PHONE+ Asks: Should Providers Cut Underperforming Agents?

Q: Should master agents, carriers and providers routinely cut underperforming agents or let them ride while their business ebbs and flows?

“No, agents should not be cut from the rolls. As consultants, our of-ferings are dictated by what the market is buying. Sometimes, we need to switch gears, which may cause a drop of new revenue to a particular carrier; but as long as the partner is continuing to manage and support its base of business with that carrier, eventually (mostly sooner rather than later), that carrier will become hot again and so will the new revenue. I look at carrier relationships as a long-term investment and partner with carriers and masters that do the same.”

— Jack Zoblin, president, Cory Communications Inc., independent agent

“Agents that produce for us are worth their weight in gold. You can count on their sales growth; they service their customer base protect-ing their, and our, revenue stream. Those agents deserve a high level of commissions and all of the ‘perks’ that go along with their hard work, such as ‘evergreen’ clauses. Sadly, some agents feel ‘entitled’ to those perks while they sell one service to a client and never speak to them again. There needs to be some accountability on both our parts. Good business means both sides commit to support each other through tough times.”

— Rick Friedowitz, vice president, IC2NET, ISP-data services provider/reseller

“Yes, dead vines should be pruned. Agents are selling for someone. If not you, then they are using your inside information to sell for your competitor. However, this must be clearly spelled out ahead of time in the contract, not a surprise along the way, including the status of re-sidual commissions. And, patience must be exercised. One bad quarter shouldn’t be the reason to cut off an otherwise beneficial relation-ship. Six months should be the fastest cutoff; 12 months, the longest.”

— Clint Duncan, Owner, Bridge Telecom LLC, independent agent/consultant

Up Next: What’s the next killer app for agents?

Send your answer to Cara Sievers at by April 1 for possible inclusion in the May edition of PHONE+ Asks. Any answer submitted is eligible for publication and may be edited for clarity or brevity.

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