With rampant layoffs at telecom companies, many former employees are opening up telecom agencies. There's little barrier to entry. Job hunting seems challenging today. Being an agent looks easy and lucrative.
One thing to remember is that channel managers deal with the successful agents more often than the unsuccessful ones. My guess is that for every three agents, only one is successful. And by that I mean making sales monthly.
I get phone calls from former mortgage brokers who now want to be agents. “It's kind of the same thing, right?”
It is if you are going to be a Bell-head selling on price. Sign up with a few master agents and start that quote machine pumping away. Even then, you will find that being an agent means being like a shark; that is, being constantly moving. ABC: always be closing.
Agents today have to know a lot about what we are selling, especially as the services migrate to all IP. When it was all TDM replacement services, maybe anyone could have made a living as an agent. But it’s more challenging today with declining telecom spending, a mix of service offerings and a plethora of competitors.
There’s also the issue of what do you sell, from what carrier, and to whom? In other words, what’s your plan? When I started in 1999, a niche target was picked to match a specific set of services to that niche. I have had to evolve since then to stay relevant to my client base. Today, vertical marketing still works, but picking the service and carrier is daunting for anyone, especially for VoIP services.
The answer for some is to pick a good master agency, which can teach the ropes. Today, with social networks, a newbie can get referrals for masters, carriers, and service offerings. With TCA, the agent will soon be able to get certified.
Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (http://rad-info.net/ ).
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi