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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Mobile payments 2013 - Part 1

News

Industry Update

Bergeron steps down at VeriFone

New battles erupt in mobile wallet wars

LevelUp reaches 1 million users

Farewell to Mike Duffy

Trade Association News

Features

Research Rundown

Selling Prepaid

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid Expo features ducks on a pond

ISO opportunities at Prepaid Expo

Views

No changes in line for debit caps

Patti Murphy
ProScribes Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Don your 'brown shoes' and differentiate yourself

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

Be a true expert adviser

Daniel Wadleigh
Marketing Consultant

The rewards of lean thinking

Dale S. Laszig
Castles Technology Co. Ltd.

It's time to change the conversation

Adam Moss
Charge Card Systems Inc.

Company Profile

projectprepaid

New Products

Big data for SMB market

Tranzlogic
Tranzlogic

Cloud-based business manager

Starter program
PaySimple

Inspiration

How are other people influencing you?

Departments

Readers Speak

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

March 25, 2013  •  Issue 13:03:02

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Be a true expert adviser

By Daniel Wadleigh

The number one thing you can do to make sales, foster loyalty and generate referrals is to become your merchants' go-to expert adviser. This entails demonstrating that you always have their best interests at heart and are concerned about their ongoing protection and well being. This also requires that you consider them to be clients, not just customers.

Be prepared

To embark upon this type of relationship you need to:

  1. Determine what your clients' and prospects' real buying motives are. This will require listening well and asking probing questions that draw them out.
  2. Assess what types of expert advice you can legitimately provide that address the needs they have revealed to you; then effectively convey how you can deliver what they need.
  3. Keep relevant facts and customer testimonials at the ready to substantiate your claims.
  4. Deliver on all of your promises.

Incorporate this approach into your mission statement, and use it. It cannot just be a slogan or idle claim. And everyone in your company must be on board.

Advise merchants pro bono

Now, for a crucial point: even if you make no immediate profit from an effort, if something will help your client or prospect, put it in your value-added bag as part of an ongoing practice of exceeding expectations. Think of yourself as being "on staff" at no charge. This is a marketing cost to aid in not just acquiring, but also retaining customers. Losing a client, when avoidable, is unacceptable. It means wasted acquisition costs, as well as loss of future income and referrals. In addition, dissatisfied merchants will probably bad-mouth you to at least five people. It's worth a little time and effort to keep them.

People welcome competent, informed advisers. Studies have shown that the majority of potential buyers want to talk over decisions before they act. Play that card. Encourage merchants to call you. Indicate in your promotional materials that you are a resource who can provide useful information. But don't be deceitful, and never confuse genuinely taking complete care of clients over the long haul with giving them information that merely sells them on buying something from you. If manipulation disguised as information is all you offer, your clients and prospects will not trust you, be loyal to you or send any of their friends your way.

Steer clear of discounts

Also, never do anything that smacks of pressure, desperation or greed. If you do, merchants will distance themselves from you, and worse, tell everybody they know to do the same. This means you must stay away from discounts. Here's why discounts are detrimental to your business:

  1. Every dollar reduced comes straight out of your profits.
  2. Discounts say you are a "me too" company, and it's the only way you are able to get business.
  3. Relying on discounts turns merchants into your customers, not clients. You become a commonplace - the opposite of an expert adviser who knows how to add value and provide extraordinary service.

Win with value

I can't tell you how many times I've heard service providers complain that the only time they see their customers is when they have coupons in hand. That is because those coupon holders aren't loyal to their providers; they're loyal to the discounts. Choose to add value. This will enable you to build strong relationships that will lead to loyalty, referrals and increased profits.

So provide useful, tailored information as a matter of course. You don't need to know everything, just more than your competitors. Provide training seminars on selling, useful handouts and informative direct mail. And focus on benefits, not features. You don't have to lower prices. Your clients will remain loyal to you, and they will deliver referrals to you. Do this, and you will have a minimum income base you can count on. Satisfy your customers, over-deliver and get referrals from them. This will reduce advertising costs and increase profits, which means you will have control over your income.

A merchant focused on economics is concerned about return on investment in the products and services his or her company may purchase from you. An analytical prospect is keenly interested in whether the product you offer can solve immediate problems at hand. A buyer focused on technology wants to understand how well the product you offer will fit into his or her current business environment.


What is your prospect focused on?

When it comes to the buying process, prospects tend to fall into three distinct categories. It is important to be able to address each type when interacting with prospective and current customers. Merchants will be primarily focused on one of the following and secondarily focused on the other two:

  1. Economics
  2. Analysis
  3. Technology

A merchant focused on economics is concerned about return on investment in the products and services his or her company may purchase from you. An analytical prospect is keenly interested in whether the product you offer can solve immediate problems at hand. A buyer focused on technology wants to understand how well the product you offer will fit into his or her current business environment.


Daniel Wadleigh is a veteran marketing consultant in the payments industry. He offers an educational program that is available on a PowerPoint presentation and designed to help ISOs elevate themselves above the competition. For more information, please call him at 512-803-0956 or email morenewcustomers@gmail.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | USAePay | Super G Capital LLC | Humboldt Merchant Services | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems