, who is 50 something, said he had started his endeavor in none other than, you guessed it, the telephone business.

He explained that he mails a long distance video to local businesses and homes at a total investment of $6 per potential customer. He was convinced the program was incredible.

In an excited, breathless dissertation, he explained that he offers 69 cents per minute, 800 numbers for 14.9 cents, and unlimited Internet service for $16.95 unlimited per month.

“What’s more, the marketing is so simple!” he proclaimed.

After he mails the video, he gives clients a few days to watch it and then he follows up with them.

It came as no surprise to me when he off-handedly remarked, “But gee, it’s awful hard to get them to watch that video!”

To encourage potential customers to watch the tape, my uncle gets the prospects to commit to a date when they will watch the video. He calls back or stops by their offices afterward. If, after several attempts, he still can’t get them to watch the video, he suggests they fill out the order form and mail it in.

“After all, it’s only going to cost them a 33 cent stamp to try out the service,” he said.

Knowing what you know about the business, how successful do you think my uncle has been?

Believe it or not, my uncle, a local butcher in Wisconsin, is closing sales. And, he has become so successful he is thinking of quitting his full-time job.

In truth, if he had told me about his idea prior to getting started, I’d have recommended against it. In fact, my first reaction was the only person who was going to make any money in this deal would be the person selling the video.

To my surprise, I was proven wrong.

My uncle is a great example of not entering a business with any preconceived notions. Further, it never occurred to him that his method would not work. His attitude and simple conviction to success is the key.

Kathy Katcher is founder and current vice president of the Independent Agent Network, which offers advice on distributors, carriers and resellers to more than 7,000 independent agents. She can be reached at
[email protected].

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