Mike: The playground of dealer sales


Who would be a dealer? The sales channel sometimes seems to resemble a school playground, with small independent dealers getting their lunch money stolen by the big bully network operators.

And dealers a lot of the time don’t know whether to take a stand by complaining about it, or keep shtum for fear of aggravating the situation.

Basically, they worry the networks will perceive discussions with the press as disloyalty, that they will be made pay for such indiscretions. Even though the networks have had them, in the worst cases, duffed up against the fence already.

Dealers live insecure lives, especially in the current financial and industry climates. They are threatened always with lower commissions, less stock, clawbacks, data dependent sales.

And constantly, it nags at them they could have their dealer code terminated at a whim by the networks.

Yes, a few have spoilt it for the majority in the dealer channel, and the networks must change with the times, according to the economy and the market.

But, if ‘playground bullies’ is a bad description of the networks, they can be seen in the eyes of dealers as ruthless school masters with decresed public funding, a new syllabus about technology convergence and customer value, and a sudden concern for overcrowding in the classrooms and corridors of the sales channel.

A lot of bad ‘students’ have been expelled already, as have a lot of triers, without the resources or support to succeed in the new school curriculum. Only lucky and clever dealers really survive to help the network masters balance their books.