But virtual contacts are not the same as business relationships, in which shared experiences and credibility are imbedded. Further, knowing whom to contact and how to qualify those who can satisfy a client's needs is often a highly valuable capability. An intermediary's role is to leverage their keen networking skills and acumen to create value for the client. He/she is skilled at reaching and delivering appropriate contacts (solutions) to clients in an efficient and effective fashion, respecting everyone's time. If one accepts the value definition I've offered above, then what is appropriate compensation for providing this service? The answer depends upon the following:
The intensity of the client's need (and business risks of not satisfying it).
The likelihood that the connection would not occur without the intermediary's involvement.
- Intermediary's success track record.
- Intermediary's skill to help elicit information (from either/both parties) necessary to establish/confirm shared interests.
- Avaialble alternatives (including absolute/relative costs) to a particular intermediary.
- Client's able to pay for the desired service, including potential for reciprocity, if appropriate.
While not every transaction requires the services of a "middle man", many do. Intermediaries are often a necessary and valuable contributor to businesses of all kinds.