I’ve been in wireless a long time. Some would say too long (ha ha) – but in my 35 years of experience working with and for carriers, I’ve noticed something. And it’s happening again in a big way.
If you are an exclusive dealer – this message is for you. I don’t care if you own one store or 1000. I don’t care which brand or network you’re selling. I don’t care if you’ve been in the business 30 years or 3 days. I implore you to listen up.
Let me explain.
T-Mobile has decided to eliminate it’s TPRS dealer program. Hundreds of small-medium businesses are now scrambling. In addition, we’re hearing VERY strong rumors that the TPR program is next to go. That will eliminate thousands more stores. It appears that T-Mobile wants to go only the corporate store route.
So, what happens to all those T-Mobile dealer stores? And their owners? And their employees?
This is not a new trend. It seems roughly every 5 years or so a carrier shifts their distribution strategy. Sometimes they go from heavily corporate owned stores to more dealers. Sometimes it’s the other way around – but it happens pretty regularly every 5 or so years.
So, if you’re selling one brand – and it’s your only business – you’re just waiting for death.
Any by diversify, I don’t necessarily mean selling multiple brands (although that is one way.) It can be ANY way:
• Own multiple businesses (heck, sell frozen yogurt!) • Own multiple types of businesses. • Own your own multi-branded store if you want to stay within the industry. • Own different businesses that sell different brands. BUT DO SOMETHING.
Back in the late 1980s, the carrier I worked for instantly gained hundreds if not thousands of doors. How? Our competitor decided to go all corporate stores. Back then, there was only two carriers per market (and no MVNOs) – so all these stores, which had wireless experience, had nowhere else to turn – and we were happy to have them. We grew our base many,many times over in a matter of weeks.
Then (about 5 years later) a new director came in. They decided we had too many dealers… started opening corporate stores.
It’s NOTHING NEW.
And if you’re the dealer, your entire life is in someone else’s hands.
WHY would you let that happen?
So, I implore you. Diversify. Get into a different type of business. Stay in wireless but offer something else. Do something – ANYTHING – but do NOT wait for a new director to decide there are too many dealers.
– Adam Wolf
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