Are you an agricultural broker? Joining the world trade and investment network is your key to a secure future


Oct 2, 2020 | Commodity Trading 101

Reading time: 4 minutes

Basketball legend Michael Jordan once said that ‘talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships’. You can take his word for it, because Michael Jordan won a lot of championships in his day. But his quote doesn’t just apply to basketball, or even team sports. As agricultural trading becomes more connected, it’s a mantra that has exponential significance in our industry.

The world of agricultural trading is changing. As always with an industry shift, it’s important to ride the tide or risk being pulled out to sea. If you’re part of a brokerage firm, then the change impacts you on every level. From prospective trades and current clients, you need to speak the same language as everyone across the industry. The days of keeping cards close to the chest are over. These are people who share the same goals, so collaboration is key to success. Operating tight-lipped will only damage your firm’s legitimacy and diminish confidence from partners.

So, what’s your best bet in avoiding this fate and thriving in 2020 and beyond? Joining a world trade and investment network should be your priority. Not only does it expand trading opportunities, but it legitimises you as a key player. In this blog, we’ll discuss the key benefits that joining a network has for your standing in international agricultural trade. We’ll also explore the nature of how a network operates and how AgFlow can help. Afterall, our vision is to digitialize agricultural markets. And our goal? To enable effortless, informed, and timely decisions. The key word there is enable. We don’t want to make the decisions for you – that’s your job. As Jordan says, intelligence is important. But so is teamwork, and that’s where we come in to help you grow.

Why old habits need to die hard

Knowing your contacts is key. Your understanding of your partners and competitors will impact how successful you are. But the important thing to realise is that the way contacts are managed is fast changing. The traditional methods of keeping networks closeguarded and away from digital systems is over. Cold calling and face-to-face are both proving less effective when organising trades. In fact, traders are using online tools and products to understand trends and seek out trade opportunities themselves. That means the role of an agricultural broker has taken a new shape. But there’s no need to fear, because your role as a broker is still crucial in today’s trade landscape. Nevertheless, you should embrace openness and offering to continue playing you part and avoid getting left behind.

Getting your name next to agricultural products

So what does being part of a network look like? Let’s say you’re a broker with a short-term orientated strategy. For that to work, you need to be able to check and benchmark your prices against the market. How else would you know if your prices are competitive? Using your finger like a weathervane won’t cut it. On the flip side, you might be a broker who sees things long-term. That’s a perfectly sound approach, but if it’s to work, you need a reliable tool that can deliver you effective, high quality insights. And whether your mindset is short-term, long-term, or somewhere in the middle, you must be in a position to get your prices seen. With traders now striking their own deals, you won’t have much joy if you’re not showing up to the party.

Being part of AgFlow’s network can help. What our role comes down to is that of a verifier and a facilitator. As we often like to say, we’re not traders, we’re data suppliers. Our priority is to use our tools to verify your data broker accountability and transparency. We then open the door for you to connect to buyers and sellers by putting your prices out there. This allows you to organise more trades and widen your own network, without the hassle of spending hours one the phone.

Making life easier for agricultural brokers

Joining our network is the first step in unlocking the benefits that only a truly connected and collaborative strategy can cultivate. Look at it this way – you’re sowing the seeds of your future business on a much wider plain. But it’s all well and good us just saying that, but how exactly do your prospects flourish when you’re part of the AgFlow network?

Let’s take an example. Say you join our network and you start using TradeFlows, our dedicated tool for tracking supply and demand across global markets. We’ll save you hours of finding import data by updating the global market data daily. You’ll know shipping volumes. You’ll see origins and destinations. You’ll also get a view of who the exporters and importers are. This is vital information that you need to facilitate trades, and it’s there in one handy dashboard. You get the information quickly and efficiently, so you can focus on your core priorities.

Or let’s focus on a more recent example of how we leverage our network for your benefit. COVID-19 has affected traders across the world. This is especially true for those who rely on face-to-face networking to generate leads. For their business to survive, a trader has to find another way of connecting with brokers. That’s where we step in. We can analyse the requirements of traders around the globe to define a target list of contacts in our networks that are best suited to their needs. And if you, a broker who contributes to our network, is a suitable match, then we’ll pass on your details. Before you know it you’ll connect with relevant traders whose prospects are high.

There’s a recurrent theme here in that we do the heavy lifting for you. With a traditional approach to generating leads, not enough of your resource goes into the most important channel. How can you make trades if you have little time to do so? But as part of AgFlow’s network, we not only provide you with leads, but also legitimise you as reliable and trustworthy. You then work your magic on brokering deals.

Grow your network and expand your reach

Unbiased agricultural data management

If you’re a brokerage firm, there might be one blocker that’s stopping you from joining our network. Why should you have to share your agricultural data? Afterall, you may have spent your entire career amassing it. Why should we get access? And why should we share it with potential competitors? But there’s no need for alarm. In fact, being upfront with your data would work to your advantage.

It’s difficult to be objective over the legitimacy of data without an effective network to benchmark it against. Your data is only as good as your own research. As good as you think that is, it’ll never compare to a digitalised network. But we maintain our network to be completely unbiased. It’s the reason our consumers have the freedom to make completely impartial decisions. Because ultimately, when push comes to shove, you don’t need us to make any strategic decisions for you. You’re equipped to do that. But what you do need are the best possible tools to help you make the decisions.

A methodology to suit you

It’s easy to join the AgFlow network but, most importantly, it’s easy to join on the best terms for you and your firm. We agree on the type of data you can supply, the frequency you can provide us with it, and your preferred format of delivery. There’s transparency for both parties on how we’ll be using and securing that data. And then the data network is yours to use as you wish. Based on your tier classification, you’ll gain access to AgFlow and our tools and services. And we’ll be there as long as you’re a member to provide unbiased support to help your business.

Find a way to partner with us that works for you

Trade agricultural products with intelligence

The AgFlow data network has grown from strength to strength. Just last month we announced a partnership with ZE, a global leader in end-to-end data management and analytics, to deliver more options to our consumers with access to crucial agricultural commodities data. But our data network is only as strong as our contributors.

Think of our Michael Jordan quote at the beginning of this article. He may have won six championships in the space of eight years, but those wins were all with the Chicago Bulls. His intelligence on the court, defined by his style of playing smart, was enabled by the team around him. And as we go into uncertain times ahead, only those who recognise the importance of collaboration and intelligence, rather than guesswork, will succeed.

Want to join our network? You’ll grow your business and share your knowledge with the world’s largest network of agriculture commodities data suppliers. Enquire today and start your journey as an AgFlow member.