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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 25, 2010 • Issue 10:01:02


Bounce the January blahs

Let's face it, as the first month in the calendar year, January has its difficulties. Holiday stress, travel and family obligations have taken their toll. It's cold outside. And for the last couple of Januarys, the economy has been in lousy shape. So if you're feeling a little worn out and unmotivated right now, you're not alone.

And yet, as ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs), you can't really afford to be lax. With the current business climate hopeful but fragile, meeting that January sales quota and catering to your existing merchant clients is all the more important. In today's business environment, it may mean your livelihood or your company's ability to stay competitive.

Think jumper cables

But how do you jump-start the new year when your batteries are low? Well, of course, you recharge them. Start with a health assessment, since your well-being is the foundation for your productivity.

That holiday food heavy on gravy and butter may have added to your waistline, making you lethargic and apathetic. You can kick-start your metabolism by instituting a modest exercise routine that includes moderate stretching at break time and daily walks around the block.

To engage your brain, a motivational CD playing in your car stereo or a self-help book from the local library may do the trick. Brainteasers like three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles and word scrambles found in newspapers can give your mental faculties a workout. Another tack you might take is to find a new hobby or enroll in a junior college class, with the simple goal of keeping your mind fresh with new ideas.

With the body and mind once again pulling in the same direction, you can safely turn to more aesthetic concerns. Could your wardrobe benefit from a minor upgrade? A couple of new ties or a new overcoat to replace older, out-of-date apparel might enliven a staid appearance. And when was the last time you bought new socks? It's easy to forget how good a new pair feels on your feet.

And what about your office or cubicle? A new plant, rearrangement of the objects on your desk, even a newer picture of your child or pet can change the tenor of your work environment for the better. The same can be said for the desktop settings on your computer. Changing the background image or the font for your file folders can impact, in a small but significant way, how you engage your world.

Dump the doldrums for duty

Additionally, think of your colleagues; they may be in a rut, too. You can boost company morale simply by doing what you can to stay motivated. If you're dragging when you arrive at the office every morning, that negativity can affect everyone in the office. It is therefore almost a duty that you do what you can to remain positive and actively engaged in the job of selling.

Your merchants might need a boost as well. If ISOs and MLSs are experiencing the post-holiday doldrums, you can expect many merchants are feeling the same way, too. In fact, given the state of the economy, you can bet many merchants are stressed over soft holiday sales and uncertainty about whether 2010 will bring recovery or a deepening recession. Therefore, this may be a good time to call your merchants or drop in on them. A positive conversation, words of reassurance or simply offering a supportive ear might be just the thing to energize them, and you, for the new year.

Change a bummer to bucks

And that is the main point to contemplate. While ISOs and MLSs may be feeling the winter blues, so are your merchants. A little personal outreach and support may go a long way in keeping that merchant attrition rate low and your bosses satisfied with your work, despite circumstances beyond your control.

Perhaps that is the surest way to overcome ennui at the workplace. By encouraging your merchants this January, you have a better chance of still having them in your portfolio this time next year. And being able to say that come January 2011 should provide you a well-deserved lift. end of article

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