Do You Ever Barter for Services?

Do You Ever Barter for Services?

As an insurance agency owner or business owner, there are lots of services we need on a regular basis. Whether it is printing, website service, IT computer support, machine repairs or advertising help, the list and expenses can get cumbersome for a business owner. I have a good network of close business friends that do most every service I would ever need that I network with, Mastermind with and most importantly barter services with on a regular basis. To barter service is crucial to succeeding and keeping cost down in our business. Do you ever barter for your services?

The dictionary defines barter as verb– the action or system of exchanging goods or services for other goods or services without the use of money. This is more commonly known as “you scratch my back and I scratch yours.” We as a society have gotten away from this practice through the years as our economies have grown. I believe this practice of barter was lost for a time period, due to people just willing to pay instead of building those relationships. I believe it is a major contributor to the decline in customer service in the U.S. Large corporations swallowed small businesses and in the name of higher profit margins, automated or outsourced their own customer service. I am witnessing a shift in culture back to smaller businesses making a comeback for value over price with better customer service. With this change comes the opportunity to barter goods and services again.

You as a fellow business owner, insurance agent, realtor or sales person have skills and knowledge that have value to other business owners. Everyone knows something that another person needs and values. You need to use your skills and knowledge to help other business owners where they lack and trade that information for their goods and services that you need or lack. For example, I have a good friend that works on my computers. He shows me a lot of tips and tricks to keep my computers out of his shop, which saves me money. He needed my expertise on selling a new certain product and service, which I gladly helped him put together. He had knowledge I needed to learn and I had knowledge he needed to learn. Together we use bartering as a way to save money and help each other’s businesses succeed. It is imperative, in order to use a barter system, to build goodwill and trust with your network connections. Without a good credible core of business owners with services you know, like and trust, the barter system may not work effectively. Take the time to meet on a regular basis with your connections. Make the meetings effective by using planners to help one another with skills and knowledge. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. The written planners can help with that. Also be willing to open up your network to them for possible referral and referral sources to help strengthen your relationship. Remember that barter is a two way road, you cannot take more than you give and keep a healthy relationship with your network of connections. Bartering is not charity work, but a fine tuned system of “scratching each other’s backs.” Start today building and strengthening your network.

Capitalism invariably boils down to barter between two willing parties, neither of whom uses force to work with the other.Ben Shapiro

Image by Sheelamohan at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 28 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.


9 Responses to Do You Ever Barter for Services?

  • I do personally…got something I want? Lets make a deal!

  • Jack, I knew you were in the “know”. Thanks for sharing!

  • I read your article, and what I got out of it was not bartering, but rather referral networking, whether it be for monetary exchange or not. Now, before you jump all over me, I know that is what Bartering is. That being said, unlike other asset based services, we cannot give a discount on something, or 50% on their first Life Insurance policy.

    We can, however, provide FREE information, which is what we do anyway. Those of us on the fixed side of the house are not fee-based, and therefore, cannot “charge by the hour”. Since Life, Disability, and Long Term Care are health underwritten products, it is darn near impossible to say to someone that we can guarantee a 7% discount, without knowing what Underwriting will say.

    Printers can offer your first box of business cards for free. Life Coaches can provide you with a free consultative visit. Health and Wellness can give away free samples. We can’t.

    If you consider referring someone to another professional that can resolve their problem for a small amount or for free, that is not Bartering per se. That is referral networking, whereby the third party is bartering. THAT I do all the time.

  • Bob,
    I do understand where you are coming from and I am aware we can’t discount our products. However, we have skills a lot of other business people do not, such as selling, marketing, networking, etc. I believe that everyone has a value or skill that someone else needs and if you work it right, you can barter those skills. Referral marketing and bartering are close cousins, but not the same thing.

  • Great post!

  • Yes if you have a service to provide i.e. no cost benefits

  • We barter now. The currency is worthless. It is a printed page or an electronic representation of a check. What are we working for?

  • Good stuff Tim. I like the idea of a mastermind as well.

  • Gosh, Love your Blogs, Tim. You add a ton of value by sharing your wisdom with us. Love Ben Shapiro, had the privilege to hear him speak when he was 16 years old

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