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January 2009 | Volume 12/ Number 1
On Rad’s Radar

Typical Situation

Typical Sales Situation: So I meet a prospective buyer. We exchange cards. A couple weeks later, he has a circuit needing to be quoted. We have a conversation. It gets complicated. Next thing you know I am competing against the inside sales team and the Reseller.

So why is an Agent in a price war with the direct account exec? No idea, but it happens more and more. Who loses? The carrier usually. Why? Because they are losing margin with each pitch and counter pitch. At some point – like in the beginning – Siebel should flag that client and a floor should be established. That way the carrier makes a profit; the sales cycle doesn’t spin out of control; and the conversation with the buyer can move beyond price to solutions and value.

Who else loses? The agent. Why? Usually direct can get lower than indirect. Also, the agent is spending a lot of time on a deal that may not close, but one that certainly has diminishing return.

I can understand it from a Buyer’s perspective: get in a bidding war and I win. Short term, certainly. You win lower prices. Long term you get poorer service. Less profit equals less service. Period. The next time you want a deal, word is out. It’s going to be the low price RFP bidding war again. Not everyone wants to get into that. As an agent it is a waste of my time and effort, because people only interested in price, are a PITA.

As an agent for 9 years, I provide value to my clients. One way is as their advocate to the carrier – if they have billing, provisioning, or other issues that need resolution. In provisioning, I interface with the carrier and coordinate the installation times with all parties – hardware vendor, buyer, tech guy, carrier and installer. Another way is in the information I provide – beyond who the carriers are that I can quote. Maybe I need to do a better job with messaging this to avoid the Price War later. IT

Peter Radizeski is head of RAD-INFO (News - Alert), Inc., a consulting agency specializing in the telecom industry.

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