Moses Heredia returns to his roots when sizing up potential salespeople for Global Processing Systems Inc., the ISO he started 11 years ago in San Dimas, Calif. He succeeded in the acquiring industry through hard work, honesty and integrity, so he looks for those attributes in prospective employees and in ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs), he said.
Industry experience isn't a prerequisite for the job, Heredia stated. "We mold them and we train them," he said of new hires. "We spend quality time with them." Perhaps he sees a bit of himself in the recruits. After all, he didn't know the business when he started, either.
Heredia got into acquiring in 1994 at age 19 as a telemarketer for National Processing Co., which became part of Vantiv Inc. He earned a promotion to Sales Representative and then rose through the ranks as Territory Manager, District Manager and Western Regional Manager. After 10 years on the job, Heredia was offered a spot in the company's Louisville, Ky., office as Vice President of Sales for the Western United States.
That's when he took stock of his situation and decided to turn down the promotion. "I thought to myself, 'I have seven district offices and close to 85 agents out there on 1099. I'm very successful at what I'm doing. Why not just do it for myself?'" he said.
As the new venture's Chief Executive Officer, Heredia built Global Processing Systems on three pillars: caring about employees, providing services to independent ISOs and MLSs, and lavishing attention on customer service. He noted that many of his employees have been with the company from the start, and he's proud he avoided layoffs during the Great Recession. "It's a family," he said. "Everyone loves coming to work."
An employee of the month and other workers receive gift cards, electronic devices and recognition at regularly scheduled meetings. ISOs and agents win all-expenses paid vacations for up to four family members to destinations they choose. Each year, the highest producer earns a seven-day getaway, with five days for second place and three days for third. Winners also receive spending money. For clients, the company responds around the clock to issues, Heredia added.
These days, 46 employees work in operations, agent support, customer service, technical initiatives, special pricing and risk. Staff members take on numerous duties. For example, they provide agents in the field with analysis of merchants' monthly transactions-services statements while agents are making the sales calls.
Heredia preferred not to say how many merchants the company's portfolio contains, but he did say, "The guy upstairs has blessed us." Even during the recession, the company grew 14 percent annually, and it's now expanding 23 percent annually, he reported. The EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) conversion has boosted revenue as merchants have converted to new POS systems and terminals, he added.
The company pays residuals to 125 agents around the country – 80 of whom remain active – and is interested in adding more.
POS systems have become a key facet of the company's activities. In-house engineers customize the POS software for retailers and restaurant owners. Clients might, for example, want a particular way of keying transactions or tracking inventory at more than one location.
"Value-added has always been key for us," Heredia said. "We listen to what the merchants' desires are and what their needs may be. If we can deliver it, we definitely will." Besides retaining merchants, value-adds earn the loyalty of ISOs and MLSs who appreciate having varied products to sell.
Heredia believes listening is under-rated, too. Paying close attention to what ISOs and agents hear from merchants has been useful in shaping the company's offerings because Heredia is no longer on the streets monitoring the market firsthand. "But I still know where I came from," Heredia said. "I haven't lost my roots."
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