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The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 24, 2014 • Issue 14:02:02


Simple ways to retain top MLSs

Two wars of attrition are always taking place in the ISO world, one involving merchants and the other involving merchant level salespeople (MLSs). It might seem on the surface that the two conflicts are mutually exclusive. In fact, they are intricately tied to one another.

Every organization, be it a 10 person office or a huge corporation, is just a collection of people. The success of any enterprise hinges on the qualities of its people. The most talented MLSs are the ones who bring in the most business. They may also be the ones who keep merchants happy through nurturing relationships and solving service problems.

When an ISO loses a great agent, that ISO's business suffers. Merchants jump ship because the talented MLS is no longer around to soothe egos, put out fires and fix problems. It is therefore in the best interests of ISOs to keep their top talent, but many organizations fail to do so.

Personalize appreciation

It is more important than ever before to reward top performers for their contributions. Here are several simple, cost-effective ways to do that:

  • Present them with reloadable gift cards and top up the cards every month. For coffee drinkers, deposit $20 a month on a Starbucks card. For an agent with children, make it $40 loaded monthly on a Dave & Busters Power Card to treat kids to the popular arcade.
  • Pay for car washes and tune ups. MLSs, who are literally the feet on the street, do a lot of driving to call on merchants and deliver presentations. Make their lives a little easier by ensuring that basic upkeep on their cars is taken care of.
  • For busy professional moms and dads, offer to have their homes cleaned once a month or once every quarter. That's what maid services are for.
  • Provide your best performers a little extra comp time. A free day here and there can go a long way toward keeping closers energized and loyal.
  • Make periodic donations to charity in the names of your top performers. An MLS with a family member or friend battling cancer, for example, would surely appreciate a special donation made to a local hospital or cancer research foundation.

Appreciate performance

In the payments industry, the best MLSs can basically choose where they want to work, or start their own ISOs outright. But keeping top performers is not always about the bottom-line compensation package. A little thoughtfulness and imagination can help ensure that your top performers continue to bring in business for you, and not for your competitors. end of article

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