Intermediary is a role that has existed for centuries. Whether it's a matchmaker who puts singles together for a prospective love connection, a professional recruiter who researches and vets candidates to fill open executive positions, or a scouting resource who connects qualified solution providers to address client technical challenges, intermediaries provide valuable services to clients in many areas.
However, in recent years, the advent of online technologies has facilitated certain types of matchmaking to an extent that fewer intermediaries may be necessary in order to qualify and connect prospective partners. Think about online recruiting site indeed.com and online dating site match.com and you will catch my meaning. So, does the rise of online marketplaces point to the demise of intermediaries?
No, not at all. However, it does signal the need for intermediaries to continually assess their customers' needs and where necessary, to elevate their respective value offerings in order for them to remain relevant. For facilitating routine connections, online marketplaces may assume these roles if the type of matchmaking involved can be automated. In order for an intermediary to remain necessary, he/she must provide value beyond simply making introductions, particularly when the stakes involved are relatively high. They must play more of a consultative role in identifying and helping to qualify prospective partners and partnerships.
This means researching partners and synthesizing information about them and their value offering in order to help the client understand and properly judge the value of a match...including uncovering unexpected or "unadvertised" opportunities. It can also involve being vigilant to identify possible red flags that could signal potential problems down the road. For instance, if an intermediary learns from his interactions with a prospective partner that they are disorganized and inconsistent in meeting deadlines, he should raise this concern to his client for consideration. In short, it means consistently adding value.
Don't be shy about expecting more from your intermediaries and discussing this with them. Just as the role of salespersons has evolved over time to become a more consultative one, so must the role of professional intermediary.
"Connecting You With The Right Solutions" BFS Innovations, Inc.