The Green Sheet Online Edition
July 22, 2013 • Issue 13:07:02
Merchant selling in the connected age
Clear communication is essential to business success. For example, in the merchant prospecting world, managers must have a good grasp of what their merchant level salespeople (MLSs) are doing in the field. A breakdown in that communication could lead to a watering down, or outright confusion, in the messages ISOs wish to convey to merchants.
The common tools of communication today - phone, email, text message - are starting to seem increasingly inadequate given the new social media technologies now that take advantage of mobile, always-on technology. Following is one scenario that showcases how this technology might work.
Wired to work
- MLSs are outfitted with mobile handsets that take advantage of GPS and streaming video capabilities.
- The centrally located sales manager has a dashboard open on a PC that shows the GPS location of every agent in the field. Additionally, with a touch of a button, the manager can communicate in real time with individual agents via live video streams.
- The manager can listen to pitches via that same technology, just as managers eavesdrop on conversations in call centers, to ensure that customer service standards are met.
- Data from newly boarded merchants is instantly available to managers - POS terminal orders, merchant fee details, specific network configurations, personal information about individual merchants such as birthdays, hobbies, etc.
- When merchant meetings are over, MLSs and managers can communicate on the spot about how the meeting went. Managers can provide instant feedback on what was good and what could be improved about the pitch.
- Recorded video from those meetings can be replayed during in-person meetings to reinforce certain selling points and strategies.
This approach to selling may seem foreign to ISOs and MLSs who are comfortable with tried and true methods. Furthermore, freedom and privacy concerns have to be weighed, not only from the employee or contractor side, but also from the merchant perspective. However, it is clear that the scenario described has advantages over traditional communication methods, as it increases efficiency and productivity - goals of every sales organization.
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