1GSA is aiming to have 50 members within a year giving smaller general sales and service agents (GSSA) a chance to take on larger companies, according to president David Lee.
He says there are many good, hard-working independent GSSAs around the world but they are struggling against the bigger companies who dominate the market.
They face many challenges, such as putting a lot of money and effort into long-distance sales trips to carriers and the cost of effective marketing, for example attending trade shows or media advertising, which are often beyond reach of companies with smaller budgets.
Lee stresses 1GSA is not a trade association but a business-focused network, which he says “is unashamedly all about sales and marketing”.
He says: “By adopting highly-organised reciprocal selling, where each member represents the entire network in his own territory, this cuts out the cost of speculative sales trips. It also gives the member more to sell at every call, so increasing the likelihood of success.”
The cost of professional marketing is shared across all members through the annual fee, the result, Lee says, is members achieve a much higher profile at a fraction of the individual cost.
Lee says the network is about becoming more competitive through increased sales and marketing but there is more to joining.
Lee explains: “It’s also about increasing their revenues: not just by winning more contracts, but because every member who sells for the 1GSA network or other members always earns – even if the contract he wins does not include his own territory.”
The network has also been designed for the benefit of airlines, providing an alternative to larger companies and an opportunity to work with independents who are local market experts.
Lee says: “Airlines can appoint and deal with our individual members direct, or appoint and manage multiple members through 1GSA. Every member is pre-vetted, taking the guesswork out of assembling an airline’s sales network.”
1GSA is aiming for 50 members within a year but there is no upper limit, “the bigger the network, the better” as Lee says, as long as the highest member criteria are upheld.
It launched with 11 members in 11 countries, are further applications are being processed, with the priority to assemble the larges possible network as quickly as possible producing a strong offering for carriers and increasing the benefit of membership for independent GSSAs.
Czech Republic based GCAir was a founding member of 1GSA, explaining the benefits of joining, joint managing director Jan Grabmueller says: “1GSA is the perfect solution for us. The team and its quality and presence in the air cargo community is bringing more opportunities to attract airlines, and we can share many costs such as marketing, that individual GSAs could never justify on their own.”
Lee says there has been a great deal of interest, with companies expressing an interest and other watching the progress, though he points out: “They should remember that this is a one-time opportunity: once a territory is occupied, the door is closed to any other applicant.”
Though the plan is to expand 1GSA, it is focusing on quality rather than quantity, so any company joining will be carefully scrutinised to ensure they are reputable.
Airline references will be required along with responses to probing questions. Lee says: “We owe it to airlines, and to our existing members, to conduct every possible check on prospective members, to ensure that the 1GSA name is synonymous with professionalism, performance and security.”