I have been asked to define “What is an Exchange broker??? Below is my best attempt at defining a broker based on my own experience and involvement in Barter.
Just as in all businesses, there are many roles in a barter exchange. Of course there is the Owner, followed by sales people, administrators, accountants, assistants, and customer service. Often these roles coincide and overlap depending on the size of the business. Trade exchanges are much the same except for all roles past sales fall under one major heading…the broker.
The Broker is the point of contact between members and other exchanges. After sales has done their job, and sold you on the concept of barter, the continued contact falls to that of the broker. For the broker (whether an employee, part of a sales team or exchange owner) becomes the point of contact that the member should depend on to help in all aspects of the barter relationship.
The Broker becomes your customer service Rep.. No matter what the need, the broker should be able to help, or at least get you to the person that can. Any needs , issues, or questions should be directed to your assigned broker.
The Broker becomes your Mentor in barter. The experienced brokers are willing to share their own experiences in barter and should be able to train you on the software they use, the policies their exchange operate under, and have a solid barter background to help guide you while you become familiar with the network.
The Broker is the book keeper. They can they assist you in posting transactions, as well as reversals, account records, and statements. The software does the actual book-keeping but a knowledgeable broker should be able to assist you with the account management, until you are comfortable with the system and software.
The Broker is the advertiser. Know one knows your business better then you, and your input here is critical. But given the right resources, your broker can assist you in successfully adding listings to both the national store, directories, and descriptions so that
other members are able to find you and utilize your services effectively
The Broker is your cheering section. They are the one that recommends you each time a member calls for a lead. The one that can provide feed back they have gotten from other members. The one that builds the blast, utilizes the ads, makes everyone aware of your business. And it has been my experience that members that communicate with their brokers on a regular basis are the most successful members.
A good broker with knowledge of the software and how the system works can make all the difference in a trade exchange, and a members on going experience with barter. Often new exchanges owners have to wear all the hats in the exchange, but do keep in mind, that though most owners are brokers, not all brokers are owners. They should however be the first point of contact, and just as communication with a member is important, their communication with the owners is just as important.