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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 09, 2012 • Issue 12:01:01


Work through discomfort, expand your reach

Each January, many ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) revisit their sales goals and strategies. Whatever your business goals for 2012 are, one thing is certain: to succeed, you must interact successfully with all types of people, even those with whom you either disagree or are uncomfortable.

Given that you have chosen sales for your profession, chances are you are naturally an upbeat, outgoing person who already has a good deal of skill when it comes to communicating with people. But sometimes, even the best of us fall short in some areas of outreach. Here are some examples of what I'm talking about. Maybe you have:

  • Avoided a neighborhood or town because it has a reputation for being either more liberal or more conservative than you are
  • Stopped calling on a merchant who voiced an opinion you oppose about cultural or economic "wedge" issues
  • Become visibly miffed when a prospect showed up late for a meeting and did not have a reason you felt was good enough
  • Failed to return a call from a merchant who was upset about a charge on his or her monthly statement
  • Didn't attempt to communicate with a prospect whose first language is not English even though the merchant was referred by one of your customers

Let reason rule

Whether or not the scenarios just described hit home for you, they may have brought to mind certain instances in which you've let a potential or current client get under your skin, or let discomfort or anxiety deter you from pursuing a solid lead - and thereby failed to close new deals or lost accounts you once had.

One thing these situations have in common is lack of emotional control - not a pathological lack of control, certainly, but still a deficit that can hamper sales. Fortunately, you can take steps to bolster yourself so you can more easily surmount intimidating situations and handle people you find difficult.

Here are some ideas:

  • When dealing with people who disagree with you, keep in mind that they have just as much right to their opinion as you do, and just because you don't see things their way doesn't mean you can't do business together.

  • When someone makes a remark that has the potential to rile you, don't respond right away. Take a breath, count to 10, listen with interest and do not argue. Then endeavor to steer the conversation back to the business at hand.

  • When approaching a vertical market comprising people whose culture is different than yours, remember that we all have more in common as human beings than we have differences. Research the market before you start making calls, and then move in with confidence that you have something of value to offer. You'll likely make mistakes, but if you're genuine and friendly, you will overcome these.

  • Just as you want to be forgiven for your faux pas, be forgiving of others. Let the little slights and oversights go, and don't jump to negative conclusions about other people's motives, drive, potential or character.

(There may be an occasional merchant who is downright abusive, and if you encounter one of those, end the relationship gracefully, without letting the individual get the best of you. In these sorts of situations, it's good to remind yourself not to take what the merchant is dishing out personally. It's likely the next ISO or MLS who knocks on that merchant's door will be treated the same way.)

Re-examining and readjusting your behavior in just one area in which you've pulled back from opportunity due to negative thoughts or feelings can have a positive impact not just on your relationships, but also on the overall success of your life's endeavors. end of article

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