FAISAL says … what dealers want

Ladies and gents, please let me present the fone doctors’ 12 days of Christmas (you know the tune) … 

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

– 12 months FREE line rental (by cashback redemption only – terms and conditions apply)
– 11 bar phones from BenQ-Siemens
– 10 pounds for the X-Series Gold (selected handset only)
– 9 box-breakers
– 8 hundred pound Siroccos
– 7 week handset delays at Christmas
– 6 different coloured RAZRs!
– 4 industry magazines
– 3 more weeks of The Link
– 2 High Street chains
And an “Independent Dealer Society” (it rhymes better than “Group” or “Union”)
OK, so it’s not as good as the Eric Cantona version, but you get the idea. The real giveaway is the last one, about the Independent Dealer Union.
A week or so after my November column (the one about the dealer association), I got a call from the MD of a leading SIM-free distributor. We discussed what any proposed association might entail.
We both felt it needed to be more than a talking shop. I mentioned I hoped that somewhere down the line this association would evolve into a buying group.
At this stage, Mr Mystery MD made an offer of support for any such operation. All he needed was for his company to have Preferred Supplier status.
Some of you may feel uncomfortable at this idea. Maybe it’s going too far. We all value our own businesses, and at the same time we are very protective of what we have built up. However, I believe we need to look at what we want out of any dealer body.
I, for one, am willing to be part of a pressure group looking out for our interests in our relationships with networks, distributors and manufacturers. But I can also see scope for this to be more than just a lobbying organisation. There are many benefits to be gained if this Union could evolve into a buying group, if organised properly.
In some aspects, this could even go further. With The Link gone, there is huge gap in the non-direct channel. With a certain amount of ambition, dealers can benefit from that gap.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking here about mergers to create a super-dealership. But at the same time, I see how Hugh Symons is trying to push the Unity scheme to create a brand of trust, much like ABTA or ATOL is for the travel agency business. In the grocery store business, there are a number of major buying groups which enable small independent grocers to benefit from the buying power and marketing of a larger collective. Couldn’t we benefit from something like this in the mobile industry?
Right now, when I speak to a network or distributor, I’m in a position of need: I might as well be on my knees begging. Please, please sir, can I have five Nokia N73s on your network. I promise to connect them within a week.
Often, the reply is that there is no stock in channel – but when you go to a direct store, N73s are flying at you from all angles.
Now, instead of five, say we start asking for 500. Then someone will think “hang on a second? KER-CHING!!”
It comes down to economies of scale. Two stores will always need to purchase more than one. Twenty dealerships will need to purchase more than one, but in the process, they will get a better deal by buying direct.
There are other areas where strength in numbers can help. Like a combined marketing campaign, to push a brand of trust that we all sign up to: “Dear customer, when next buying your next mobile phone just ask yourself one important question – is your store Jaffa Cake approved? If not, do you really trust these guys to give YOU the best deal??
No one is compelled to be a part of this, but we’ll all reap what we sow. It’s happening right now, on these pages, on the web forum – just get in touch.
Happy Munching everybody – please eat your Jaffa Cakes responsibly!
(I just want to make it clear, that I do not receive any payments to plug Jaffa Cakes in these articles. I have no contract with the makers of those delicious chocolate and orange beauties – the fact that I haven’t is absolutely scandalous, so come one McVities – where’s my cheque?!!)

MDA Vario 2 on Flext 35 and Web & Walk for £42.50 per month – £60 for the phone. Great package, and for such a great phone, people don’t mind it not being free.

BlackBerry Pearl 8100 on FlexT 35 with Web N Walk and Instant E-mail for £48.38 a month. Sexy phone and even sexier commissions!
3 The ultimate combo deal. Orange Raccoon 35 with 500 mins, 250 landline mins, 200 texts, free Samsung D900 or Sony Ericsson W850i, unlimited 8MB Home Broadband and unlimited calls from home to Orange phones and landlines (UK and International) – all for £40 a month! Savings galore for your customers.
1 T-Mobile for poaching customers – business customer gets approved for only two lines and 250 minutes, yet in a T-Mobile store he gets offered four lines and 1000 minutes. Level playing field?
2 Orange, T-Mobile, 3, O2 for unlimited minutes/texts, £5 of FlexT, 18 months half-price line rental, and Long Weekends respectively. You damage your own brands by confusing your customers. And you piss us off too!
3 Major handset shortages at Christmas shock!!! Take a bow, Samsung D900, Nokia N73, etc.
Top Jaffa:
Michelle Wilson at T-Mobile technical support. Great help,and I loved the Jack Bauer approach to finding a way round official restrictions
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