The Green Sheet Online Edition
November 12, 2007 • Issue 07:11:01
Use rapport to score with cash advance
The cash advance product is taking off like never before. Many in the payments industry think the cash advance business is going through a "tech bubble" phase. A lot of new companies offering this service are jumping into the business and trying to snatch your merchant processing accounts by offering cash advances.
Right now, the nationwide credit crunch is putting a lot of former mortgage brokers out of business. This crisis is turning mortgage offices into cash advance companies overnight.
Expect your merchant processing customers to be hit from all sides with offers for unsecured cash advances. Mail, e-mail, fax, phone and in-person visits are just some of the ways these myriad new companies are flooding your merchants with offers.
Step by step
A cash advance involves giving a business owner a certain amount of cash on the spot for a larger amount of credit card sales in the future.
For example, most cash advance companies will give roughly one-and-a-half times the amount of a business owner's monthly credit card sales volume. So, if merchants are doing $10,000 a month in credit card volume, the cash advance company will advance them $15,000.
For this advance, the lender will capture a set percentage of future credit card sales, usually in the range of 15% to 25%, until the amount advanced is paid back - plus the addition of a set fee.
Fees are calculated in the form of a factor. For instance, if $15,000 is advanced, this will be multiplied by a factor of 1.38 (the current standard of most companies) resulting in a payback amount of $20,700.
While the payback is expensive, most cash advance companies can wire the needed money into a business owner's account within five business days. And most cash advances are unsecured, uncollateralized and require no personal guarantee - advantages many small businesses with wavering credit appreciate.
A simplified version of the sales process involves the following five steps:
- Opening and qualifying
- Building rapport
- Presenting the product
- Overcoming objections
- Closing the sale
Building rapport with your customer in order to close a cash advance sale is possibly the most important of the main components; rapport is a critical step in the process.
By establishing rapport with the customer, you form a personal bond that will make it easier to overcome objections later in the sales process. After rapport is established, the customer is buying from you personally, not the company and not so much the product.
Rapport is defined as commonality based on emotion, or sense of trust and agreement between people. There are many ways to establish rapport between you and your customer in the process of presenting and closing the cash advance sale. The first way to develop rapport is to take a genuine interest in your customers. Ask them about their businesses and how they got started.
This is personal
Find out what is important to the business owners, and try to understand them on a personal level instead of expecting them to understand you first. As you go forward selling the cash advance product, implement some of these ideas to get to know your customers on a deeper level:
- Pick up on keywords and phrases the customers use, and build these subtly into your own conversation.
- Make empathetic statements that demonstrate you understand your customers' situation and needs.
- Ask questions about their views or the problems they see in growing their businesses.
- Find out things that you have in common, and talk about them.
- Take an interest in the whole person and their wider interests, not just their work or the cash advance you are in the process of trying to sell.
- Show your humorous side. When someone laughs with you, it unconsciously demonstrates that he or she agrees with you - at least you both agree on what's funny.
When it comes to cash advance, most business owners could care less about credit card processing and "how good your customer service is." They need money, and they need it now; switching processors to get a $20,000 to $50,000 cash advance in five days is often an afterthought.
The cash advance industry is currently exploding with new players. By taking the time now to learn to build rapport with your customers, you can prevent most of your valuable processing customers from switching their processor to pay back a cash advance that you should have sold to them.
Mike Evans is Sales Manager at 2nd Source Funding in New York. He has more than 30 years of experience in the sales field. Contact him at email@example.com.
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