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Table of Contents

Lead Story

New payment player flexes muscle

News

Industry Update

Interchange dodges a bullet

Two more terminal types under PCI SSC umbrella

Small-business confidence rising

Contactless faring well

Terrorism funded with stolen data

Flying for wishes, Isaacman sets record

Visa Inc. interchange rates as of April 2009

Features

Data security dominates ETA Expo

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

The Fair Gift Card Act of 2009:
Good intentions, disastrous results

Brad Fauss
Springbok Services Inc.

The ISO challenge: Selling prepaid

Drilling down on the prepaid-unbanked relationship

Views

Protect merchants with the basics

Biff Matthews
CardWare International

The drive toward integrated solutions

Robbie Lopez
VeriFone

Extending security beyond assessments

Michael Petitti
Trustwave

Education

Street SmartsSM:
What does your billboard say?

Jon Perry and Vanessa Lang
888QuikRate.com

What it takes to thrive in business

Curt Hensley
CSH Consulting

PCI: Taking the proper path

Tim Cranny
Panoptic Security Inc.

Facing the elephants

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

Company Profile

Merchant Cash and Capital

New Products

Private pathway for POS data

AprivaNet
Company: Apriva

Boundless processing

Whizpay
TalentBeat

Revenue streams through referrals

VendorVantage
AdvanceMe Inc.

Inspiration

Capitalizing on distractions

Miscellaneous

2009 Calendar of events

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Skyscraper Ad

The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 11, 2009  •  Issue 09:05:01

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Facing the elephants

By Jeff Fortney

It is a staple of sketch comedy television going back to the earliest days of the medium: Two people, usually in a living room or other inside location, are having a rather mundane conversation.

Yet, on the other side of the room is an "elephant," munching away on vegetables. The characters glance at it, but never verbally acknowledge its presence. Finally, one character will say, "Do you see...," with his or her voice trailing off, as the character is too frightened to specifically mention the gargantuan animal in the room.

The other character responds in a hushed voice, "Yes, but if we ignore it, it may go away."

Look around

In speaking with merchants today, merchant level salespeople (MLSs) often find there is an elephant in the room. Yet, as in the skits, they usually ignore the pachyderm. They use a canned sales pitch; they don't vary their offers; they just hope the elephant will go away if they deny its existence.

More than ever before, MLSs are experiencing greater frustration, lost opportunities and diminished business success. And it seems this particular elephant is here to stay for a while. It's time to begin addressing it head on.

The real challenge is that, having ignored the truth for so long, we may have lost the capacity to properly address it. We're afraid to even acknowledge it, or we believe that, by bringing it up, we will lose control of the sales process. We may even fear the elephant is inside of us, not in a corner of the room.

Take three steps

There are three basic steps to addressing the elephant. If followed, both your merchant closure rate and sense of accomplishment will grow.

You can choose to acknowledge the elephant or you can follow the lead of the old skits and ignore it. But remember, just like in the skits, ignoring the beast doesn't work.

Jeff Fortney is Director of Business Development with Clearent LLC. He has more than 12 years' experience in the payments industry. Contact him at