Market agent’s checklist

The list that follows is by no means complete, but should serve as a guide to any producer who wants to check if they’re getting the best value for their money from their market agent.

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In other words – is the commission paid to the market agent cost-effective and producing results in line with the producer’s marketing strategies? These strategies would include – in no particular order – the following service requirements from a market agent: 

  • Responsible and accurate control of the producer’s stock on the market floor.
  • Regular communication on the market situation coupled to planning further deliveries, quantities, delivery days, grades and sizes.
  • When selling your products, daily – or more, if necessary – open and honest communications on prices.
  • A reputable market agency to support the salesperson and ensure speedy, accurate payment as required by law.
  • A salesperson who calls on buyers at their places of business to promote your products.
  • Regular visits to you on your farm by the salesperson and agency management.
  • Advice on product grading, sizing, packaging, packing and presentation.

Key element
These factors are the minimum requirements for a professional service and could even be embodied in a service level agreement between the producer and agency. A key element is communication and, while I’ve been highlighting the responsibilities of a market agent, this in no way minimises the producer’s role in all of this. Effective communication requires commitment from both parties and is very definitely a ‘two-way street’.

Open and honest
The other vital component is honesty. Both agent and producer must be open and honest with each other. It can be difficult at times, when the market agent has to offer constructive criticism of products and doesn’t want to upset the producer. If the agent is too direct, they might upset the producer, but if they’re too ‘soft’ they’re not doing their job properly. A producer needs to make money and measuring the performance of their market agent is one of the ways to do that. The bottom line: it’s not the amount of commission charged, it’s about the value for money the producer is getting.

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Contact Mike Cordes at [email protected]. Please state ‘Market floor’ in the subject line of your email.