How can I get up to speed?
I am a 63-year-old rookie in this business. I have been a pastor for over 30 years, and have many years' experience in direct sales, copier sales and automobile sales. I have owned a copier company and have no problem knocking on doors, business-to-business.
Last year, I started in this business and love it, with one small exception. Admittedly, I am part time now, but I want to make this business full time. My problem is my lack of knowledge: POS, gift cards, petroleum, interchange rates, IP pricing and so much more!
I have been reading The Green Sheet cover to cover every month for the last year, but each month, I feel more ignorant. I know so little, yet I am able to sell the processing. My question is this: How can I really learn this business? I have a limited understanding of the processing itself. So, when I read articles, I am less than an informed reader.
As a small example, page 80, about tokenization ["Protecting cardholder data with tokenization" in the Research Rundown section in The Green Sheet, April 28, 2010, issue 10:04:02] ... I have never heard that one before. There is no need to explain that one; I just used it as an illustration.
I love this business; I am hungry to learn it. Is there any generic way to learn the basics?
Thank you in advance for any help.
Ken Babington Merchant Level Salesperson
We turned for advice on this question to Justin Milmeister of Elite Merchant Solutions. He is on our advisory board and one of our contributing writers. Following is his response:
"As you have realized, merchant services is a complicated industry to grasp, and only experience and the proper training will prepare you with the tools and the knowledge required to be the best you can be.
"The more you know about interchange, along with complementary products such as gift cards, working capital and POS equipment - and how they relate to merchants - the more sales you are going to make. It's that simple.
"Our industry has several resources to guide you through this web of information. However, my advice would be to partner up with an ISO that has a superior training program and is really hands-on with their partners.
"There are several companies such as mine that will fly you in for training and actually take you out in the field for hands-on experience.
"Additionally, you will want an ISO that has weekly trainings on the various products and services so that you have the knowledge which gives you an edge over competitors in closing deals.
"Additionally, you can visit the eta Electronic Transactions Association's website at www.electran.org and view their educational programs.
"I wish you the best of luck, and should you have any additional questions or would like some more information, please don't hesitate to contact me" at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justin is one of many advisory board members listed in each issue of The Green Sheet. The amount of industry knowledge these professionals collectively hold is breathtaking.
It would behoove you to attend industry tradeshows where you can seek mentors, network with peers, see new technology demonstrated live and attend a range of informative presentations and panels.
We have a chart of upcoming industry events at www.greensheet.com/datebook.php?flag=display_chart. The next regional association event will be the Midwest Acquirers Association's annual meeting July 21 to 23 in the Chicago area.
Additionally, our published articles going back many years are archived online. If you enter a term (tokenization, for example) in the Fast Finder search engine in the upper left-hand corner of our home page (www.greensheet.com), a list of articles containing that term will appear.
We wish you great success in your chosen career.
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