By Marcelo Paladini
As every good salesperson knows, there's more than one way to close a deal. Hundreds of books have been written on the subject of selling, and there are as many solid strategies for landing customers as there are great salespeople.
But even with such extensive resources available, many ISOs and merchant level salespeople lose business because they haven't mastered a strategy that's both an extremely simple concept and an incredibly subtle tool for winning sales: the ability to shape your presentation to the client's unique needs.
It's tempting to find an approach that works well and deploy it in every situation. A killer pitch that doesn't need much modification can be effective. But to post truly extraordinary sales numbers, you will need to be able to adapt your pitch to a host of customer needs.
One of the simplest ways to customize your pitches is to modify your approach to retailer size. You're selling the same basic product to every merchant: the electronic payment processing services of the company you represent.
But you will sell more (and profit more) if you learn to emphasize the aspects of that product that are most appealing to each specific client, based on business size and the specific needs that size entails.
Selling to 'mom and pop'
Single-location retail merchants are a payments industry mainstay. You'll need to cultivate this type of business. What matters most to a deli owner or local restaurant is not the vast technological network available through your ISO or the great write-up your company received in a national trade magazine. It's the reliable, personable one on- one service you provide at every step of the payment processing cycle.
Small-business owners like to work with individuals they trust. Developing a rapport with your most loyal clients, or new store owners whose businesses you're cultivating, will pay off substantially.
Logging one-on-one hours, whether on the golf course or at community events, will strengthen your relationships and make members of this merchant group far less likely to jump ship when competitors they've never before met walk in the door offering to match or beat your processing rate.
If your company, like Cynergy Data, emphasizes technology, sell that to merchants in terms they'll understand and appreciate. Frame the technological services you provide (from virtual back office software to instant chargeback notification) in terms of instant benefits to merchants.
To strengthen your presentations, ask yourself the following questions:
Selling to big fish
While personal relationships are extremely important when selling to small-business owners, when you're approaching larger operations it's the relationship between your businesses that will close the deal. Of course, tee time with key principals doesn't hurt, but to win business from a mega-merchant, you'll need to frame your approach in terms of a mutually beneficial partnership between companies.
Emphasize what makes your company a leader. Large, successful retailers like to do business with equally prosperous enterprises, if for no other reason than the big guns have the service and support networks to handle complex, high-volume businesses.
Remember to point out how customizable your technological offerings are and the state-of-the-art nature of your offerings, from terminals to customer service systems. Do you serve other major clients in your prospect's market space? This is one arena in which it never hurts to drop a name. It will enhance your prestige in the eyes of most large-business owners and increase the likelihood that they will use your services.
When you're selling to mega retailers, make sure they know your services can be adapted to fit with their existing corporate images and needs. You can change for them; they should not have to change for you. Customizable, branded gift cards, for example, are an appealing option for large merchants.
Equally valuable is your ability to create a specialty processing system for them that takes into account business type, processing volume, staffing needs and more. Also important is forging a system that can make managing multiple locations simple, as well as profitable.
Selling to all sizes
No matter what size a merchant is, certain things always apply. Ease of use never loses its appeal, particularly since so few merchants understand, or even want to understand, the ins and outs of payment processing.
Customer service and technical support functions that are available 24/7; easy to reach; equipped to handle myriad issues; and staffed by warm, efficient experts are immensely valuable, too.
And, ultimately, personal relationships speak volumes, whether it's dinner and drinks with a small but reliable client or a personal note to the Chief Executive Officer of a major corporation. Whether you're selling big or selling little, charisma never goes out of style.
Marcelo Paladini is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Cynergy Data, a merchant acquirer that distinguishes itself by relying on creativity and technology to maximize service. Cynergy offers its ISOs: Vimas, cutting edge back-office management software; Vimas Tracking, a ticketing system that makes responses to customers fast, accurate and efficient; Brand Central Station, a Web site of free marketing tools; plus state-of-theart training, products, services and value-added programs, all designed to take its ISO partners way beyond their competitors. For more information on Cynergy, e-mail Mike Grossman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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