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The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 26, 2009 • Issue 09:10:02


Get real with expectations

ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) are inundated with motivational phrases. "Dream big" is a popular one. "Set the bar as high as you can" is another. It is true: Ambition and drive are rewarded in the payments industry. But lofty goals and expectations should be tempered with realism. In fact, setting limits on expectations can empower and liberate and, in the long run, make you a better seller.

Ask yourself what happens if you push to attain a high level of residual income, but then fall short. Do you get discouraged, dejected, depressed or even fear you are in the wrong profession? If so, then maybe you have set that proverbial bar too high.

Despite the American ethos that each individual controls his or her destiny, external circumstances such as global economic turmoil or job cuts can profoundly influence your bottom line. Reviewing your sales strategies and professional behavior is invaluable. But impractical goal-setting can hamper your day-to-day sales activities and cause unnecessary anxiety when it comes to closing accounts.

Recognize roadblocks

Having realistic expectations will help you meet goals. MLSs need to recognize their strengths and areas of expertise and build upon what they do well. Having lowered expectations doesn't necessarily equate to poorer results.

To get your expectations in line, first understand your limitations. Many issues affect your performance, but you may not even consider them during the course of a workday. These include:

  • The finite amount of hours in the day to conduct business

  • The need for a certain amount of rest and food to sustain the energy level required for sales

  • The need to understand and accept the amount of stress you can handle

  • The effects of trying to do too many tasks simultaneously

  • The scope of your experience level and industry knowledge

  • Your degree of interest in the type of merchants you are pursuing

  • The health of vertical markets you want to break into

  • Time constraints imposed by outside commitments to friends, family and extracurricular activities

  • The effect of company policies on your ability to do your job

  • Time zone restrictions in doing business outside your geographic area

Embrace strengths

A good starting point might be to define your personal limitations and then set expectations accordingly. Technical writers more than likely don't venture into penning romance novels. Obstetricians wouldn't attempt brain surgery. Lumberjacks who work and live in the outdoors understand they more than likely would not be successful administrative assistants.

Once you've made an honest evaluation of your skill set and industry knowledge, then address how you can use your limitations to create focused goals.

You might find that what you thought were flaws can help you achieve greater success over the long term.

To do a personal, in-depth, self-assessment questionnaire that reflects who you are and not how you wish to be perceived, start by asking yourself such things as:

  • What verticals and market segments do I feel passionate about?

  • Am I pursuing verticals that require in-depth knowledge I do not have, making me less effective to potential clients?

  • What expertise did I bring into the payments industry and how can I apply that knowledge in creating a set of sales goals that builds on my strengths?

  • What areas of the payments industry are most comfortable for me?

  • Am I having fun? If not, why not?

Establish boundaries

Always consider ongoing expectations of work and family before taking on new projects or responsibilities. Often we accept opportunities and challenges because of the expectations of, or loyalty to, others.

Loyalty and selflessness are admirable traits. However, just because you can do a job doesn't always mean you should. Ask yourself, Will taking on additional commitments adversely affect the boundaries I am trying to set to have the best chance for success?

ISOs and MLSs who take the time to stop and reflect on what they are shooting for - and whether their goals are realistic - are well positioned to set appropriate limits that can, indeed, help them reach their goals. end of article

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