By Dale S. Laszig
Castles Technology Co. Ltd.
Have you ever felt like a deer in the headlights during a whiteboard exercise? Merchants can feel that way when we get too technical. Most wouldn't know the difference between an 8-bit and 32-bit ARM processor. They get brain freeze trying to read a self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ). They rely on merchant level salespeople (MLSs) to replace broken equipment. They just want to keep transactions flowing; they aren't interested in becoming payment processing experts.
But there's a downside to avoiding technical details. Merchants who don't understand our services will be more susceptible to competitive offers and fraudulent transactions. Taking time to educate them will build stronger relationships and pave the way for referrals; it will also help them identify the warning signs when unscrupulous customers or solicitors walk through their doors.
So how can we share just the right amount of technical information with our prospects and customers, without overwhelming them or losing their attention? The key is to make our technology relevant by observing it from a merchant's point of view. Features and benefits are only meaningful when they answer a need or solve a merchant's problem.
Following are guidelines for informing nontechnical audiences about our industry's fees, regulations and technology.
Despite the more than 100 variations of qualified and nonqualified bankcard transactions in our current processing environment, many merchants will still ask, "What's your rate?" To foster understanding:
Considering how much resource processors, ISOs and third-party providers have invested in understanding and implementing the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS), how can we condense this information into pertinent sound bites to educate our merchants? Here are some tips:
If you were a merchant, what would you look for in a credit card processing system? Would you care more about looks or performance, high speed or low price? Answers will differ according to the personalities, preferences and priorities of each customer.
Your first priority is to understand each customer's motivations. Too many MLSs err in recommending a product to fit the needs of a business instead of a person. A small business owner with big aspirations might be offended if you suggest a low-end credit card terminal for processing. Similarly, a high-profile retailer operating on low margins and a reduced budget is not necessarily a candidate for a fully loaded, customized processing system.
Here's what to do:
Internet connectivity has increased demand for credit card processing applications with multiple access points that can be incorporated into larger enterprise operating systems.
Merchants can choose from an array of processing software, from traditional countertop and mobile terminal applications to virtual terminals and payment applets that blend into accounting software and larger POS management systems.
There is so much choice in today's processing software that merchants can become overwhelmed and have difficulty making decisions. The best approach in helping merchants choose the right fit in processing software is to get a sense of their requirements. To do this:
Whether you are managing a territory or a team of agents, your ability to organize the details of your business will be a key factor in your success. Knowing what to share and what to spare will pave the way to peak performance.
Dale S. Laszig is Vice President of Sales in the United States for Castles Technology Co. Ltd., a manufacturer and global provider of smart card, contactless and POS solutions. She can be reached at 973-930-0331 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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