Agent ‘Shopping’ Diminishes Value

Ted Schuman

By Ted Schuman

**Editor’s Note: The following is part of an ongoing conversation among Channel Partners readers about what’s turned out to be a highly controversial Channel Partners Zone, an invitation-only event at the Spring 2012 Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. The author’s thoughts below were originally posted in our reader comments section. Click here for more blogs from readers who are fired up about the issues discussed in the video at the end of this blog.**

There are several factors that hopefully are considered when determining where to place your business whether its through your own direct agreement our through a master agent. I disagree that all master agents are comparable. We are in the sense that agents send us business, we provide support and then send out checks. Beyond that there are many differences.

  1. Is the owner/CEO still an operator and actively involved in the business?
  2. Is the master agent in good standing with their providers?
  3. Have you spoken to their attorney to verify the carrier agreements they have are built on a strong foundation?
  4. Have you spoken to their top partners to see if they work hard to support their business?
  5. Have they stepped up on escalations when you have needed them?
  6. Do you trust them and their executive team?
  7. Do they sit on the carrier advisory boards and have a voice in the industry?
  8. What’s their reputation in the industry?
  9. How long have they been in business?
  10. Do they help you win business or just a quote shop?
  11. Do they have your “back” when you have needed them to get issues resolved?
  12. Do their providers have resources committed internally to the master agent?
  13. What are they doing to help you retain your clients?
  14. Do they project-manage and track your installations?
  15. Is the master agent managing their carrier relationships effectively?

I could go on but I think you get where I am going with this and it is on the side of what [master agency Concierge Communications’] Clark [Atwood] was communicating about “value.” We know agents will shop some deals but it diminishes the value of what we provide as a business to our “partners.” We all like picking up an extra point or two along the way, but knowing you’ve aligned your business with the right strategic partner for long-term sustainable growth, profitability and security should be worth something. Is that worth the extra point? It certainly should be if you’ve done your due diligence.

Ted Schuman is the founder and CEO of PlanetOne Communications, a full-service independent brokerage firm. Schuman has more than 20 years of extensive experience in the sales and marketing of telecommunications products and services through indirect channel distribution.

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