Who is an Agent?
An agent is an intermediary who acts on behalf of a service principal. He is authorized to make agreements between customers and the principal. An agent does not take title to services but instead delivers the rights to customers. An agent has legal authority to market services as well as other related functions on behalf of his principal.
Types of agents
Agents may be of three types namely,
- selling agents
- purchasing agents and
- facilitating agents.
1. Selling agents: Selling agents have contractual authority to sell a service of their principal. The service may be anything from insurance to financial services. Selling agents are appointed when the principal is not keen to run the show himself because of a lack of qualification or a lack of resources to do so. Selling agents are a powerful sales force, since they know the market better than the service principal. They can influence price, terms and conditions of sale. The selling agents have no territorial limits and represent the service principals in all areas.
2. Purchasing agents: Purchasing agents evaluate the sources of supply and make purchases on behalf of buyers. Normally, they have a long-term relationship with the buyers. Purchasing agents have a thorough knowledge about the market. They serve their clients by providing useful market information. A purchasing agent buys best services at a reasonable price for his clients (buyers). Companies and individual engage purchasing agents in order to find art, antiques, rare jewellery, etc.
3. Facilitating agents: Facilitating agents provide the much needed support for performing the marketing process. They are experts in the fields such as banking, insurance, transport, risk-taking, etc.