24 Jul

It takes time to barter

Posted in Training by


An important cost of barter that many people (including myself) forget to factor in is the time that I spend on it.  It takes a lot of time to put a deal together.  If you are like me, you’ve usually got 20 deals going at the same time so it really ads up.  Some of the things that I spend time on include:

  • Staying on top of what is available in my barter exchanges
  • Calling on folks in my barter network to put together deals
  • Posting to craigslist and following up on responses
  • Work to recruit new members into my barter exchanges
  • Work recruiting new direct barter partners
  • Time spent looking for good ways for my barter partners to spend credit they have with me
  • Extra book-keeping to keep the records straight
  • Ongoing help/training I give to everyone I ever talk to about barter

When recruiting a new barter partner I think it’s a good move to point out to the prospect that you are talking to that barter is not as simple as cash transactions.  They need to know that they will need to invest some time into barter in order to reap the rewards.  All of that being said, it truly is a labor of love for me.  <grin>  I’m a barter addict and it rare for me to resent the time I spend on it.

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18 Jul

Don’t demand your rights when you barter

Posted in Ethics, Training by

Angry Brunette Through A Fisheye Lens

That sounds strange doesn’t it?  Why would I encourage you not to demand your rights?  This is America!  The land of rights and liberties!  Here’s where I am coming from:  Your goal with barter partners is to establish and maintain life-long relationships.  Generally speaking digging in your heals and demanding your rights is not a good way to encourage that.  I want to be my barter partner’s favorite business person.  Sometimes…that means overlooking where they may have fallen short of my expectations.  Don’t get me wrong here…I’m not advocating that you let yourself be used as a doormat.  What I’m saying is that I try to give my barter partners a little extra leeway with how they provide their services.  In the long run you more than make up for it simply because you are bartering with them instead of paying cash.  That being said, if you just plain get a bad deal, you can’t ignore that.  If a serious problem crops up talk to your barter partner and if you can’t work it out take it to your barter exchange (if you used one).  Your last resort is court, but I have to tell you that my experience has been that even when you win in court you lose when you consider your time and the chance that you won’t even collect what was awarded.  It’s much better to be a little flexible and get most of what you want than to fight tooth and nail for every scrap you deserve and ruin a relationship forever.


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20 May

The power of a letter or reference

Posted in Uncategorized by


You know how EBay users can rate each other?  Folks can post notes about their experience doing business with you.  As a buyer when I see that 300 people have posted back feedback 99% of which was positive it greatly lowers my perceived risk in making a purchase.  I have never seen the equivalent in a barter situation, but I have started doing something that is almost as good:  Letters of Reference

In past years I’ve had a tough time bartering within a specific industry.  People just weren’t used to the concept and it made them nervous.  I finally broke in and made a couple good trades with some businesses within that industry but didn’t have luck with some specific players that I was originally interested in working with.  A year later I went back to my successful trade partners and asked for letters of reference.  Armed with those letters I went back to the original businesses that turned me down and low-and-behold….it worked!!  With one business in particular that turned me down flat a year earlier, with the help of my new letters I got a enthusiastic “yes” to my request to barter.

Helpful hints for letters of reference:

  1. You need to help your happy customers write letters of reference.   As happy as they are and as much as you believe them when they say they’ll write a letter for you, very few of them will actually follow through.  It’s nothing personal; they are busy running their own business.  So when I say that you will need to “help” them, what I really mean is that you will have to write it for them.  What I’ve done in the past is contact the happy client and ask them if it would be OK for me to write a rough draft of a reference letter for them, that they can then check and edit however they want.  They have always agreed and have pretty much always approved what I write w/o change.
  2. Within the letter, try to get across the message that the client was happy with the transaction and that it was a pleasant and profitable experience.   Put yourself in the shoes of a nervous prospective barter partner and include what you think they would want to hear to calm their fears.  Of course it goes without saying that anything in your letters should be 100% truthful.

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