Beyond your broker

Of course one of the many luxuries of membership in a barter exchange is your broker.  Your broker is there to help you.  One of the main things they do is help you find the deals that you are looking for.  That being said I would like to caution you to not be overly dependant on your broker.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my brokers and (I hope) they love me.  What I’m saying is that they are only human.  They usually have many members assigned to them and it’s very difficult for them to keep track of everyone.  Here are a couple tips to make sure that you get the most out of your exchange while helping to take a load off your broker:

  1. There is nothing wrong with calling up your broker and seeing if they have a specific service available.  Before you do that though I would recommend that you look at your exchange’s online directory.  It’s very likely that that’s exactly what your broker was going to do anyway.
  2. Call other members directly.  I’ve found on numerous occasions that a member has told the exchange that they are limiting their trade volume, but if you call them direct they are happy to make a deal beyond the limit they told the exchange.  Even if your broker says that a particular member isn’t doing much trade, give them a call.  I’ve found as a business owner that it’s very difficult to turn away a new potential client and there is a good chance the member you call will feel the same way.
  3. Of course just because your broker says that they don’t have a particular service available doesn’t mean that you can’t still barter for that service.  Don’t just accept that “no.”  It doesn’t take much time to call or email 5 local vendors of that particular product/service and offer to make a trade.  Most won’t accept, but some will.  Some will be interested enough that they will join your exchange giving you a nice little commission.
Bottom line:  Don’t just be a consumer of barter services from an exchange and don’t be completely dependent on your broker.  Barter is a relationship adventure.  Dive in.  The water’s fine.

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