It's second nature for ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) to always be thinking of that next lead. Even during the holidays, when others are celebrating and giving thanks, salespeople join in, but they are also scoping out current and future selling opportunities.
Of course, this is not the time when merchants will want to hear your pitch, since it is that hopefully merry time of year when the majority of them are busy making the bulk of their annual revenue.
But does this mean it's bad form to view Christmas parties and other social gatherings as possible sources of leads and referrals? Absolutely not - if you apply tact and sensitivity to the challenge. Meaning: instead of selling services, subtly sell yourself by becoming a kind and trustworthy subject-matter expert.
As you're sipping eggnog at the family gathering, it's probably not appropriate to ask to see your uncle's credit card statements from his auto dealership. But maybe you can share insights on how rewards programs are helping dealers incentivize their salespeople for selling excellence and thereby keeping those dealers in business.
This approach might plant a seed that could result in blessings somewhere down the line. Maybe you'll get a call from your uncle six months later where he says, "Remember when we talked about that rewards program? I'd like to hear more."
The same goes for the general talk of the economy that will likely arise at holiday parties. Many people are a little anxious these days and wondering, Will I have a job next year? Will the economy turn around?
Well, the feet on the street have as good a handle on what is happening as anyone. Once talk turns to jobs and the economy, payment pros can offer their insights into what is really happening, where the jobs are, what businesses and sectors are doing reasonably or even extraordinarily well under current economic conditions.
It is knowledge you are offering, not products and services. And you're not attempting to sell someone right then and there; you're taking a longer, more holistic view of how you can help others, and how they can help you in turn.
People need reassurance and direction, especially during the hectic holidays. By offering your expertise and knowledge in a conversational and relaxed manner, you can establish yourself as a trusted resource for when the time comes. That time might be a year down the line, when you meet an acquaintance at the next Christmas party and he or she says, "I know a souvenir shop owner who doesn't like his processor. What do you offer?"
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