By Tom Waters and Ben Abel
Bank Associates Merchant Services
Editor's Note: Please welcome new Street Smarts authors Tom Waters and Ben Abel. We hope you relish this spirited, vivid, inaugural article as much as we did. They are in tune and well prepared to fill the big shoes left by the inimitable Dale Laszig, and we expect they'll rock the merchant level salesperson world in the coming year.
The daily rituals of our sales force are familiar. The clock above the office elevator ticks away in the early hours at the BAMS headquarters. Silence lingers in the last moments of the early morning, a bit of peace before the opening bell. The front room elevator slides open, and the sales manager steps out. He disengages the alarm system, flipping light switches as he moves through the sales floor. Overhead, the fluorescent lights crackle to life, leaving the cubicles awash with a new energy. The day is about to begin.
As agents arrive, the leather swivel chairs that line the office are joined by their companions. The chatter begins to fill the room with a light hum. The hand scanner beeps away like the steady drum of an advancing army. It's time to start the day with a motivating introduction. Game-faces on.
The next nine hours are an orchestra of activity, a flurry of human action. Calls are made and prospects are engaged. Some calls are finessed, some are strong armed and all are passionate. Congratulations are doled out as commitments are achieved. Statements flood in through fax and emails, and sales reps run numbers while generating proposals. Markers screech on whiteboards as training is offered. Pointed questions are darted through the group to confirm the information is being retained. As we near the final hour, the hum of sales chatter reaches its crescendo. Everyone tries to squeeze in those final applications before the day is over. Agents that have lower rankings on their daily metrics push even harder on their calls. Their competitive spirit leaves them unwilling to be anywhere but in the upper echelon of the statistics board.
Managers who have been moving nonstop all day finally can slow down a little and crack jokes with their teams. Groups laugh as they discuss the day's production, the conversations that went well and the ones that fell flat. Computers are powered down and people start to head out as the day comes to an end. The battle is over. The territory has grown to incrementally edge out competing forces. � Standing in a near empty sales room, a manager escorts the last remaining agents to the exit, flipping off light switches as he goes. He engages the alarm and heads into the elevator, taking one last look back at the sales floor before he heads home for the night. Silence once again reigns in a reprieve from the energy, camaraderie and excitement of a successful sales office � a reprieve that will be short lived, lasting only until the morning when the BAMS family returns.
Ben Abel has worked in merchant services for seven years and Tom Waters for 13. Although we are far from new to this industry, like lions on their first hunt, we both carry an excitement and vigor to our roles. We started our careers in the same place as most others do: with a phone in our hand and a notebook laid out on our desks. While our roles have matured and expanded over the years, we've never moved far from the pavement, far from the phone or far from the deal.�In the thick of the sales process is where we are at our best.
As regional and national directors of sales at Bank Associates Merchant Services, it is our responsibility to infuse our knowledge through those around us, to enable them to see the kind of success we have found to date. We thrive on the chance to provide opportunity � for ourselves and for every agent who joins our company.
At BAMS we are a family. We measure our success by the success of those around us. If they're doing well, closing deals and growing their portfolios, then we've done our jobs well. If they're not, then we're doing something wrong. Is it training? Feedback? Motivation? As a family, we succeed together. The opportunity provided by the Street Smarts column is a chance to welcome our readers into our extended family. � Over the course of our tenure penning the Street Smarts column we plan to share our knowledge, our experience and our lives with you. We do this with the hope that it will help you grow as an agent, strengthen your position as a professional member of the merchant services industry and be entertained while doing so.
While we have found success through times of economic turmoil, we are not akin to gurus atop a mountain. You do not need to climb a 30-day hike for the privilege of engaging us with one question. We are members of this community. We can attribute a large part of our success to our long-time reading of The Green Sheet and our thirst for knowledge. We are one set of voices in a chorus of talented salespeople.
Sometimes we will engage GS Online's MLS Forum solo and sometimes together as a team. We will speak our minds and lay down our insights for your consideration. We will tap into the collective conscience of The Green Sheet forums. Your voices will join us and help craft a wealth of relevant information.
Over the last 12 months, Dale Laszig has welcomed us all to her world and given advice and knowledge the way a true friend or confidant would. No holds barred, no secrets withheld. Her writing has been extraordinary, and there is no question she has upheld the high standard this column has set in the years previous. We are honored to have been given this chance to carry on the tradition carried out by the authors before us.� � Like anyone who has thrived in this industry, we know the key to success is to face fears: never being afraid of picking up the phone, never being afraid of asking for a referral, or never being afraid of walking away from a deal that's not worth your time. And when this opportunity arose we knew we could not be afraid to take it on.
We thank everyone who has come before us for laying the foundation of this amazing column. We thank The Green Sheet and its editors for the hard work they put in issue after issue to make sure a quality product sits in your hands. And we thank the members of the community who have already welcomed and engaged us in the MLS Forum and the ones who will in the future. � This year is going to be an amazing one. We look forward to sharing it with you.
Tom Waters has been dedicated to the merchant service sales profession since 2001. Currently, he is responsible for cultivating relationships with entrepreneurs in information technology, accounting, sales and marketing in his role as Sales Director of Bank Associates Merchant Services (www.bams.com). Using fresh and matter-of-fact training methods, Tom has contributed to the success of thousands of agents, affiliates and clients. He can be reached via email through firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 347-651-1065.
Ben Abel is Regional Director at Bank Associates Merchant Services. Since joining the team in 2006, he has risen through company ranks with a paradigm that his success was measured by the success of those around him. Ben is a dedicated, pioneering trainer whose methods of merchant services consultation have helped many agents expand their portfolios in terms of processing volume, deal count and profitability. He can be contacted at 347-866-9571 or email@example.com.
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